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DIY Halloween Decorations

Save Books with These DIY Halloween Decorations

It’s my Favorite time of year!… Halloween, No better time to DIY some decorations! Get started with some DIY Halloween decorations that help you clear out some bookshelves and storage bins. These DIY Halloween decorations upcycle and help save the books!

Halloween Planning

Halloween! Hands down my favorite holiday! There are so many wonderful festivities to fall and so many fun things to plan for Halloween!

Get started planning those Trunk or Treat decorations and costumes. With my FREE Family Halloween Planner, I made for you, so you don’t miss a treat! It has shopping lists for your candy, party goodies, and decorations, a Calendar snapshot for planning Halloween events, and a Family Costume Planner for multiple costumes and their sizes, so you won’t forget a thing!

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DIY Halloween Decorations to Upcycle Damaged Books

Happen to have some damaged or unwanted, books taking up space!? Great! Pick the ones you dislike the most and let’s get started. I have two DIY Halloween decorations using old, damaged, or unwanted books.

Upcycle and Save Books

DIY Book Pumpkin Halloween Decorations

The first DIY Halloween decorations are book pumpkins! They look so nice when they’re finished. They fit right in with modern farmhouse decor. Book Pumpkins are a great way to use the books that you would trash, but can’t because they are books. I understand.

These Halloween projects can also be a great way for you to save books. Go out and look for books to save, ask friends or neighbors if they have any they don’t want. Though, the best places to find free books are garage sales. If you stop by when the person is closing up or on their last day of the sale. Ask them if they have any books. I’m sure they will be delighted to give all the books they are going to be throwing away or donating. You can also offer to come back when. It is their last day.

How Many Books Make a Pumpkin?

How many books it will take to make a pumpkin will depend on the size of the books. It can take anywhere from three to ten books, depending on the size of them. Ideally, I’d say five books per pumpkin, but I found it to be more like seven. Especially if they are thin chapter books. Sometimes they all run the same size and you need a couple more books to make the wider part in the middle.

You may need to use your imagination, but you’ll want to pre-stack your pumpkin to make sure it looks right. For a pumpkin, you want the smallest books on the top and bottom. Then work your way with three to seven more books. Stacking them to meet with the widest books in the middle. Kind of like a diamond.

If you are having trouble finding the right sized books, don’t worry. I found it harder than I thought it would be too. The next project only requires one book and I’m sure between these two projects you can come up with something creative for the remaining books!

Painting The Books

Once you have found your books, then you’ll want to start painting. It may take many light coats of paint depending on how well your paint covers the book. As always you want to make sure you leave enough dry time in between coats to not mess up your paint job.

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The cover

When it comes to these DIY Halloween decorations there is no right or wrong to painting the books, it will be different for everyone and every book. First, there are so many ways to get creative with your coverings. You could also use adhesive vinyl, mod podge, fabric, burlap, etc. Second, the material of the book’s cover and its pages are going to dictate what type of paint you use.

If you have a paperback or a hardback book with a shiny cover, you will probably want to use spray paint. It will stick better to the glossy cover. Do light coats and let it fully dry in between, so it doesn’t run. If you have a paper or matte finish cover, you should have no problem covering it with any type of paint.

Fabric Covered Books

Now, if you are using books like I did, on the big pumpkin (on the left). Hardcover with a cloth-like texture. Then you will need to find a combination of different paint types to cover to book evenly. The reason being, the thick cloth cover absorbs the paint and you get a splotchy effect where the paint soaked in more than other spots or you’re stuck with having to do many, many coats. To avoid that we can use two different types of paint.

On my books, the first two coats of spray paint absorbed quickly. That’s when I realized I needed two different types of paint. I brushed it with regular acrylic or craft paint in the same orange. This evened out the paint splotches and gave my spray paint a layer to sit on, so it did not get absorbed again on my final coat.

Learn from my trial and error process. Before painting test the paint on the book. Test it in an area that won’t be showing. So you can see how your paint will take to its’ surface; the color, and how long it will take to dry between layers. That way you can find your method and won’t waste your books or paint.

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The Pages

You can choose to paint around the book the edges of the pages and the spine or only the spine or not. It is up to you. (If you were making a candy corn book stack you would alter page colors!)You will want to decide if you want the pages to still look separated. You don’t want to accidentally paint them shut because then if you open the book it will crack the paint off.

What worked best for me was standing the book up with the pages fanned out and spraying very light coats of spray paint all around to stand and let dry. Once dry and before painting the next coat. Separate and move the pages around, to prevent too many sticking together, if you are looking for the pages to still look separated when you’re done.

