DIY Painted Books With Farmhouse Style For Spring

Do you have old hardcover books collecting dust? Grab the duster and use them to accessorize a room. Stacked on a coffee table with a floral vase on top, used to raise decor on bookshelves, set on a dresser wrapped with pretty ribbon - the possibilities are endless. But if you paint them in soft pastel colors, they make beautiful DIY decorative books for Spring.

DIY Spring Decor With Painted Books


DIY Painted Books With Timeworn Patina For Spring Decorating


If you're an avid reader like I am, you probably have stacks of old books you can use for this purpose. No worries if they have embarrassing titles like the 80s self-help books I used for these. No one's going to know after they're painted, especially when bound together with a pretty ribbon.

This is such an easy Spring craft project and a great way to recycle old books. I plan on using mine to create a pretty Spring vignette on our coffee table tray.

Shabby Chic Painted Books For Spring

I chose four books around the same size, one slightly smaller than the other to add visual interest when stacked.

Painted Books DIY Idea

I gave mine a timeworn patina around the edges of the covers and spines. The book pages are also glistening with painted metallic gold edges. I'll show you how easy it is to get the look further down in the post.

DIY Painted Books With Timeworn Farmhouse Style

Bound together with sisal twine and embellished with a small birds nest, they are ready to be displayed for Easter and Spring.

Spring Craft Idea With Recycled Hardcover Books

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

So here's how I painted the hardcover books for Spring


Painting the edges of the book pages

The first thing I did was with the books closed, paint the outside edges of the pages with gold metallic paint. The gold looks so pretty with the pastel colors but we'll be doing more to the gold in a further step.

DIY Painted Books With Metallic Gold Book Pages

Painting the book covers

The possibilities for painting the covers are endless - choose colors that work well with your decor. For mine, I painted them soft pastel colors with leftover chalk paint that I had in the workshop. Vintage cupcake (pink), Pistachio (mint), Creme Brulee (yellow), and Elegance (blue), all colors from Country Chic Paint.

DIY Painted Books In Pretty Pastel Colors

Two or three thin coats of chalk paint look better than one thick coat. The paint dries quickly so you can apply the second coat within 30 minutes.

Aging the painted book covers

Once the paint is dry it's time to have fun giving the books I timeworn look and I'll so you how easy it is to do.

DIY Painted Books With Timeworn Patina

If you've never done this before it may seem intimidating but just remember dark wax can always be removed with clear wax while it's still wet. The key is not to get too much dark wax on the rag and don't apply too much pressure with your finger. You want to feather the wax onto the books, one book at a time.

First, apply a coat of clear wax to act as a resist for dark wax so it doesn't stain the paint but rather makes it easy to blend. Rather than clear wax, I used white wax to soften the pastel colors even more. You can use a brush to apply it but my preference is a lint-free rag.

Use one end of the rag to apply the white (or clear) wax and the opposite end to apply the dark wax. Dab a little dark wax onto your rag and with light pressure feather the wax along the edges and spine of the book (pictured on the left below).

DIY Painted Books and How To Make Them Look Old

Before the wax has time to absorb blend the excess dark wax towards the center of the book in an up and down motion, leaving more dark wax around the edges (pictured on the right above). Don't panic if you put too much dark wax in some areas. Dab some clear (or white wax) over those spots to remove the excess dark wax.

Aging the book pages

With a small artist brush, apply dark wax onto the book pages around the spine of the book (pictured below). While you still have dark wax on the brush feather some on each end of the book pages as well where they naturally age over time.

DIY Painted Books With Timeworn Farmhouse Style

That's it, you're done!

Ideas for embellishing the painted books

To make them even prettier when displayed as a set, wrap pretty ribbon, lace, string, twine, or sisal like I did, around the stacked books. Tie pretty embellishments onto the twine like beads, charms, wooden tags or whatever you like. I embellished mine with a tiny birds nest and decoupaged wooden tag.

DIY Painted Books For Spring Decor

The Easter floral picks, mini foam eggs, feathers, and moss were all purchased from the dollar store.

DIY Painted Books Embellished With DIY Bird Nest

I used a small nest from the floral pick and removed the blue eggs. Next, I hot glued some moss inside the nest and replaced the blue eggs with green speckled ones that came in a package of 30. I found a bag of assorted craft feathers and glued a couple in the nest. Easy peasy way to embellish the books!

