Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books

Have a bunch of old books laying around? Give them a new life by creating unique pumpkins, perfect for autumn and Halloween decorations!

This is a great way to give new life to books that are falling apart, torn, missing covers or pages, or would have otherwise been thrown away. The books I used  were given to me by others who did not want them anymore and were planning on throwing them away – it was a little tough to cut up a book, but I feel pretty good about making something beautiful and useful out of them, and saving them from a landfill! 🙂

There a a few different techniques that you can use to color the pumpkins, depending on how color-saturated you want them (and how much time you want to spend creating them ).


Old paperback books


Orange ink pad

Orange acrylic paint

Large mixing bowl

Exacto knife

Hot glue & glue gun

Sheet of paper


Green felt

Brown Cloth Stem Wire (can be found in the floral section of any craft store)


On a blank sheet of paper, draw and cut out a pumpkin shape (keeping in mind the size of the book you will be using and that the book will need to be able to stand up, so don’t make the bottom completely rounded).  Pull the front & back cover off the book. Open the book  to about halfway through, and then trace the shape onto the book pages. Use an Exacto knife to cut out the pumpkin (you may have work your way through the book doing this, cutting several pages at a time).



Once your pumpkin shape is cut out, it’s time to give it some color! Decide which method you want to use (if you’re making more than one, you may want to try a different method of adding color for each one):

Rub the edges with an orange stamp pad. This is by far the quickest, easiest and least messy method, but it just gives the edges color, so a lot of white will still show through.

Dip the edges in orange paint. Water down orange acrylic paint to dilute it and put it in a large mixing bowl or other container. Test the orange color by dipping a sheet of paper in – add more water or orange paint to make it the color you like. Then, just close the book and dip the cut edges in. You can dip as little or as much as you’d like – the deeper and/or longer the book gets dipped in the paint, the further the color will soak up into the pages. If you want the book pages to be entirely orange-tinted, dip the whole book in the paint (this produces a really cute look, but it took almost 2 days to dry completely!).


Once the book pumpkins are are completely dry, it’s time to make the stems and leaves that will attach to the top. Cut out a few leaf shapes from green felt and hot glue a small length of the stem wire to the back of each.  Use some more of the wire to create little curly spirals that will also stick out of the top of the pumpkin by wrapping it around a pen or pencil, then just sliding it off.

Open the book so that the first and last pages and the core of the spine  are facing up.  Use the hot glue gun to glue a stick (the stem), along with the base of the wire “curlies” and the leaf  into the top of the spine of the book. Zig-zag hot glue all the way down the spine, then just open the book completely so the pages are all spread out.



Once the hot glue dries, the pumpkins are done!





I’m linking this tutorial up to: Tip Me TuesdayPatches of PinkHappy HourSundae Shake Up & Everything Under the Moon.


  1. So sweet…thanks for linking up pver at Patches of Pink! 😉 Hugs x

  2. Really Neat! Great Idea!
    Thank you for joining us at Patches of Pink!

  3. What an awesome idea! I love this SO much!

  4. What a FABULOUS project and great way to use up old books! LOVE the idea! Thanks for joining us at Patches of Pink!!!


  5. I absolutely L-O-V-E these and hope to duplicate them myself! SO glad you linked up with P.O.P. so that I could find you!!!! I’m your newest follower-I hope you’ll be mine too. flairandfrillscreativity.blogspot.com Creative blessings, Brynn

  6. Really like the pumpkin from paperback book idea. May give it a try. Ck out my blog if you like to see some pumpkins of a different kind. My hubby carves Styrofoam pumpkins for Halloween. They are less messy to carve & can be kept yr to yr.
    “Sunshine HoneyBee”

  7. This is such a cute idea!!! I bet it looks absolutely adorable sitting out for the Fall season! I would love it if you would stop by and link up at my “Sundae Shake Up”, this Sunday.

    Jacque @ Jacque’s Soda Parlor

  8. Thanks, Brynn! Your blog is adorable (and I’m your newest follower too)! 🙂

  9. I’m glad you like it! Thanks for stopping by to check it out! 🙂

  10. Thank you! 🙂

  11. Thank you! I appreciate it! 🙂

  12. Thanks, Jacque! I can’t wait to visit your blog and link up! 🙂

  13. Thanks so much! 🙂

  14. I just love these! You’ve been featured this morning so feel free to drop by Happy Hour Projects and grab a button if you like. Thanks for sharing!



  15. Hi,

    I wrote an article about recycled book Halloween projects. I linked to this post on my blog. Love your idea!


  16. Very unique and creative.

  17. So CREATIVE!! An awesome idea! I would love it if you would stop by and share the pumpkins at my linky party!

  18. These are so freakin’ cute! I had to feature them at Storage Geek with full credit and link back of course.

  19. These look beautiful but I nearly cried when I saw what you did to that poor copy of Treasure Island. I’m something of a hoarder when it comes to books (even if they are falling apart). I must admit the words book and recycle just don’t go together in my mind. I think I might have to try out something similar with an old magazine or something instead. hehe.

