Hi there, and welcome to The Old Summers Home! Today we will be making our own DIY Vintage Book Set. One thing you should know about me is that I LOVE PINTEREST! I love everything DIY and that is so easily accessible to find on Pinterest. Much of the inspiration for my rustic farmhouse decor comes from searching the millions of ideas there. And that, my friends, is how I stumbled across this rustic idea for creating my own version of the book set. 

I really enjoy reading but sadly I do not get to read as much as I would like these days. I have always loved books, therefore, I have lots of old books stored within the house and garage. Sadly collecting way too much dust. Finally, they will have a new use and become display pieces throughout my farmhouse-inspired home.

DIY Vintage Book Set on display in Laundry Room

DIY Vintage Book Set Checklist

You Will Need

  • 3 old books (I used hardcover books)
  • Packing paper or craft paper
  • Piece of white linen
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or marker
  • Twine

Vintage Book Set Instructions

Clean the book set covers

Dirty old books ready for an Up-Cycle
My very dusty old books eek!

My books were absolutely filthy (a good start to vintage already ­čśë ) from being stored in our garage where we heat with wood. I simply cleaned them off with a bit of dish soap and warm water using a soft cloth rag. Make sure you remove any residue they may have on them as this may affect the layers of paper and adhesive you are about to apply.

Cut paper to size for each book

Lay your paper on a flat surface and use a pencil to trace an outline of your book adding about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch around the perimeter. I used two layers for each book because I was using some thin packing paper so I cut out six in total. If you are using a thicker paper you will only need 3 pieces cut out.

Apply the paper to each book

Grab your Mod Podge and paintbrush. Lay your paper down flat and place your open book centred on top. Starting with the front cover lightly apply some Mod Podge using your paintbrush.

Do not apply too much because you may get leakage through the paper.

Then adhere your paper and smooth it out with your hands against the cover. Repeat for the spine of the book and then move to the back cover.

Lastly, open your book up and lightly apply some more Mod Podge around the outer edges of your book and fold the overlapping paper inside. If you have a lot of excess paper, you can trim it with an exact-o knife.

For the spine, I made little notches to help fold and tuck. I then repeated the process twice (again because I was using packing paper, no need for thicker paper) on all the books.

Apply linen spine covers to Vintage Book Set

Now that your paper is dry you need to cut out strips to cover the spine of your book. Furthermore, my Mod Podge that I have on hand has a sheen to it so I applied it directly to the fabric and not the book itself. I did this because if I went too wide it would dry shiny on the surface of my packing paper. I did not want any sheen hence my extra precautions.

If you have a lot of excess trim it away, once again you can cut notches and fold and tuck this will give you a nice finished edge.

Add the vintage label tabs

Depending on the size of your books tear out rectangles of packing paper that fit the spine’s width respectively. Now simply apply using your paintbrush and Mod Podge. Once those are good and dry you can write a label using a pencil or a marker. However, I chose to leave mine blank.

Tie with twine & Display your DIY Vintage Book Set

Last, of all, you will stack your books on top of a piece of twine and tie once in one direction and then in the other direction. Next, you will cut the twine leaving enough to tie a bow. Once your bow is tied your DIY Vintage Book Set is complete and ready for display.

DIY Vintage books displayed on shelf in mudroom shows versatility for decor

My Pinterest Inspiration for making this set came from Ashley over at Cherished Bliss. Head on over to her DIY Restoration Hardware Book Set For an in-depth tutorial! Be sure to check out her other stuff if you have not already!

Because these are so versatile you can put them in any room you like to add a nice rustic decor element. Above they are displayed in our laundry area against our pallet wall. Directly below is a photo taken in our Mudroom. The last photo also takes place in our mudroom but next to one of our Custom Lanterns. I love these rustic books so much that I certainly need to create a few more to add to other rooms in our home. In short, I need about ten more sets, haha.

Vintage book set displayed in our entry way


Thanks so much for joining us today it certainly has been a pleasure! If you loved this tutorial then check out our Command Center post where we show you how to Up-Cycle an old frame.

Our Command Centre Tutorial up-cycling a vintage picture frame

You can also follow along by signing up for our mailing list (Grab your Freebies when you subscribe!) or catch us on Pinterest!

Until next time,

Jenn Summers

The Old Summers Home