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
Hot glue & glue gun
Sheet of paper
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 Tuesday, Patches of Pink, Happy Hour, Sundae Shake Up & Everything Under the Moon.
So sweet…thanks for linking up pver at Patches of Pink! 😉 Hugs x
Thank you! I appreciate it!
I love this idea and just did my first two…how did you get the edges so clean?
Really Neat! Great Idea!
Thank you for joining us at Patches of Pink!
What an awesome idea! I love this SO much!
I’m glad you like it! Thanks for stopping by to check it out!
What a FABULOUS project and great way to use up old books! LOVE the idea! Thanks for joining us at Patches of Pink!!!
Thanks so much!
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
Thanks, Brynn! Your blog is adorable (and I’m your newest follower too)!
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.
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
Thanks, Jacque! I can’t wait to visit your blog and link up!
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!
I wrote an article about recycled book Halloween projects. I linked to this post on my blog. Love your idea!
Thanks, Nora! I really appreciate you including my project in your article!
Very unique and creative.
So CREATIVE!! An awesome idea! I would love it if you would stop by and share the pumpkins at my linky party!
These are so freakin’ cute! I had to feature them at Storage Geek with full credit and link back of course.
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!
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.
These work great with readers digest or tv guides as well!
This is too cute!!
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!
I appreciate you pinning my project on Pinterest – it’s definitely ok with me! I hope your students will have fun making them!
Oh, destroying books like this – that is blasphemy :(((((((
I would put people in jail for destroying books!
And the book looks quite old and expencive…. Well, if you think your diy things are more worthy, so be it :///
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!
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
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?!
Egg shapes with multi-colors too!
Those are such great accent pieces! And they look super fun to make! :]
Really neat idea! Will try this myself tomorrow, thank you for sharing!
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.
Amy, that is an awesome idea!!! I’m going to have to try that soon!
very cool! something different yet cute and creative!
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…..
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….
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!
Thank you for adding my book pumpkins to your round up, I loved all the pumpkin ideas!
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.
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!
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…..
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!
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?
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
nice very nice
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????
What a cute idea, love it!
So glad you like my book pumpkins!