Drab to Fab Bookends

Introduction: Drab to Fab Bookends

I was looking for something to personalize my drab office area, but it had to be something useful. I found I was in need of a set of bookends. Instead of something plain and boring, I decided to turn mine into something I would enjoy. I chose the embellishments to include something old, something from nature, a little bit of color and just a touch of bling.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

1 set plain bookends - found at second hand shop

Various adhesives (5 minute epoxy, hot melt glue, craft glue)

Variety of Embellishments (example: spray paint, glass insulators, water spigot handle, small tow hook, stones [river, glass, and decorative], finger nail gems, beads [from hair tie], mini coins [from garage sale necklace])

Light weight metal pieces (blades from broken decorative windmill, sheet steel cut to size)

Step 2: Prep

I wanted to extend the decorating surface of my bookends, so I cut custom pieces of sheet steel to overlap the original horizontals and make the over-all surface approximately 3” deep. The extensions are attached with Epoxy, clamped and allowed to cure over night, then spray painted black.

Step 3: Background Color

Spray paint background color, if desired. I used a light coating of Aubergine on the top 2/3.

Step 4: Close the Gaps

In order to build my design vertically, I attached metal strips to cover the bottom portion of the vertical cutouts. These pieces were from a miniature decorative windmill that had fallen apart. Attach with epoxy and allow to cure over night.

Step 5: Start Building

Starting with the largest or center most item of your design, attach to the bookend with the appropriate adhesive. I started with 5 minute epoxy for the glass insulators and river stones allowing enough time for the adhesive to set firm before continuing.

Step 6: Build It Up

Continue adding your embellishments to complete the base before going vertical. Again, 5 minute epoxy worked great on the stones. I let it set up a little bit on my mixing plate before spreading it on the stones. That way it was already a little bit tacky and didn't tend to let the stones slide over each other as much.

Step 7: Bling It Out

For heavier items, lay the bookends down with the inner tab over the edge of your work surface. Let your adhesive cure to a solid hold over night. I found that the tow hook and water spigot held very well with a 5 minute epoxy. The lighter glass and decorative stones as well as the beads and coins tucked in to the stones did well with hot melt glue. The tiny gems only need a drop of craft glue to hold well (tip: use a wood toothpick with a dab of glue on the end to pick up and place the gems).


Be careful when moving your bookends. Materials used here made the horizontals heavy and they bend easily. Be sure not to pick them up by the tops.

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    2 years ago

    That's a clever idea, I have same bookends which are just for functional use and could easily be 'blinged up'