March 9, 2013

Painted Books DIY

As much as I’ve loved (and hated at times) finally getting a home of our own that we can decorate however we want, I think I’ve been most surprised at how little I have to decorate with. Oh sure, we have all the big pieces of furniture covered, but I’ve noticed for the first time that I’m missing the little details in between that can really add that extra punch of personality to a space. It’s been fun starting to collect those items and imagine all the different grouping possibilities, but all those little purchases can really start to add up, and so I’ve been trying to think of some low cost (or free!) options. That’s where these books come in!

I love books grouped in coordinating or monochromatic color schemes, but it can be hard to find exactly the color you need. We got rid of a bunch of books in the move, but I saved a few various sizes of cloth covered books so that I could try painting them the colors I wanted for the mantel.

I used acrylic paint in three different shades to cover the outside and spine of each book (at least two coats for each book). I found that it worked best to use a paint with a little bit of gloss so the books don’t appear chalky as the fabric cover soaks up the paint pretty well.

Once your paint is dry, use a fabric marker to add your titles. I was able to pencil in the titles first and erase the preliminary marks relatively easily, so if you like to be extra precise, I would recommend adding that step.

I love going to people’s houses and seeing what books they have lying around. You can learn a lot about people just by spying on their bookcase! For that reason, I used a mixture of real titles that have special meaning for us along with made up ones that reflect what our life is all about. Although, if I wanted to reflect what my life is really about, I should have added books like, “101 Recipes for Eating Your Loneliness,” “My Cat is My Best Friend,” and “Workouts You Can Do From Your Couch.” I guess I’ll try and appear a little classy for company. Whateves.

All in all, this was a really easy project that added a bit of color and personality to our living room. One finishing touch down, a million to go!

xo. Laura

10 thoughts on “Painted Books DIY

  1. Crystal

    So clever! Much cheaper and easier than seeking out and purchasing color coordinating books. And I love the idea of adding your own titles. Shows so much personality!

  2. Mash

    This is super cute, I like this idea because Im a person that likes to display my favorite books, but not all books are especially pretty to look at!

    But I have to be this a-hole…Steinbeck spelled his poodle’s name “Charley” 🙂

    1. thebandwifeblog

      You are right about the spelling, but my cat’s name is spelled “Charlie” so I changed it to be more personal 🙂

  3. Donna Hart

    As a book lover, I love this idea. And I have one very visible spot,perfect for a display and splash of color. Yet I’m not happy with any accessories I own so far. I think I’ve found my solution. This idea sparked tons of ideas for book titles. I believe I’ve settled on a theme: titles that contain my grandchildren’s names. It may be classics that contain their names, like “Emma” and “Benjamin Bunny.” Or or made-up titles that describe a trait about each one, like “Jack: The Dog Lover.” I’ll add a photo of each to create a book cover, for example, Josh playing one of his beloved sports and Ava, our drama queen, acting in a play. Now thinking of ways to create a photo album inside the book. When you think of this idea as a gift to loved ones, the ideas become unlimited. However, I have a rule. Unless it’s requested, I don’t give inflict my taste on others by giving them a work of art of home accessory. 🙂


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