Upcycled Books into Halloween Decorations

Next Layers

If you are using a combination of paints to cover your books. Then once that coat is dry you can do the next coat. If your brushing paint on; Go ahead and lay the book down, to get a proper paint job. You can save time by doing all the front covers first so they can dry while to paint the edges and spine. Then you’ll be able to go right into painting the back covers once you finished all the edges.

Continue layering the paint, one coat at a time, or until your book is covered to your liking. Let them dry completely before you start handling them. Once they are dry, you can stack them into a pumpkin!

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The Stem and Leaves

First, find pieces of scrap wood you want to use for the stem. You will drill three whole holes in the scrap wood piece toward the bottom of what you want the stem to be. Two holes for the twine to thread through and one hole to twist your curly wire stem through. Try to find scrap pieces you think will stand up better. You want the wood to stay standing after we run and tie the twine and wire stem through it.

The Stem

For the curly part of the stem, I used a wire hanger twisted into a spring-like shape. Then I twisted it through that third hole in the scrap wood. You can use floral wire or even bead a piece of wire for a little bling. If you are using a tough wire. I found it easier to twist the first half of the wire into the spring shape, then thread it through the stem hole, and twist the second half into a spring shape after the wood is on.

The Leaves

Now for the leaves. To make it look more like leaves I spray painted the twine with some green paint to mix in with the brown for better-looking leaves. Jute isn’t always the strongest, so I tripled and quadruple the twine around each side. I Tied the twine in a standard postmaster tie around all four sides. Threading the two groups of strings through the holes in the stem to help keep everything in place and our stem standing. I left large loops in the bow to look like leaves.

Make Your Book Pumpkin Easier to Store

You may glue the books together before tying them, just to be safe. This will make for easier storage and handling, especially if you think they will be attracting attention or you’re selling them! (mine sold for $8 a pumpkin at a local craft shop) There you have it a simple and beautiful way to save books and DIY your own Book Pumpkin Halloween Decoration.

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DIY An enchanted Halloween Spellbook Accent PIECE

UpCycle Damaged and Unwanted Books into Spellbook Decorations this Halloween

DIY A Halloween Decorative Accent An Enchanted Spellbook

The second Halloween decoration you can make while saving books. Is a magic spell book or enchanted looking book for a shelve or side table. This, like the first project, is made with an old, damaged, or books that are set for the trash.

First, you’ll want to paint the book. Just as we did in the first project. Either with a brush on paint or spray paint or a combination of the two. If your books cover has minimal graphics on it or you can cover them up with decorations, feel free to skip painting the cover. Other covering methods such as fabric or brown paper will work, just don’t use vinyl or anything that will melt with hot glue.

Decorating The Book

After you have painted or cover the books. Let them dry and you can begin to decorate them. My favorite Items that look the best on hardcover books. Are wooden appliques you can buy them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and other craft stores. For this project, you can use just about anything that fits the style you going for. It doesn’t even matter the color if you plan to spray paint over it in the end. You could use wooden decals, stick-on gems, fabric, leather, glue on buttons, beads, pipe cleaners, sequence, pins or plaques, and anything else you can think of!

In the photos above I cut a cut of faux leather and hot glued it to the sides of the gem and in between hot glue lines I already laid. Then I went back over the edges to give it a more sunk-in look.

With this book (below) I used a felt Doyle cut-out, that I painted at the same time as the book and glued it on with hot glue. Next, I layered hot glue over the top of the Doyle. Continuing the hot glue out from the middle, with “legs” of hot glue.

Once the glue dries, you can paint over the hot glue to make it match the rest of the book, like this one. You could also use a few colors or some metallic. With some gems, you could make a really cool one! The possibilities are endless with this project. If you would like to explore a version using mod-podge you can check out this tutorial on ehow.

Not Just for Halloween

You can create a decorative accent book for more than just Halloween. If you check out the Nautical Farmhouse page you will see a decorative accent book I chalk painted in blue and placed the same color anchor on it for decor at a Kayak and Marina establishment. At Christmas, I painted a book red and placed a wooden applique wreath in red on the front. Which turned out really nice on top of a couple of other books next to a Christmas candle. Once you start exploring you will come up with tons of ideas, trust me!

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In fact,… I bet you will not guess what these are?

They’re Baby Books!

Yep! Baby Books! Looking for a little less permanent book decor piece! Find some festive paper and some books you don’t plan on reading for a while and make book covers for them! Paper book covers as you did in school! I used baby books and scrapbook paper with fall designs to cover those books. with larger paper or taping a couple of pieces together, you can cover larger books. You never know maybe cone could cover all the books on the shelf in a pattern or ombre color scheme! In case you have forgotten how to make a book cover I have included visual instructions below.

The possibilities really are endless and I would love to see what you come up with. I hope you enjoyed these DIY Halloween Decorations that help save the books! Stop by and share your DIY decorations in the comments below!

In case you have forgotten…


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