  20. This is too cute!!

  21. I love these! I even pinned them on Pinterest. Hope that’s OK – I did give you credit.
    I can’t wait to make these with my art club kiddos and the two boxes of books the library was going to throw away!

  22. Thank you so much for the feature! I love all the storage ideas that you have on your site, maybe I can finally get rid of some of the clutter around my house…thanks!


  23. Oh, destroying books like this – that is blasphemy :(((((((
    I would put people in jail for destroying books! 🙂

  24. And the book looks quite old and expencive…. Well, if you think your diy things are more worthy, so be it :///

  25. Agreed.

  26. Kimberly Temple says

    OMG, making these! I’d have a hard time hurting any book that I really liked, so I’d probably pick up a damaged book or something that hasn’t received any love. I need to get some books, paint and wire! I totally love this idea, I’d love to do this for any season! Love it, it might be cute as an apple too, use red paint and the shape. Great idea! <3

  27. Thanks, Nora! I really appreciate you including my project in your article! 🙂


  28. Hi Jill,
    I appreciate you pinning my project on Pinterest – it’s definitely ok with me! I hope your students will have fun making them!

  29. Hi Elune, I should have included in my original post that the books I used were not in good shape and were donated to me; if I hadn’t taken them, they would have ended up in the garbage. Many libraries and schools have books that are very damaged, missing covers or pages and are no longer useable. I was glad to recycle the books that were destined for the dump into something I can use! 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by!

  30. Thanks, Kimberly! They were fun to make (and don’t worry, I used old books that were donated to me and already falling apart). I love the apple idea, I’m going to have to try that – also, maybe a pear with green paint, too?!

  31. Those are such great accent pieces! And they look super fun to make! :]

  32. Really neat idea! Will try this myself tomorrow, thank you for sharing!


  33. love love love it. you could do a smaller, circular shape and make christmas decorations for the tree! maybe some silver or gold spray paint>? i think yes! great idea..thanks.

  34. Amy, that is an awesome idea!!! I’m going to have to try that soon! 🙂

  35. very cool! something different yet cute and creative!

  36. Of Sage and Sepia says

    These are fantastic! I made one – check out my version with a link to your great tutorial on my blog. Now want to try making a smaller one…..

  37. Hi
    We are just wondering what size book are you using? How many average pages are they? We are trying it out and not having too much luck. We would really like to use them as centerpieces, as part of our Literacy themed auction. Please help us….

  38. Hi Dawn!

    I am SO SO sorry about the delay in responding!

    Anyway, the books I used were fairly average sized paperbacks, roughly about 250 pages each. I hope that helps! Good luck with this project – I hope your turn out beautifully!


  39. I’ve been doing a similar thing but instead turning the books into vases and making origami flowers to come out the top. They look awesome and I was about to put my own pics on then I saw what you’ve been doing. They look great and have given me some ideas to where I can take my project.

    Thanks x

  40. So glad you like my book pumpkins!

  41. Rhonda Duke Boothby says

    Found your idea in Woman’s World and tried it this morning. Only problem I am having is I dipped the book in paint and water, but all the pages are sticking together 🙁 Am I doing it wrong?

  42. Hi Rhonda,
    Sorry you had a problem with the sticking pages, I had a few that wanted to stick together but once totally dry I could pull them apart. If you do the book-pumpkin again (and I hope you will) press with your fingers some of the water/paint out, fan the book open to dry and go back later and fan and move the pages for drying? I hope this will help you and you will try it again!
    Thank you,

  43. So Cute! I blog over at http://2crafty4myskirt.blogspot.com/ This Thursday I will be posting a round up of handmade pumpkins. I plan to include this project with a link to your tutorial. Please let me know if you are not OK with that. Great work!

  44. We followed everything by the directions (cute idea, by the way). Let it try all day ou in the NM sun. The pages just want to fan out the right way. Is there a cure for this or do we need to find heavier printed pages? Thanks.

  45. Really wanted to say the pages WON’T flare the way your illustration shows. Indtead of opening the book half-way then cutting it, would it work better if we just left book closed then did the cutting? Maybe I got a bad book…Brahms Stoker…..

  46. Hi Alese,
    Thank you for adding my book pumpkins to your round up, I loved all the pumpkin ideas!

  47. Hi Marty,
    Sorry to hear you are having trouble with the pages, you might be right that the book pages are thin! Maybe try using your fingers (one to three pages at a time) to get the pages to go the right way after it has tried! Hope this will help!

  48. Hi Marty,
    I do not see why you could not keep the book closed to cut it! I have found that some books the glue used in the spine is not strong, maybe this is the problem with your book?
    Let me know how it works out for you!

  49. These work great with readers digest or tv guides as well!

  50. Egg shapes with multi-colors too!

  51. I absolutely love these pumpkins. They are so adorable!! I want to make these with my women’s Bible study this week, and am just curious how long they take to dry if you just dip the very edges into the paint? It would be fine for us to make it a two-week project, but I am curious since you only said that dipping the entire book into the paint would take nearly two days. How long would it take if just, say, the book was dipped 1/4 to 1/2 inch into the paint?

