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How To Turn an Old Book into a Treasure Box

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I can spend literally hours in a book store because I really enjoy reading and collecting books. But what about books that are outdated, tattered, or have serious damage? How can I give those a new life? That’s when I came up with the idea of turning old books into a book treasure box. These books can be set on the mantle as decoration, in a books shelf to hold secrets, or on a dresser to hold jewelry! The possibilities are endless! Here’s how I went about making my treasure boxes.


Supplies:

  • Old books (I searched local thrift stores and Goodwill)
  • X-acto Knife (I just got a kit from Joann Fabrics and I’m LOVING IT!!)
  • Craft Glue
  • Card stock (I used scrapbooking paper, they have really pretty layouts)
  • Scissors
  • Wood Lath
  • Chop Saw (or other saw you are familiar with)
  • Sander/Sandpaper (120 Grit)
  • Paint and small paint brushes
  • Super Glue and E 6000 Adhesive

STEP ONE – Prepare the Books

Remove any tape, dirt, or marks that you can. You don’t need to be too picky here since the purpose is for these books to look old. One of the books I found was owned by a small child, and he did a great job decorating the inside with scribbles and pictures!

Next, using the x-acto knife, cut out the pages from the books. (I saved these pages for another craft I am working on, more on that later!) Be careful not to cut the book cover. This takes some getting used to, but after my first book or two, I flew through this process. As you can see in the last picture here, sometimes some of the binding sticks out. Feel free to trim this with a small pair of scissors. No need to be too exact since this may be covered up later.

Once the book pages are out, you can then add your colored paper to the inside of the book. Get creative here! This can really add character to your treasure boxes.

**TIP – Don’t cover the entire book. Leave about 1/4 of an inch around the outside. That way when we add our box it will keep its resemblance to a book!


STEP TWO – Prepare the Book Treasure Box Sides

I went to my local Menards and bought a bundle of wood lath. (More than I will even need for these projects, but I am sure I will use them for something else!)

I then cut the wood lath into the correct sizes for the side and the front of your book treasure box. This takes some guess and check work depending on how stiff or loose your book covers are. I recommending erring on the side of too small rather than too large. If you make the box detentions too large than you cover will not close properly or worse, will bust through a weak book back. After you cut a piece, place it onto your book and see if it closes.

**Optional. I decided to sand my lath. This helped to remove any stray wood pieces. I also rounded the corners on the end that will attach to the back of the book to make a smoother connection. See the before and after here.

Finally, choose what ever paint color you like. You could also leave the wood raw if you like, completely up to you.


STEP THREE – Put it all Together!

I used a mixture between E6000 Adhesive and Super Glue to attach the wood lath to the book covers. This takes a lot of patience as the E6000 Adhesive takes a while to try and set.

This also takes a bit of trial and error depending on the side and stiffness of the book. I add the side panels first. Make sure to open and close the top cover to make sure it will connect in the back. (this is where those rounded edges come in handy!) Once the side panels are set, add the front. The final step should be attaching the spine of the book to the side panels. And there you go, your book treasure box is complete.

**TIP – This is where I add the super glue as well as E6000. It seems to adhere to the fabric of the book spine faster than the E6000. This is one of the most important points of connection because the most stress of opening and closing the treasure box will be here.


Final Look!

Fun box for a kids room
Cute jewelry box
Stationary holder for your desk

How would you use a book treasure box?

To see other book related crafts, click here!

8 thoughts on “How To Turn an Old Book into a Treasure Box”

  1. This is such a good idea. I couldn’t actually believe it was a book when I first saw the picture. You’ve done an amazing job and even made the instructions clear enough for a dummy like me to follow!

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