How to make a DIY wooden book tag

You can buy these wood tags readymade but I made mine with a sheet of craft balsa wood that I had on hand. Easy to make with a straight edge and sharp craft knife. I stained one side with this water-based stain and pretty decoupage floral scrapbook paper on the opposite side with Mod Podge and a foam brush. Super easy!

Decoupage Wooden Tags For DIY Painted Books

So what do you think? Have I inspired you to go through your bookcases for old books?

DIY Pastel Painted Book Stack

For more DIY inspiration visit my Easter|Spring Ideas Page and/or Spring ideas press Spring|Easter Ideas page.

If you have any questions about this DIY Easter Decor idea, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this painted book craft, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Spring or Easter Decor board on Pinterest.


Budget-Friendly Spring Decor With Recycled Painted Books

DIY Painted Books With Farmhouse Style For Spring

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

38 comments

  1. Spring-spiration.. Love it Marie! Your styling is spot on, so soft and spring-ee! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Denise. That means a lot coming from you, the Queen of gorgeous styling AND photos!

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    1. Thank you Tania! It feels good to put the box of old books to good use.

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    1. Thank you very much Robyn, appreciate that 😊 Have a great weekend!

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  4. What a lovely vignette with all the fun and charming details. I love how you painted the books and then aged them. Very pretty! Happy Spring to you...

    Tamara X

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    1. Thank you so much Tamara 🙂 I'm loving the soft pastel colors and think I'll keep them on display for Summer as well. Happy Spring back to you 🌷

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  5. Marie, those are just delightful! Perfectly spring and anyone can do it.

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    1. Thank you Larissa!😊 Exactly, a fun and easy craft for Spring!

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  6. Never thought about painting books before. I have been inspired to rip off covers but these are beautiful, maybe I should leave the covers intact.

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    1. Yes, I rip off the covers and wrap them in pretty ribbon too but painting covers gives you a couple of options for creatiing pretty vignettes. I plan on painting some for Fall, the holidays...well you get the picture.

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  7. Pretty spring book vignette. Happy Spring, Kippi

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  8. A lovely idea! I like pastel colors and how it looks like together. Thank you for inspiration.

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    1. Thank you very much Simona, so glad you walked away feeling inspired 😊

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  9. Marie, these are too cute! I have lots of old books but have never thought about painting them to get colors I want for decorating in different seasons and I can change the paint color throughout the year! I love these! Hope you will consider sharing at Celebrate Your Story which is now live on my blog! Have a great day! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you so much, Benita! I'm glad you walked away inspired to paint some of your old books. Wishes for a great day back to you!

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  10. I love this project. I've been waiting until I had some books I wanted to donate to the DIY cause. I have every supply needed to replicate your look. Never thought of using pastel paint colors. Great idea and thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yay, so glad you have everything to replicate the look of these pretty pastel painted books. Have fun painting yours, Carol!

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  11. Love that you shared two projects in this one post! Pinned!

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    1. Thanks for the pin, Julie! I don't share more than one project per post often but sometimes they just warrant it. I'll be doing it again next week with another Spring idea.

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  12. These are rea;;u nice Marie. I ave painted books before and have some old encyclopedias

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  13. Old enclyopedias are perfect for this, Leanna! I'm happy to be putting all those self-help books from the 80's to good use instead of collecting dust in the basement. Painted books are perfect furniture makeover photo props too so you'll be seeing these ones again soon on the blog!

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  14. That looks so perfectly Spring-like Marie. We have so many hardcover books at home that are just jumping up and down in the bookcase AND I swear they're saying I wanna look like that too. Can you hear them ;-)

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    1. You crack me up, girl! Then I guess you better get busy 👩🏻‍🎨

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  15. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.

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  16. Marie I never thought painted books could look so awesome till I saw yours. The wax and gold really add so much to the overall look of the books. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial with us. I need to go back and not throw out those old books but use them in this way and I know just the colors I will use. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Music to my ears, Mary! Love that my books inspired you to paint some of yours. 😊

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  17. Such a great idea for old books that have less-than-desirable covers, Marie! And such pretty spring colors!

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    1. Thank you Lora! I've got more waiting to be painted for other seasons. The possibilities are endless for painted hardcover books.

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  18. Such pretty decoration for Easter/Spring! This will be one of my features this afternoon at the Snickerdoodle link party!

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    1. Thank you very much for the feature Roseann! Glad you liked the painted hardcover books 😊

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  19. Outstanding idea..gotta go find me some books!

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  20. Thank you for sharing at #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Pinned and shared.

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