Picture of A bookshelf made of encyclopedias! YAY!
I work at Half Price Books, and I've been trying to find out what to do with all the books we can't resell or donate.

And then this beautiful set of large print encyclopedias came in - and what can I say, I fell in love with them! :D Because I needed more shelves for my piles of books, I figured it couldn't hurt to try this. I'm pretty happy with the results but I had to redo several things.

The picture below is a recent one. (As of November 2008) It's held up really well!

Step 1: What you'll need!

Picture of What you'll need!
- A set of encyclopedias... make sure they're at least an inch to 1 1/2 inches thick - otherwise, I don't see them holding much of anything!
- 8 "L" brackets per cube (one cube = 4 books)
- enough screws to hold the brackets.
- Nuts and bolts to secure the books at the back. (I will explain this later!)
- A drill (or two if you're awesome) and several drill bit sizes.

I'm sorry I can't be more exact, but depending on the thickness of your books, you'll need to adjust the screw and bolt length. That's really the trickiest part and what caused me the most trouble. I ended up going with size 8 screws at 1 1/4 inches, and size 8 bolts at 1 3/4 inches because of the varying sizes of books within my set. Confusing! I also used wood screws. They looked more "grippy" - and I figured that would help with the pages of the books.

I ended up spending roughly $50-60 on this project. I can't give an exact cost because there was a lot of trying and then returning. Home Depot hates me, I'm sure.
1-40 of 106Next »
AmyCat591 year ago

Why paint these? The covers are so nice as-is!

Cute kitty... :-)

saima31 year ago
very nice and impressive project :-)
owenebs3 years ago
A bookshelf made of books... So meta.
All joking aside, it looks great!
How old is your kitten?
kansas kate4 years ago
Love this idea! In thinking about it, I didn't think of L brackets! If the binders of the books are nice looking maybe it'd be cool to paint the inside, but leave the binder and outside of the book as is?
Nice! I wish I could do this, but I need my encyclopedias. Haha. (:
bobster5805 years ago
The keep the books closed, you could avoid the nuts and bolts. drill a row of small holes and kind of sew them together with either strong string or twine, or a thin wire.
tizart75 years ago
Awesome shelf!
XMalice5 years ago
I liked them better before they were painted. Seems more fun obviously made from encyclopedias.
artquilter5 years ago
I just saw a boxfull of encyclopedias for $5 at Unique Thriftstore in Columbia Heights MN....
I was tempted, but I don't actually have the $5 to spare.  :=(
veggyv45 years ago
 Does anyone want a set of old 1974 Encyclopedia Britannica for this project, i'll ship them to you!! I love this project, but don't have the time right now, and i have to get rid of them soon:( 
 I want them!
 sorry:( i already gave them away
jeaniebean6 years ago
Friend, i find that duct tape solves the problems of the universe, and it's true here for the whole page separation weirdness that you used the bolts for. Also, duct-tape comes in many colors and can be used instead of paint. hooray! Awesome shelves!
Nyxi jeaniebean6 years ago
i like the way you think
pbarnett6 years ago
Great idea! I was thinking though.... What if after you run a heavy line of hot glue that by using a small drill bit and some skinny wire zip ties that you could assemble these with minimal hardware sticking out. Might be worth some experimenting.
eetzel6 years ago
Very Very Nice - good idea
McGreenish6 years ago
Okay this is MIND-BLOWINGly rad.
cardigan346 years ago
Thanks so much for this, I was the yearbook editor for my school and we have boxes and boxes of outdated yearbooks from other schools that I had no clue what to do with. Awesome!
twyladancer6 years ago
i had an idea, instead of painting them you could wrap colored tape, like duct tape all over them. Also if you have alot of phone books that you no longer use, you can put a couple together and duct tape them all and use them as booster seats.
Dreolin6 years ago
I really like these, but I like them even better before they are painted. Maybe just use some type of clear sealent?
StoryAddict6 years ago
"The only downside is that they're ridiculously hard to move around due to their weight." Well, at least you don't have to worry about them tipping over then, eh?
mle.mellow6 years ago
What if you just threaded a little bit of ribbon or wire through the whole and tied or twisted it to secure? Surely then it wouldn't stick out as much as nuts or bolts?
jessyratfink (author)  mle.mellow6 years ago
That could work, actually. At least just to keep them closed. Threading it through might be a little annoying because the pages get so jagged, but that would be the only problem!
artquilter6 years ago
You have quite a few comments here so I don't know if this has been covered, but I think structurally you should have them turned 90 degrees...the weight of the books should be on what you have in the last picture shown as the sides. kwim? And to keep with the simplicity, you could also be adding a book to the back of the cube for even more stability. I am definitely going to be on the lookout for free encyclopedias because of you! Awesome instructable.
jessyratfink (author)  artquilter6 years ago
Yeah, I know they should be flipped. But I like the way they look when I have them this way, and they hold more, even if it's only a little bit! They're still fine after 2+ years, so I'm hoping they'll stay that way. :D
this, is, simply, awesome! five stars and faved.
Why oh why did I get rid of my encyclopedias. This is a cool idea and an awsome instructable. Thanks!
pyrocop16 years ago
Have you seen the ones made and sold they sell for big bucks Website

Check out the other different configurations he does also.... Good instructable by the way
jessyratfink (author)  pyrocop16 years ago
Yep! His way of doing it is very different though - he does the whole reinforcing with wood thing. I didn't think that forward with mine. But Kiteman brought it up here in the comments! Yay brainstorming! I'd say the reinforcing with wood is definitely a good idea if you have the time and proper tools, though. :D
KentsOkay6 years ago
That is so cool! How old do you have to be to work at Half Price? I might work there this summer...
jessyratfink (author)  KentsOkay6 years ago
18. :)
jessyratfink (author)  KentsOkay6 years ago
Well, we'll still be here when you're old enough!
True 'nuff but Time Agent life expectancy is short....
What an awesome project! Using books to hold more books. 5 stars and faved.
JanxAngel7 years ago
This is a really cool project. I'll have to keep my eye out on my thrift store trips. Somewhat unrelated question. What is the book like object on top of the single pair? I can't tell, but it looks interesting.
jessyratfink (author)  JanxAngel7 years ago
That's the collector's edition of Earth X. It's a wonderful comic. :D
What's it about?
jessyratfink (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
Basically, all of mankind has mutated, nearly every person has superpowers. It examines what happens to the original heroes and mutants when they aren't really "special" anymore. (Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men, etc.) It's really interesting. I haven't read it in years, though, and it has such a complex plot that I can't remember much more than the basics. :P
1-40 of 106Next »