Recycled Book Planters




Introduction: Recycled Book Planters

About: Journalism and English student with a penchant for crafting. You can probably find me locked in my room, making something.

For ages, I've wanted to make something out of books, but the thought of slicing up a tiny universe for my own selfish needs has always been too traumatic for me to bear. I eventually convinced myself that these books, which I found in a charity shop, were simply going to sit on a dusty shelf until someone else threw them away, so I might as well make something pretty from them, right?

As I sat at the dining room table, hacking at them with a craft knife, my mom's comments on me being a murderer weren't too helpful to my feelings on the situation, but it's a bit late now. So now I have recycled book planters, though I'm terribly sorry to all books harmed in the making of this project.

For this project you will need:

  • an old book (or more than one, depending on how deep you want your planter to be)
  • wood/cold glue
  • a plastic bag (preferably see-through, like the ziploc kind)
  • a plant

Step 1: Glue Pages

Smear a layer of wood glue along the edges of each book you plan to cut open, to secure the pages in place. If you plan on stacking two books, glue them together without putting glue in the area you intend to cut, as this will make it more difficult to cut through.

Step 2: Mark Cutting Area

Mark out the area you intend to cut out in pencil.

Step 3: Cut Pages

Use a craft knife to slice out the area you marked. Cutting through the cover can take a lot of effort, but just keep going - you'll get there. :)

Step 4: Add Plastic Lining

Once the cut area is as deep as you want it to be, glue a piece of a clear plastic bag (such as a ziplock bag) into the cut area, and trim the edges to the height of the book cover. This will stop water and sand leaking into the book when you put your plant in.

Step 5: Add Plant

Put your plant into the book, and look after it according to its needs.

Although this planter has no drainage (I couldn't figure out how to do it), I have had my plant in it for a number of months now, and he's healthy and happy. :)

Step 6:

Indoor Gardening Contest

Third Prize in the
Indoor Gardening Contest

3 People Made This Project!


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    Fix It! Contest
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20 Discussions

I decided to go on as well. Here are the links. As of Jan 13, 2015

For the Red Fire On The Lost Planet book - These prices are subjective. For you to have a "collectible" one, you would have to have the dust jacket, first & foremost. Without it disqualifies it as a collectible, then you would have to have it appraised for a fee. Then find a reputable dealer to sell it to. Even then depending on its condition, where you live, and how the market is, there is still no way you would ever get anything close $495.00 that it is being sold for. I would estimate maybe $250. Odds are you didn't have the coveted dust jacket so maybe you had a hardcover worth $10-20.

For the NEW FOREST PIRATES book - the used hardcover is being sold at a starting price of $9.90. No big loss there, lol. So don't let anyone misguide you. Books are only worth as much as you put into them. I am avid reader but if it's only collecting dust & taking up space & contributing to clutter then I am all for recycling & reusing that sucker!


There are lots of plants that don't need alot of water that would be great for this project, succulents aka cacti, sedums, air plants but would have to use something else than dirt to place them in, bark chips would be great. I just may come up with an add on instructable myself, lol





Definition of Collectible - Very Good

First Edition Near Fine; Dust Jacket - Very Good;

London: Burke Publishing Co., Ltd., 1959. First Edition. 12mo, 158 pp,

red cloth boards in the very rare illustrated dustjacket. A near fine book with light corner bumping. Dustjacket in About Very Good, with some creasing, two small closed tears, light rubbing. Front flap of the jacket is price clipped, but it is otherwise complete. With the dustjacket, it is essentially not replaceable.





3 years ago

Thanks a lot for this lovely and very creative craft!
This has been a great Christmas gift, very appreciated! :)


This was a fun project. Thank you for the inspiration. I found books at my local goodwill. I used my dremel to help the cutting along. I also used plastic containers to put the plants in. I figured it would guarantee they wouldn't leak and if the plants got too big they could be easily replanted and replaced. I plan to give some away as Christmas gifts this year.

Pictured is my first attempt, which I highly recommend. Those little cacti are the bits that broke off while planting. I'm wondering if they'll grow. I bought a variety of cacti to see which do best.


I wouldnt worry too much about root rot since there isnt much room at all... the evaporation will be fast and if you over fill get a paper towel and let it absorb it up.

Cute project! In answer to the drainage issue and book damaging issue, I'm sure you could rig up something similar using the hollow fake books sold in craft stores (saw some on clearance at Michaels crafts not long ago). More room for dirt, and you could dremmel a hole in the bottom for drainage. How cool would it be to have a pile of sprouting books in your garden?? If I see those fake books again I may give that tutorial a shot myself :)

Love this idea! Our theatre has some ancient hard backs (too many) used as props. I doubt they are worth anything but as they belong to the theatre it would be wonderful if some had value. We would purchase those extra few bricks and mortar for our planned extension! A win win situation and a new life for the books gathering dust.

Seeing this got me thinking about other possibilities for using paper. You do not necessarily need to use a book, but can stack any paper sheet or cardboard into whatever height or shape you want with different colors. Even stacks of old magazines or newspaper would work. If you want to see some really creative use of paper, look up a You tube video of a guy who made a working paper model of an old Winchester rifle that actually shoots reduced loads. Looks exactly like the real thing. Even the barrel is paper.

Your idea gets the creative juices going. Good job.

I don't object to destroying books to make something, but some thought must be given to whether the books you are destroying are indeed "junk." I think technical books that are obsolete might be good to use or something like that. I looked up one of your books you used, on -- ("Red Fire on the Lost Planet"), to see what it was worth. It seems only 2 are available for sale because they are so RARE. One is a paperback which sells for $100.57.... the other is a hardback which sells for $495.00. That's a real expensive planter you have there.

7 replies

In five years, LD_P, you wouldn't have the $495 (or whatever it is worth) anyway. But you will have a story about creativity and loss that is completely unique about your interesting life. What could be more valuable? Also, it is clear to us that you are different

...and uniquely talented. I hope you'll give us all a chance to buy some of your work early on in what is obviously going to be a successful, creative career.

Aw! This entire response made me smile so much. I promise I've told the story at least 10 times since I found out the book was worth something, and the story and creative experience are infinitely more valuable than the money, however much it may be. Thank you for the kind words and support. :)

I didn't know this, however, the book was pretty damaged, without dust jacket etc. I think it had been a library book before being donated to a charity shop, and I doubt it was first edition (though I didn't check) because it was in South Africa, not the US. I'm telling myself all this to feel better about destroying a $495 book. :P

Just because someone is asking $100 or $495 doesn't mean it's worth it. Can't blame a reseller for trying, though.

its really cool