How to Turn a Book into a Vase

Many household items -- jars, cans, bottles -- can become an impromptu vase. But what about a book -- does that idea hold water?
Many household items -- jars, cans, bottles -- can become an impromptu vase. But what about a book -- does that idea hold water?

From those favorite bedtime stories to the classics you read in college, books play an important role in people's lives. Whether in actual physical form as a slightly tattered and worn copy or simply as a series of memories, we carry these treasured tomes with us.

But as much as there are books you cherish, there are other works out there you just couldn't get through. No matter how many times you cracked open the cover, the book just never held your interest. Your bookshelves are packed with books you've enjoyed, but what about those books that didn't make the cut? You didn't like them, so chances are many of your friends won't, either. So there's no point in passing them on. But you can't throw them away, either.


Love it or hate it, throwing away a book is wasteful. Instead of trashing it, why not try crafting it into something useful.

Using a few simple materials, you can take that old book and turn it into a stylish and unique vase. Unlike expensive glass vases, this handmade creation won't cost you much. Should it get damaged, you'll easily be able to make another. Now you can make use of that boring read or turn a tattered treasured book into a purposeful keepsake.

If you're feeling craftsy, you've come to the right place. Check out the next page for instructions on creating a new vase from an old book.

Turning a Book (or Magazine) into a Vase

The process of creating your own book vase isn't difficult, but at the same time, it's not much of a family craft. So save this project for a day without the kids.

Gather the following materials:


  • Old book (one or more)
  • Scrap piece of cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Test tube, old vase or plastic cup roughly the same height as your book to serve as the water cavity

Begin by planning the shape of your vase. Take the scrap cardboard and draw your desired shape. Use the scissors to cut the stencil out and then cut that stencil in half lengthwise.

Now, tear the cover and side cover panel off the book so only the pages remain -- still bound by glue. Lay the half of the stencil along the glued edge of the book. Cut through all of the pages of the book (this will likely take several passes), tracing along your stencil.

Prepare your cavity object by spreading a layer of glue all around it. Take your book and place the glued binding against the cavity object. Fan the book around the cavity object -- you'll likely need at least two books to make it all the way around the cavity object. Once the pages meet all the way around the cavity object, glue them together. You might want to use a binder clip or a few clothes pins to ensure the glued pages stay together while drying. Allow it a few hours to dry and your vase is good to go [sources: Isaac, Lowe]!

For more information on recycling books and creating your own vase, be sure to check out the links on the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Links


  • ALA Recycling Industries. "Book Recycling. ALA Recycling Industries." (Accessed 04/16/2009).
  • Etherington, Rose. "Book Vases by Laura Cahill." Dezeen Design magazine. Sept. 5, 2008. (Accessed 04/16/2009).
  • Environmental Grafitti. "How to Create Art from Recycled Books." Sept. 10, 2008. (Accessed 04/16/2009).
  • Isaac, Brad. "Turn Unwanted Books into Vases and Furniture." Lifehacker. Sept. 10, 2008. (Accessed 04/16/2009).
  • Lowe, Paul. "Crafty Friday." April 16, 2009. (Accessed 04/17/2009)
  • Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA). "Book Recycling." (Accessed 04/16/2009).