Farmhouse Decor on a Budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books

Farmhouse decor on a budget: DIY unbound vintage books.

Happpppppy Monday friends! I hope your week is getting off to a good start so far. Today I’m sharing the easiest DIY tutorial in the entire world–unbound vintage books. Before I get into it let me give you a little backstory for this post and explain why I’m sharing it. A few weeks ago I was browsing one of my favorite antique shops and I found a small bundle of unbound vintage books for $30. There was nothing particularly special about them, so I was honestly shocked at the price tag. Sure, it was pretty and the books were old, but sheesh. You guys know I’m all about splurging when something great comes along, but paying $30 for three unbound books seems a little crazy if you ask me. Especially if you’re decorating on a budget and trying to make every dollar go as far as possible–it just doesn’t make sense. Today I want to show you how to create the exact same look with thrift store books for a mere fraction of the cost.



Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine

I think this works best with books that are older, but not necessarily “antiques”. The ones I have here are all from the 1960’s and 1970’s and they were only $1 each at the local thrift store. They’re obviously not the cutest books you ever laid eyes on, but that just makes them perfect for this project. Find the ugly ones!

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine

First step: remove the covers. This is probably obvious, but all you need to do is rip the covers off the books. This can be done in 3.6 seconds. Just be sure to take the extra cover off the spine, so you can see the purdy pages.

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine

Boom. That’s it. If you have a larger book like the one on the bottom of this stack you can separate it in half, which will make it go a bit further.

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine

Next go ahead and separate them into piles and use twine, lace, ribbon or whatever you’d like to tie them together in bundles.

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine

Gorgeous. Who knew those ugly books could be so beautiful with just a little effort?! Now they’re ready to be used around the house!

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Wrapped in Twine
Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books

Farmhouse Decor on a budget: DIY Unbound Vintage Books

This is definitely quick and easy farmhouse decor that works perfectly if you’re on a budget. And honestly, this is my favorite way to use old books. I love the rawness and rustic look of unbound books, especially when they’re paired with feminine lace or ribbon. Something about that combination is just so darn purdy, I love it. And I’ll tell ya, if I was forced to choose just one thing to decorate with for the rest of time I’d choose old books. Really, that would it be it. Give me a stack of vintage books and I’m a happy, happy girl.

I hope this inspired you to do a little DIY and save yourself a lot of money in the process. Let me know if you have an obsession with old books too, I’d love to hear how you use them in your home. Thanks so much for dropping by the blog today!

Another easy DIY with old books…

Farmhouse decor DIY with old books

Sarah here! Nice to meet you. I’m a mama to three, wife to my high school sweetheart and accidental blogger. We recently moved to our little homestead on ten acres and we're loving the small town life in Colorado. I hope this space can inspire you to create a home you love and enjoy the simple moments the most.


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  1. 2.27.17
    Heather Hoben said:

    What a great idea! I also love old books. I actually have lots of old diaries from a great aunt that range from the 1890s to the 1940s that not only are fascinating to read but are fun to decorate with too! I am inspired by books and spring decor. I am on school vacation and finally have time to pack away the winter decor that I held on for way too long!! Thanks for another great post! ????

    • 2.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Oh my word, that is so AWESOME Heather! You are so lucky to have those old diaries.

  2. 2.27.17

    Such a great idea! You will find me foraging Goodwill for old books this week 🙂 Have a great day!

    • 2.27.17
      Sarah said:

      yeessss! Hope you find some ugly ones, ha!

  3. 2.27.17
    Brenda said:

    I love, love, love using old books to decorate with. I recently found a used book store that sells old books super cheap. I’m going to do some of these unbound ideas soon!

    • 2.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Score! I need to find a place like that. Lucky you!

  4. 2.27.17
    Robin said:

    I love these ideas. I have old books scattered around my house…like this…folded…you can do so many wonderful things with them.

  5. 2.27.17
    Elaine said:

    I love recycling and creating great projects with old books too! I’m a library director at a small rural library, we are always weeding our collection and, unfortunately, have to throw out old books because we need the space on our shelves for new books. We also receive many donations from the community that are just too old and shabby to be catalogued and shelved. We sell some books at our book sales but many get tossed in recycling. Just letting you know you’d be a librarian’s best friend if you asked her for these old books!

    • 2.27.17
      Sarah said:

      That is such a great idea Elaine, I never thought to check with the library. Thanks so much for the tip!

  6. 2.27.17

    I need to go out and snag some old books! Great idea and they look so gorgeous in your home. 🙂

    • 2.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Thank you so much Lindsey!

  7. 2.27.17
    Mikaela said:

    Love this! I am always using old books in my decor, but never thought to take off the covers! Another awesome blog post, Sarah! ????

  8. 2.27.17
    Sheila Nokes said:

    Love to decorate with books. I have some old vintage books from my mother in law and have. Underlies them and used them to decorate around the house.mthank you for sharing a new way to use them unbound.mi will try it.

  9. 3.1.17
    Sharon Isaac said:

    Today I grabbed two oldish looking books while volunteering at my local Vinnies store (they normally get thrown out. I guess cos they wouldn’t sell except to people like me). Anyway I rescued them and then set about ripping the covers off. Well so much for the 3.6 seconds it was supposed to take. Lol. When I took the cover off the spine it didn’t come off completely so clever me had the smart idea of getting a damp cloth and gently soaking it off. Very carefully so I didn’t ruin the actual book. I let it dry and then discovered the papery stuff had come off but the sticky glue residue was still obvious and not at all attractive. I had to laugh. Then I very carefully sponged the spine with eucalyptus oil. Finally it was worth all my effort. My two books sure stink of eucalyptus oil but they look great. Very DIY vintage.

  10. 3.3.17

    Love these! You can make some really fun crafts with the covers that you pull off too!

  11. 12.12.18
    Jamie said:

    Does this only work with hardcover books?

    • 12.16.18
      Sarah said:

      yes it would Jamie!