Hardback Book Christmas Tree




How to turn an old, unwanted hardback into a small Xmas tree.

Can work as a table display, in lieu of an Xmas card (plenty of space on the inside cover for a message), or, if you are of the Humbug school, your entire Xmas decoration ensemble

This is the basic tree, you could of course carry on with baubles, tinsel, leds, stars and fairys....go wild...

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Step 1: Tools/Ingredents

1 x old book that youre never going to read anyway
1 x pen/pencil
1 x sharp craft knife
some x masking tape
some x old paper
some x green spraypaint

Step 2: Ready to Cut....

Pre cutting
Open the book to the inside of the cover page
Mark out a zig-zag like a large saw tooth from the top of the book close to the spine, ending at the bottom of the book at the corner by the loose pages.
While I think you could do it with a pair of scissors, I for one would have got v v bored, but those of you with mini people may not want them wielding scalpel sharp knives....then again, maybe you do...
NB. Top and spine to bottom and loose edge (I only repeat this cos I started from the bottom myself)

Start cutting
Its easier if you remember to let the knife do the work and not try to cut through the whole book in one go, just a few pages at a time.

Keep cutting
I found it easier to cut from the apex of each 'V' shape rather than trying to trace the whole shape in one go

Just a bit more cutting
It may also be worth mentioning not to get too enthused with the sharp implement and cut all the way through the back cover

Step 3: ...cutting Ends.

Lots of cutting later...you end up with a pile of paper with words on them and an unreadable book.

But....if you open it out you can see the shape of a Xmas tree...if you squint a little bit.

Step 4: Mask and Spray

Use some newspaper to mask off the hardcover from the excess spray (or if youre not bothered, dont bother)

Use whatever spraypaint you have to hand....
I had trad xmas tree green in 2 colours
But if you want pink...go pink
at this stage you can be as meticulous or as slipshod as you want

When the paint is dry, remove the mask and making tape

Step 5: Finish and Moneyshot

Then you have an unreadable book with the edges coloured green (or whatever colour you went with in the end).

You now just have to fold the covers back as far as they will go (making booklovers wince as you crease the spine).

Make sure all the pages have fanned out nicely and hey presto!

Now you have an original card ready for your message inside the cover, to send to those who are beloved and far far away.

Or the most Ebeneezer of all xmas decorations that can be brought out for the 12 days as a token gesture then closed up and put back on the bookshelf til next year.

Have fun with it 

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    19 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I do not recommend doing this to a book. EXCEPT for OLD Yellow Pages (or any telephone directory)

    Though they have SOFT cover, you can glue more cardboard on the cover (front, back, and spine).

    To make harder cover, mix 5 ml water to 10 ml pva glue (polyvinyl acetate a.k.a. white glue, wood glue, elmer's glue) or 1:2 ratio of water and pva glue.

    With paint brush, brush cover (front, back, and spine) with water-glue mix. Allow to dry. Do the same to the inside part of the cover. allow to dry.

    Repeat brushing of water-glue mix once or twice to both sides to make it harder.

    Once dry, you can decorate the cover with whatever design that you like and make now your Christmas Tree.

    NOTE: Every after brushing the cover of the water-glue mix, immediately put the brush under running water to clean it. Otherwise, you will need a new brush.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    And if you don't want to sacrifice an actual book (my bibliophile Mother's upbringing makes me cringe at the idea, to be perfectly honest), you can buy one--or more--of those blank journaling books they sell at bookstores. They're pretty cheap, and you can use them with a clear conscience.

    3 replies
    alex desuayres

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    A heck of a lot of books are thrown in charity shop skips,sad but true. I love to have a good rummage. they are usally just down a little alley at the back of shop,and mostly they are glad of someone helping to make more room for them to throw out more. :'(
    citys not quite so understanding. small towns the best.
    Happy skip diving! :D

    jaydeechickalex de

    Reply 3 years ago

    Why would you dumpster dive a charity shop? Go in and tell them that you're after some old books for craft projects. They'll probably give you some or charge you next to nothing, which is probably less than the donation you recommend to give. Also, you won't be breaking any laws.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


    Great idea! I had a bibliophile mum as well and I could not stand doing this to a book! Okay, maybe a Reader's Digest re-print of a Danielle Steel or something... ;)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    ... .... a very cool effect.. ... Don't think i could ever give it go though, wish i could ... but ... i can't cut up a book


    8 years ago on Step 5

    Great Idea! I'm gonna look through my unnecessary book pile.
    Looks like an orange on top. Or a paper towel holder thingy. Anyway, I have one suggestion:

    Band saw.

    I don't know if it would work, but seems like it would be worth a shot. Maybe if the paper was clamped between some sacrificial plywood? If one did come up with a good way to do this with a power tool then the project would take about 10 minutes, plus drying time.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    love the gratuitous use of power tools :D

    btw famerebel 'ball thing' is just a clementine


    8 years ago on Step 5

    So the covers stick out the back right? Thats pretty neat. I'd like to make one for my dad for his library! :D Very cool idea. What is that ball thing you put on top of your tree just out of curiosity?


    9 years ago on Step 5

    I love the idea of closing it and putting on the shelf til next year.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    GENIUS! Love it! It would be cool to see it decorated. :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     twas a plastic coated copy of Dickens'  - 'Pictures from Italy'......so really wasnt ever going to be read...


    9 years ago on Introduction

    One of these could be a good way to keep a Christmas scrapbook for anual pages.   Although you would have to get a blank hardcover book or moleskin like thing.  Very creative!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 5

    Nice!! I love the simple to do.



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Why sir, I do believe you are a genius. I might have to go and destroy some yuletide literature.
    In the words of the Symbionese Liberation Army:
    "Books, once read, make a good bullet proofing [ or christmas decoration ]".