Upcycle Books into Journals

vintage books

Are your shelves lined with vintage or unused books?

Do you have boxes of books that are no longer needed and don’t know where to dispose of them?

Well, you have a few good options. You can donate them to a used bookstore or second-hand store, recycle them according to the guidelines in your town/city, or better yet, you can upcycle books into journals!

Upcycling them is a great way to keep them out of landfills and make them into something new and beautiful!

I have turned old, vintage hardcover books into beautiful journals that can be used personally or given as a thoughtful, handmade gift.

This project was inspired by my previous project and blog post, Hardcover Christmas Card Book, and the process will be very similar. Many themes are possible, and your imagination can lead you anywhere with this DIY project! I envision reusing children’s and Christmas books as gifts!

These journals can be used as a diary, a planner, for recording keeping, note-taking, a sketchbook, an address book, a calendar, or whatever else you need! Paper options are also plentiful and can be customized to your needs, such as blank paper, lined paper, grid paper, watercolor paper, calendar pages, and so on.

You can upcycle your books into journals by following these basic steps.

Supplies needed:

  • Vintage or other hardcover book
  • paper for the journal
  • Exacto knife
  • Metal straight edge
  • Cutting mat
  • Scrapbook paper (to coordinate with the book cover)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Hot glue gun
  • Heavy duty 1/4″ hole punch or drill
  • 1/4″ eyelet set and hammer
  • Adjustable 3 hole punch, such as Planner Punch Board by We R Memory Keepers
  • 1″ binder rings (size & color may depend on your intended use)

{Are you ready to start going green and living clean? Get this FREE 3-Day mini workshop. Start today! Perfect for zero waste beginners and busy families! Get the video for Day 1 below!}

HOW TO UPCYCLE YOUR BOOKS INTO JOURNALS

Select a vintage book to turn into your journal.

Step 1 – Choose a hardcover book that fits the theme for your journal and make sure the size is appropriate for the use. Carefully cut the spine and book pages from the front and back cover using the Exacto knife, metal straight edge, and cutting mat. Take your time cutting nice, clean edges at the front and back covers.

Carefully cut the spine and book pages from the front and back cover using the Exacto knife, metal straight edge and cutting mat.

Step 2 – Cut the spine down the center. Fold the spine over the edge and glue to the inside of the cover to create a clean edge. I used a hot glue gun but spray adhesive works too. I recommend placing a piece of wax paper on top of the cover, and then stacking a couple of books on top and let it dry for an hour to ensure a good bond.

Next, cut the spine down the center.
I recommend placing a piece of wax paper on top of the cover, and then stacking a couple books on top and let it dry for an hour to ensure a good bond.

Step 3 – Cut decorative or colored paper to coordinate with your book covers and use spray adhesive to glue them on the inside of the front and back covers. This will give your journal a clean, professional look.

Next, cut decorative or colored paper to coordinate with your book covers and use spray adhesive to glue them on the inside of the front and back covers.
Next, cut decorative or colored paper to coordinate with your book covers and use spray adhesive to glue them on the inside of the front and back covers.

Step 4 – Using your 3-hole punch, create a template for where your holes will be in the cover and filler paper. If you purchase pre-punched paper for your journal, use this as your template to locate the holes for the covers. Using the template, trace the 3 holes in the cover where you will be punching through for the eyelets. Make sure you line up the front and back covers so that the binder rings and filler paper are neatly aligned when complete.

Then, using your 3-hole punch, create a template for where your holes will be in the cover and filler paper.

Step 5 – Punch three 1/4″ holes using a heavy-duty hole punch. You can use a drill, but the holes will be cleaner with the heavy-duty hole punch. Next, insert the 1/4″ eyelets using an eyelet setting tool and hammer.

Punch three 1/4″ holes using a heavy duty hole punch.
Next, insert the 1/4″ eyelets using an eyelet setting tool and hammer.

Step 6 – When all six eyelets have been set, you can punch the holes into your chosen filler paper, if needed. Make sure the paper used in your journal is the proper size to fit within your front and back covers. Trim paper, if necessary.

Step 7 – Insert the paper and binder rings to finish off the journal. If you’d like, you can add dividers or indexed tabs to create different sections in your journal or planner. Use whatever additional labels and accessories you need to customize your upcycled book journal, planner, or book!

Upcycle Books into Journals
Upcycle Books into Journals

I hope you enjoyed making this DIY upcycled book journal! Please feel free to leave a reply below if you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share with our community. Thanks for reading!

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Upcycle Books into Journals _ Pinterest image

P.S. – Are you ready to start going green and living clean? Get this FREE 3-Day mini workshop. Start today! Perfect for zero waste beginners and busy families! Get the video for Day 1 below!

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3 Comments

  1. March 8 / 1:43 AM

    Can you inform me what system are you making use of on this web site?

    • Rebekah
      March 9 / 3:43 PM

      I’m not sure what you mean in your question, but please clarify and I’ll be sure to respond. Thanks!

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