Picture of how to make a book headboard
My apartment doesn't have much on the walls. I've always wanted a headboard. I love books.

Answer? Book headboard.
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Step 1: What you'll need.

Picture of What you'll need.
  • a large assortment of book covers, carefully cut from the pages using an exacto knife or something similar. (These can be found at used book stores or thrift shops.)
  • Elmer's Glue-All or something similar - needs to be able to stick to wood and paper and dry strong and clear.
  • polyurethane spray for finishing.
  • pens or pencils for marking
  • something heavy to weigh the books down while they dry
  • 3M picture hanging strips for, well, hanging of course!
  • a large sheet of smooth plywood that's a 1/4 inch thick and as wide as your bed. Mine was 50 inches wide and around 30 tall.

Step 2: Start the first layer.

Picture of Start the first layer.
This works best in layers going from the outside in. I decided to separate my covers by color and work with them that way.

I chose to do purples and blues for the outside layer. My books overlapped the edges of the plywood by about five to six inches in most places in order to fit them nice and snug around the edges.

As you can see in the pictures, I messed with them until I liked where they were, and then used a pen to trace along where their edges were. This way, once I started gluing, I could get them back where they needed to be.

To glue, I'd just lift up a book, apply a glue swirl to the wood inside the lines, and then place the book back where it needed to be. Make sure to apply pressure for 30 seconds to a minute afterward just to make sure it's set. You don't want them moving on you. Try to get the spines as flat as possible, too.

I started with one corner and worked my way around.

Once you have the outside done, you'll need to weigh the books down and let them for the recommended cure time. This will vary from glue to glue, but I watched an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman between layers and it worked just fine. ;)
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davidbarcomb3 months ago

Simple and cool project. Thank you

Manny B2 years ago
Great idea. I'm always amazed by how beautiful recycling can be.
ttunstall2 years ago
This is utterly amazing. I'm sure your apartment must be beautiful. :) I'm going to have to take a trip to Goodwill and stock up on some old books. I hope it turns out as nice as yours! =)
jessyratfink (author)  ttunstall2 years ago
Awwww thanks! We're trying to make it beautiful again. :D

Good luck with yours! And try flea markets if you have any around too, they tend to have more of the prettier, older books for cheaper!
This is so awesome! It's a pretty big task, but I think I'm gonna have to try it. Will post a photo if I do! ^_^
sunshiine3 years ago
What an awesome idea! thanks for sharing your hard work and great talent!
prixprix4 years ago
This is gorgeous! I am definitely making this, thanks for posting it!
I love your quilt, btw!
I'm going to start on this project tomorrow after I go get some plywood, how many books did you use for this?
jessyratfink (author)  flyinggreenfurby4 years ago
Hmmm... 18? Definitely less than 20. :)
Goodhart4 years ago
I bet binder notebooks could be used for this too, with the rings removed maybe...
lozartist4 years ago
I like how the final piece matches your quilt.
kate-lily5 years ago
i love it. is the lamp on the table handmade?
jessyratfink (author)  kate-lily5 years ago
Nope, got it at Urban Outfitters a while back. :)
k80bakes5 years ago
i cant wait to try this in my room when we redecorate! how unique!
Lady Hanako5 years ago
this is probably the coolest thing ever.
zoozi5 years ago
Beautifully creative and colorful! Love it
Gjdj35 years ago
Very cool! I was just entering my project over at greenwala, and recognized yours from instructables so I voted for it. Nice job.
jessyratfink (author)  Gjdj35 years ago
Thanks for voting for me over there! I ended up in the top ten, but waaaaaay below the vote spammers. ;)
Ouch. (I hope that wasn't directed at me?) I really got a ton of votes on my submission, and I didn't tell anyone, not even my Mom! By the way, I REALLY like this idea. I hadn't looked at in detail till today--very nice!
Looking specifically at this, I just wish to be reassured know what exactly you use that ominous dungeon for, when not making headboards...
jessyratfink (author)  Spl1nt3rC3ll5 years ago
For baking pies!
... But I see no oven, kitchen, or other cooking appliance. >.>

Now you are really getting me worried. O.o

That basement photo is rather eerie, just what is your colorful headboard hiding... :P
jessyratfink (author)  Spl1nt3rC3ll5 years ago
Okay, okay, you got me. I wash clothes down there. Don't look at me like that, It's perfectly normal.
*Backs away very slow like.* :P
noahh5 years ago
Very nice, but it's a bit painful to look at books ripped apart. :P (I'm only sort of kidding. But really, it's very cool.)
jessyratfink (author)  noahh5 years ago
Haha, I've gotten over it after working with used books for so long. Seeing peed on ones still sucks, though. :P
Ermmm. (I don't know how someone could reply to that). :P
jessyratfink (author)  noahh5 years ago
Just stating the facts! :D
Creativeman5 years ago
Very nice project, but then you always do good work! Cman
jessyratfink (author)  Creativeman5 years ago
You're going to make my head big. :P
blackturtle5 years ago
This is stinkin' awesome! I think even my hubby would have this in our room! You're a genius!
jessyratfink (author)  blackturtle5 years ago
Awww geez. :D
Kathybear5 years ago
Check with your local library and see if they have books that they'll be weeding out of the collection. Our recycling will take the pages, but the covers have to be stripped off first. If you volunteer to strip the books and take the covers, you might be in good with the library director, who will save a few library dollars by getting rid of the covers. Just a bit of advice from a public library employee....
jessyratfink (author)  Kathybear5 years ago
That's a really good idea! I know our local libraries and the local colleges always have books they're not using anymore. :)
whiteoakart5 years ago
Nice job. Simple and effective. Every so often I run into books at garage sales that are in bad shape: bindings broken, pages torn. Now I may start collecting them.

Save the pages to start your BBQ fire without lighter fluid by using a little chimney, like this one:
jessyratfink (author)  whiteoakart5 years ago
Oddly enough, I was wondering about making one of those! I want to learn grilling. So thanks for the link! :D
aimeee5 years ago
I love the concept and the colors you used! You totally thought outside of the box. So creative.
jessyratfink (author)  aimeee5 years ago
Thank you very much! :)
sherri2815 years ago
This is so great...I'm going to try this with more earthy tones...but i adore the colours in oyurs....
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