Picture of make table legs out of books
Yet another weird use for old books you might have lying around. :D

These legs are quite easy to make and very stable if done correctly - but they possess a bit of wobble as well.

That wobble came in handy when a car crashed through the art section of the bookstore I work at, however. The shelves fell when the car came through and the table merely leaned out of the way as the shelves hit it.

Invincible table for the win! (UPDATE: Crash pictures on the last step!)

I also apologize for the pictures in the instructable being hand-drawn. I did not document it as I went along and this is my way to make up for it!

Step 1: Gather your books!

Picture of Gather your books!
First of all - you need hardcover books! Many of them of similar sizes, actually.

Your best bet is Reader's Digest Condensed. They print these books in such mass quantities and no one wants them. I'm know every thrift store I've ever been to has tons of them. You'll need to remove their dust jackets if they come in them.

Otherwise, look for sets of books at thrift stores.

If the thrift stores fail you, check at yardsales. If you buy regular run of the mill fiction and nonfiction, keep in mind that the hardbacks come in two standard sizes - book club and publisher. Book clubs are normally a smaller size and shoddily made. Publishers will be the larger size and they will also have well reinforced spines (you'll see a little bit of cloth peeking out, in most cases.)

I can't really tell you how many books you'll need, though.

To determine this, decide how tall you wish your table legs to be. Keep in mind that you should keep them 30 inches and shorter in most cases - otherwise, you'll get too much sway!

Once you know how tall you want them to be, try to get an average thickness on the books you're considering and buy just a few more books than you'll need. Once they're compressed you might find you need an extra book to help them line up!
OmerB made it!2 months ago

I know this post is several years old, however, I wanted to share with you a table I made from your instructions. The table is wobbly, and I will add legs to make it more stable. But as stands right now, it's awesome and the students in the library can't stop talking about it. I'm a teacher at a high school in Western New York and as part of a service day project, several students and I built this table. The books were going to be thrown away, the maintenance crew had a sheet of plywood laying around, a glass company down the street donated the plexiglass. I had to buy a few pieces with my own money, but the enthusiasm pride of the kids were priceless. Thank you for the instructions and keep up the good work!

AnooshI1 year ago

This looks so cool. Everyone would want a table made up of old books. You won't need to throw them away now. I always liked upcycling old books. Have a look at this book of Books for more ideas by Altered Upcycling. http://www.amazon.com/Book-Books-Projects-beautiful-ornaments-ebook/dp/B00MGJADUK/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1407385936&sr=8-5&keywords=mahe+zehra. You can even sign up on their website for free ebooks!

landongaga3 years ago
weird how u crashed the car.
Bierle4 years ago
You'd might be able to build a second table from those broken books :( poor things
I love your idea! I can imagine a smaller side-table with a single centerd leg
If i ever come to make one I will send you a photo
Thanks for sharing!
RachelT5 years ago
I love this idea! Do you think you could make a side table version using just one leg? Or would it be too top heavy?
sweetnienna6 years ago
How much the table weight ? Is it easy to move ?
Very good idea by the way, absolutely love it. Its really a nice way to re-use old book that people want to put in trash. Thank you _
jessyratfink (author)  sweetnienna6 years ago
It's quite heavy. It normally takes a couple people to move it. I'm bad as estimates, though. :P And thanks!
Raplaplox6 years ago
Say I didn't want to paint them a color, do you think just a few coats of polyurethane would seal it well enough to keep buggies out of the pages?
jessyratfink (author)  Raplaplox6 years ago
That should work really well. I was planning to do that at first, but the books I ended up using were hideous. :P
Ah! My buddy crashed on my futon (literally...fell on top of it) and broke the crappy particleboard frame in one corner. I improvised and stacked a bunch of bibles and classic novels under that corner until I got around to making a new frame. Was thinking about making an 'ible on it, seems you beat me to it lol
westfw7 years ago
Pretty neat looking. Projects that mutilate books always leave me with a bit of a funny feeling, though. Maybe cause Mom was a librarian...
hcold westfw7 years ago
Heh, should see the new addition to the public library downhere. To jazz it up for all the cool kids, they created the "Teen Space". They added a 42" Plasma TV, funny lighting, exposed concrete ceiling, a wall made out of street signs (with the "CAMERA OPERATING IN THIS AREA" sign carefully worked it), and to finish it all off, they made a wall of books by bolting them together.