  52. Wonderful site. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it to some
    buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks in your

  53. I love this idea and just did my first two…how did you get the edges so clean?

  54. nice very nice

  55. Great idea, I tried this already but the only problem i was running into was that when it dried and sat for several weeks the pages started to bend and cause the pumpkin to lean and wont stand straight anymore.

    how to avoid this????

  56. What a cute idea, love it!

  57. I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn extra cash every month. You can use the best adsense alternative for any
    type of website (they approve all websites), for more info simply
    search in gooogle: boorfe’s tips monetize your website

  58. After Betty returned America safely she efforts to find Steve but nothing.
    In fact, you’ve got almost surely seen some with the more
    famous abstract paintings before. Art exhibits including
    touring exhibits held listed here are normally the most sought-after
    by those who are into arts and not so into arts.

  59. Eu visite dia-a-dia alguns sites e sites para ler artigos ou clientes , mas
    isto blog fornece recurso baseado escrevendo.


  1. […] (it can be found in the floral section – or maybe you have some left over after making your book pumpkin )  and a package of  natural looking decorative filler (the kind used for filling vases & […]

  2. […] little paper pumpkins from Crafting Mom are really cute, and have sort of a shabby chic vibe to them (even if they are […]

  3. […] some orange paint, a sheet of paper and couple more simple supplies. You can click over to Pumpkin Decorations Made From Recycled Books to get the detailed tutorial if you want to try this yourself. I think the most fun part would be […]

  4. […] How cool is this and good for the planet. Want to make this? […]

  5. […] lives as books during their new lives as pumpkins.  For full project details check out the blog Crafting Mom that has lots of great craft ideas to do with (and without) kids.  Basically, cut a pumpkin shape […]

  6. […] Fall Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books2. Pumpkins come in many shapes and sizes. A ripe pumpkin is orange. It has a stem on the top. I can make food from pumpkins. __. __. My Pumpkin. Book by … […]

  7. […] found the directions at Creations by Kara and one even more in-depth at Crafting Mom. The photo which compelled me to begin the search can be found on the post Awesome DIY Projects I […]

  8. […] Fall Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books : Crafting Mom […]

  9. […] a pumpkin shape from your old books may look a bit tedious, but Hill’s step-by-step tutorial makes it look surprisingly easy. A few simple steps with crafting knife is all you’ll need to […]

  10. […] again, or scoop up a bunch of books for practically nothing at a yard sale. Follow the instructions here to make the book pumpkins. At the wedding, you can dress them up with vines or colored leaves for a […]

  11. […] 17. Recycled Book Pumpkin from Crafting Mom […]

  12. […] old books to turn into AWESOME decor? You’re gonna want to check this out for SURE! … Fall Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books ( image credit : http://craftingmom.com/ ) PreviousNext medianet_width='600'; medianet_height= […]

  13. […] de poner una ramita por aquí y una hojita por allá y tendrás estas monadas. Puedes ver el tutorial en ingles aquí, es bastante gráfico así que espero que más de uno se […]

  14. […] but you can always find some that are missing pages.. have water damage, etc.   Head on over to Crafting Mom to learn step by step on how to make these Pumpkin Book Decorations! google_ad_client = […]

  15. […] You can use recycled books this fall as a different kind of Halloween pumpkin. You can use recycled books for crafts like making a fall pumpkin this year. Here is how to make a decorative pumpkin from recycled books. […]

  16. […] a pumpkin out of an old book – This pumpkin by Crafting Mom caught my eye because it is so incredibly cute. A whole series of little book pumpkins would be […]

  17. […] a few old books laying around? You can use them to create amazing recycled book pumpkins. With a craft knife you can carve the pages, and glue it into a round shape with a hot glue gun. […]

  18. […] também pode usar livros para decorar sua festa. Saiba como fazer aqui. (O site está em […]

  19. […] Recycled Book Pumpkins Photo: Crafting Mom While it's always a good idea to donate books to schools or other organizations that can use them, […]

  20. […] Use recyclables to decorate: Large pieces of cardboard can be made into tombstones. Clear milk jugs can turn into ghostly lights. Old books can become new pumpkins. […]

  21. […] Book Pumpkins – Bring some fall into your Thanksgiving decor with this cute, upcycled pumpkin centerpiece […]

  22. […] too.  Check out the project below, where Jacki makes the cutest pumpkins out of old books!  Click here for the instructions on this super cute and green […]

  23. […] Old book pumpkins – Turn that old ratty book on the shelf into a pumpkin for your table. We don’t recommend doing this with your good books, but something you’ll never read again will work fine. […]

  24. […] Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books Photo by Crafting Mom […]

  25. […] Old book pumpkins: Turn that old ratty book on the shelf into a fall-themed pumpkin for your table. We don’t recommend doing this with your good books, but something you’ll never read again will work fine. […]

  26. […] Kredit: Crafting Mom[[[[craftingmom.com / …] […]

  27. […] you love old books as much as I do, this pumpkin centerpiece made from an old book is for you… Sure to impress guests […]

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.