New DIY Craft Project: How to Make a Book Picture Frame


A guest post by Lauren of Lauren Elise Crafted.

I love vintage books and have started a small collection of them.  But books can take up a lot of space so I have been exploring ways to incorporate my collection into my décor without cluttering up my life (too much that is!).  I realize that what I like about these old books is not necessarily the printed word within them and that usually I find random titles from antique stores that I can hardly imagine anyone reading.  But the book covers themselves have fabulous textures, fonts, and prints so that is what I focused on for this DIY.  I transformed the covers into picture frames to highlight some of my favorite black and white photos of family members.  And it helped clear up some of my shelves in the process.

Materials: 1. Vintage books that you dont mind cutting up  2. Photographs  3. Metal-edge ruler  4. X-acto knife  5. Pencil  6. Firmer chisel or a similar wedge tool  7. Tacky glue  8. Binder clips  9. Masking tape

Step by Step How To: 1. Cut out the pages of the book, leaving just the cover.  2. On the back of the cover, outline where you want to place the picture.  3. Run your x-acto knife over the outline but do not cut all the way through.  You want to leave the book cloth intact.  Use the firmer chisel to pry away the chipboard part of the cover.  4. Once all the chipboard is removed, create a new outline, 3/8″ inward from the first.  Cut out that outline.  5. Glue the 3/8″ tabs and fold over.  Hold in place with binder clips and let dry.  6. Secure your picture onto a piece of cardstock and then use masking tape to hold the picture in place over the frame.  You can glue the picture into place as well but the masking tape will allows you to change it in the future.

About Lauren: Lauren Elise is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, School of Architecture. And she loves all things crafty, homemade, and vintage.  You can see more of her crafty world on her blog, Lauren Elise Crafted, and her handmade goodies on Etsy at L. Elise Crafted for more.

For more ideas for quick and easy projects, click here to visit the craft tutorials and diy page  filled with more than 60 diys. If you like this diy project, please help me spread the word by using the twitter and facebook buttons below. Thank you so much.

43 comments | Click here to reply

such an awesome diy project … i love it! thanks for sharing chica. xx
laura Evans recently posted..a red red flower – whimsical fine art photography – 8×8

laura Evans | April 6th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

My pleasure Laura. I was so excited when I saw what Lauren had come up with for this guest post. It’s fab. And as fate would have it, I had done something very similar (although not as awesome) with a book for my polaroids when I was in college. Wish I would have used a chisel to cut out the big piece like she did. Would have saved me a lot of time. 🙂

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 1:10 pm

This’s so original, love it!
Victoria (Batzy) recently posted..New portrait

Victoria (Batzy) | April 6th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

this is such a fabulous idea! I’ve mounted photos to the inside of a book cover as a frame, but never thought of cutting out a chunk and using the exterior. I love it!

Morgan | April 6th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I’m so happy everyone is liking the DIY! Thank you so much Brittni for having me here on papernstitch! The chisel definitely helps. I started out using just my x-acto knife and it was taking way too long. I found my little chisel and it helped speed up the process so much. It can get a little messy but I think the result is worth it 🙂

Lauren Elise | April 6th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

My pleasure Lauren. It was so great to have you here on the blog today.

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I’m trying to make better use of Pinterest at the moment and thought this worthy of a pin! Great idea 🙂
LittleMissPip recently posted..Wordless Wednesday

LittleMissPip | April 6th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thank you Little Miss Pip. I love Pinterest. I am always on there. What’s your Pinterest account url? I’ll look you up. Mine is if you’re interested.

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

i can honestly say i have never seen anything like this!
patience recently posted..pamplemousse 1983

patience | April 7th, 2011 at 1:24 am

Thanks for your link Brittni – blimey your boards are so full! I’ve clearly got to up my pinning game lol!

Here’s my URL

LittleMissPip | April 7th, 2011 at 5:08 am

Wow. What a cool project. I’m covering an entire wall space in frames at the moment and this would make a great solution to those smaller areas I’m having trouble filling…
Lara recently posted..Sarah&8217s senoritas

Lara | April 7th, 2011 at 5:31 am

Isn’t it neat Patience?

Just emailed you LittleMissPip. Good thinking Lara. Yes, it would!

papernstitch | April 7th, 2011 at 9:54 am

what a great idea. i love it!
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angie | April 7th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I love this! this is the coolest idea ever
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Elissa | April 7th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

This is very clever. Definitely a project for me to bookmark.

ALICE IN DESIGNLAND | April 9th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

[…] Posted in: Journal Ideas, Long Distance Relationships on April 12th with No Comments Our Traveling Journals become snapshots of our collective lives, despite the fact that we don’t live anywhere near each other. But inevitably you have to send the Traveling Journal on to its next destination so you don’t get to hold on to those photos for very long. Here is a cool idea for making a more permanent display of friend photos in your home. It’s a creative DIY idea from Papernstitch. […]

Old Books Become Photo Frames - The Traveling Journal | April 12th, 2011 at 3:06 am

this project goes to prove that creativity is endless – you can make it if you can imagine it…..

Maria Soto | April 14th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I like this tutorial:) How exactly did you mount the books on the wall? I suppose they are relatively light.

Ruth ann | April 18th, 2011 at 11:38 am

Good question Ruth Ann. I am not 100% sure what Lauren used to fix the books to the wall. But I would recommend using a small saw tooth picture hanger. That should do the trick.

papernstitch | April 18th, 2011 at 11:42 am

What an awesome idea. I love this look. Thanks for sharing

Lisa | April 18th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

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Just found some amazing vintage books and this is the perfect idea; thanks for sharing! Did you have any trouble using just the exacto? (My covers are thick–and I’m not the most coordinated sweater on the rack.)

Jen | April 28th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I didn’t have too much trouble with a thick cover. You just need a really sharp Xacto and some patience. Or try Lauren’s suggestion for carving out the inside with a chisel. Good luck!

papernstitch | April 29th, 2011 at 1:10 am

I LOVE this idea!! I’m wondering how it would work to use scrapbooking photograph corners – It might add another level of the vintage look, while cutting out most of the work of hollowing out the cover. I’ll have to try it.

Thanks for the idea!!

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OH WOW – I absolutely love this – I’m going to blog this if that’s ok? This is totally awesome and I’m going to do it as soon as possible.

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Me in DIY Land | papernstitch | July 11th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

What a wonderful idea! I am imagining a sweet reading room lined with bookshelves. And above my desk (where I write masterpieces with effortless ease) is a wall-collage of photographs framed in lovely vintage books. A girl can dream.

Naomi Bulger | July 11th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

This is a great project to do with my students on Recycling Day in November.

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What an original way to present photographs. I love it!
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Love it! I’ve been looking for a way to decorate the walls in my library since we moved in, and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing!
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