By Kelly O’Roark
If your carefully curated book collection has now become a sloppy pile of paper, there’s hope. You can make your own bookends to showcase your must-reads in all of their paperbound glory.
Not only will they bring clean lines and organization to your favorite reading area, but they can also be made to suit your personal style by using custom colors and patterns to match the rest of your décor.
Sound like too much work? It’s much easier than you would think, and most steps can be done while utilizing your amazing multitasking skills. You can do this!
Step 1: Visit the Local Arts and Crafts Store.
Before you set out to make your own bookends, locate your nearest craft supply store and get the following items:
- Plain wooden blocks or plaques. I prefer a wooden block with a base at the bottom, so something like this is perfect since the base evenly distributes the weight and helps keep it upright.
- Wooden shapes or letters. You can choose from a variety of shapes and designs (see sample below), or you can work with letters. My project will use letters to match the initials on my DIY personalized throw pillows.
- Acrylic Paints. If you’re a minimalist, two colors will suffice. But if you prefer to add some flair to your design, go for it. Choose one color for the bookend, and two or three colors for your wooden shape (or vice versa). I’m going to be mixing the three colors on the left to make the base color for the bookends, and layering the three colors on the right for the letters.
- A Paintbrush and Sponges. Choose a 2-inch paintbrush to paint the bookends, and a variety of sponges to add texture to the shape or letter on each bookend.
- Wood glue or crafting glue. Choose a glue that has a strong enough bond to keep two pieces of wood together.
Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to head on home and get to work.
Step 2: Paint Your Bookends.
- On a paper plate, pour about three tablespoons of the paint that you’re going to use for the bookends. I’ll be using cream and brown mixed together. After all, I still have some on hand from my DIY coffee table tray project. All I have to do is mix it with a little bit of metallic gold so that it doesn’t look too flat.
- Take your 2-inch paint brush and paint each bookend. While that’s drying, it’s a good time to paint the letters. (Utilize those time-management skills!)
Step 3: Paint Your Letters.
- On a paper plate, pour about one teaspoon of your first color. When you make your own bookends, there are no limits when it comes to the color design. You can stencil, experiment with a variety of sponges, or paint a freehand design. I’m going to use a natural sponge to create a textured pattern.
- When it comes to layering colors, start with the darkest color, as your lighter colors will provide a nice contrast overtop of it. In this case, I’m going to start with the red since it’s the most pigmented. Dip your natural sponge into the paint and stamp it onto the plate a few times to remove any excess paint.
- Next, lightly stamp the sponge onto the wooden letter in an asymmetrical pattern that still allows some white to show through. This method is key since you’ll need space for your other two colors.
- Do the same with your next color (orange), with some slight overlap. Allow to dry, and apply your last color (yellow).
- Now wait at least an hour (or let the letters dry overnight) before moving onto the next step.
Step 3: Glue the Wooden Letters on the Bookends.
- Take one of your letters and your wood glue, and apply the glue to the back and bottom of the letter. Gently place it on the bookend and ensure that it’s centered. Once it’s centered, press down firmly, holding it in place for about 30 seconds.
- Set it aside and repeat this process for the other letter. Allow both bookends to dry overnight.
Step 4: Make Your Favorite Reading Nook Come to Life.
Place the bookends on your end table, put your favorite novels and inspirational books in between your new works of art, and voila! Your reading area is perfect (especially because there’s still enough room for your coffee).
Want to make your own throw pillows as seen here? Check out this article for step-by-step instructions.
Other decorating ideas are available online in House Tipster’s 3D Virtual Rooms, which inspire creativity throughout the home.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Kelly O'Roark