Bookwall in background of image.
I understand that feeling, but when I use books for art projects I use those that people are getting rid of anyway, like at garage sales, Goodwill, etc. If someone doesn't buy them they go to the trash. Also, I'm just re-purposing the books for a new use! I actually made my first altered book a few years ago once I got over the idea of writing in a book! All kinds of altered books are really popular now and they are even in museums and galleries now. Recently I bought some shaped books online. This woman cuts them with a saw to make shapes from a cat to wings to a face and all kinds of other things-very cool! I just love this table project but I like keeping the books different colors for variety. I really love the table top!
jessyratfink (author)  westfw7 years ago
Reader's Digest don't count as book as far as I'm concerned. ;) But I do understand what you're saying otherwise. I am quite particular about my library!
carpespasm7 years ago
I guess this would be taking the "folded up paper" under the uneven table leg to it's logical extreme. Cool table.
Heh, last step. :D
aphrael7 years ago
This is a great idea! A bar I know has some columns made of books, but they have quite boring tables compared to this :) By the way, you have really cool handwriting...
comment me when you add the picture...so i know it's up =]
jessyratfink (author)  Weissensteinburg7 years ago
Crash pictures are up, sir! :D
Oh geez!
jessyratfink (author)  Weissensteinburg7 years ago
I completely forgot them today. It was a sale day at work and I was running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off. :P I will try again on Tuesday. :)
Well no wonder! If you had operated like a person you would have accomplished everything much quicker, and would have had time for leisure activities (like providing pleasing aesthetics for my viewing pleasure).
Hahaha, awesome!
Easy and simple. Great job!
+1 rating.

Still waiting for the plushie...
jessyratfink (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
I know. I'm making a greenhouse today, but while it's drying/curing/whatever, I'll probably be working on a how to sew instructable which will be followed by the plushie! I promise. :D
Neat! Interesting fact about the book club vs. publisher's edition spine difference. Did you use a regular drill bit or a spade bit to holify the books? I'm thinking that a spade bit, or even a fancy brad point bit, might make book-drilling less of a chore. I dunno. I have a mess of Reader's Digest Condensed that I've been wondering what to do with ('cuz I sure ain't gonna read 'em). Do you know if they're just shortened, or bowdlerized as well? Perhaps I'll sacrifice a few as test drilling subjects...
I used a regular bit, though a spade bit would have been very nice to have!
You can sometimes get semi-decent spade bits in those sets of 38 drill bits in a plastic case, with a name like "Trademaster" or "Job-Mate", or some such.
gmjhowe7 years ago
Sweet, perfect table for reading on!
Patrik7 years ago
Wait - didn't you post this a while ago? I could have sworn I'd already seen this somewhere...
Yes, she made a forum topic about. I think it was last year.
jessyratfink (author)  chooseausername7 years ago
Correct! This is just the follow-up. :)
Ah, good to know I'm not crazy! ;) Deja vu all over again...
duck-lemon7 years ago
I would SO try this if i had enough books. +1
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Nice idea! I have seen these before, but not with the rod Crash pics please!
jessyratfink (author)  LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
I don't know how they'd work without the rod. Just seems scary to me. :P And crash pictures will be coming. If I can't find the CD tonight I will get them at work tomorrow!
you could soak them in water and elmers mixed together, and clamp them shut while they are drying- they'd be like bricks. Then glue them together
can't wait to see them!