Recycled Book Halloween Decorations

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We love books in my family, so a recycled book Halloween book craft is a must-do for us. My son had the idea for this fun project.  He wanted to make books that looked like old world magical wizard books, ala Harry Potter or some other fantasy stories.  I enjoy doing craft projects with my kids, so I was thrilled to help him with this project.

3 Halloween books crafted from old books in a stack with a window shadow cast over them.

It all started with a trip to the thrift store and 3 thrifted books to make this easy recycled book Halloween decoration.

Halloween Book

You can use this upcycled book as:

  • A craft project to make with children
  • A Halloween decoration
    • For your home
    • For a classroom
    • For a library or school library
  • A Halloween prop
    • For a costume
    • For a haunted house
    • For a play
collage of colorful worksheets with featured cover page with 3 ghosts with party hats.

How To


Step One

It was fun looking through books at the thrift store and being intrigued by some of the titles and subject matter.  My son and I had quite a few laughs. 

stack of three hardcover books

We knew we wanted books with covers that could be painted, so we looked for fabric hardcover books with minimal writing on the covers.  My son knew the size book he wanted, which was “standard novel size.”  I think it would be fun to use a coffee table sized book next time.   Be sure to check under the dust jackets to find just the right covers.  It’s definitely a case of don’t judge a book by its dust cover.

Step Two

sponge brush adding black paint to the cover of a book

We simply painted the covers of the books with craft paint and a sponge brush.  Depending on your paint color and book cover, it may take a couple of coats of paint to hide to achieve the look you want.  Brush strokes and inconsistencies in the color add to the authentic look, so don’t worry about perfection.

Step Three

hand with paint pen decorating halloween book craft cover

I used paint pens to write the titles and decorate the two books I made. 

view of spine and cover of crafted upcycled Halloween book

Don’t worry about being a perfectionist with your handwriting.  To quote Pee Wee Herman, “I meant to do that.” (can you name that movie?)  You’re going for an old world handmade look, so imperfections are required.

upcycled book cover with painted gold hand image and skeleton key bookmark

My son used a paint brush and made his own hand stencil to decorate his book.  He also added an “old-fashioned” key tied to a bit of decorative braiding I had to use as a bookmark.  His design was entirely his own ideas.  That’s what’s so fun with this project, your imagination and creativity can fly.

Recycled Book Halloween Decoration

More Halloween Ideas and Recipes

I had so much fun making these Halloween books and they’re surprisingly quick to make.  I think we’ll be creating some more to decorate the Organized 31 home this weekend.

3 Halloween books crafted from old books in a stack with a window shadow cast over them.

Be sure to pin for later craft and Halloween decorations inspiration.

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  2. Hi Susan – I think Paul Reiser would agree that your books are better than his! I love the key – that is the perfect added touch. Hugs, Holly

  3. What a great idea!! I am sure that I have some books in my basement that would work. I really like the addition of the ribbon and key. Great project to do together! Thanks, Susan.

  4. What a great new idea! I love it. Maybe I’ll make some for Christmas and try to hollow out the inside for a hidden gift box. Thanks!

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  8. This is an amazing idea! I have added it to our round-up, 22+ Kids Halloween Crafts From Recycled Materials. You can view it here if you like, Thanks!

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