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

By Brittni • Updated on 02/12/2024

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

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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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Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

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What an original way to present photographs. I love it!


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


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.

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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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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!!


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!


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.)


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


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.


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

Ruth ann

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

Maria Soto

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


I love this! this is the coolest idea ever


what a great idea. i love it!


Isn’t it neat Patience?

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


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…


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


i can honestly say i have never seen anything like this!


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.


I’m trying to make better use of Pinterest at the moment and thought this worthy of a pin! Great idea 🙂


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


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

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!


This’s so original, love it!

Victoria (Batzy)

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. 🙂


such an awesome diy project … i love it! thanks for sharing chica. xx

laura Evans
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