Make these simple DIY Decorative book stacks in a few steps. These were made for Valentines Day however simply change out the books and the florals to make these for any season.
For Christmas I decorated my vintage booth at Off The Common Antiques by hanging red and green books. I had shopped local thrift stores, peeling back the book jackets looking for red and green hardcovers. My goal was to find 15 old books that were under $3.00ea, most were $1.00. I discarded the book jackets and then grabbed my glue gun and with a little bit of hot glue added simple piece of faux Christmas greenery and a mini pinecone on the left corner of the front of the book. Next I simply looped a white ribbon and ran it through the book. Then at the booth I hung them at an angle from hooks on my booths pergola – the result was so fun!
With Christmas over, I needed to find something to do with all those books! The green ones were put aside and I decided a great way to use the red hardcover books was to have some Valentine’s fun! Today I’m sharing how to make DIY decorative book stacks – Valentine’s Day Style.
My vision was to incorporate lace and vintage doilies with some soft florals to the sides of the books and the top of the book stack to create a romantic look. I decided on an understated Valentine’s look therefore I didn’t add anything I would consider unmistakably and overtly Valentine-y (i.e. hearts, Valentine’s ribbon, Valentine’s text, etc) My thinking was that the red books with the romantic lace and flowers would be enough.
What are book stacks?
Somewhere along the way books became decor (books decor) and it seems there’s no turning back! I love to use books in my decor! They serve as great risers (props)- meaning if you create, say a coffee table a vignette, you may want to use a book or a stack of books to “lift” a decor element in the vignette. Often book stacks are seen in farmhouse decor. You can see in the photo below that I “lifted” this bee pitcher by placing it on a stack of neutral color books. The books (used here as decor) add interest, texture and give the coffee table vignette more dimension.
Decorative Book Stacks
Over the years, book stacks have become more decorative, taking on many different styles. They can be used as is like the photo above or you can make your own custom book stack using a variety of supplies. You can deconstruct hard covers to reveal a tattered paper book, you can stamp names or phrases on them, paint them with white chalk paint, gather them with twine or bows or wrap them in paper or burlap – there are so many fun ideas to create your one-of-a-kind little decor bundle!
Below I’m sharing one of my stamped book stacks that has my favorite movie quote from The Notebook – “All of you, forever, you and and me, everyday”. These are paperback books with the covers torn off. The text is from rubber stamps on the book spine side of the books although in other designs I have seen it on the other side as well. In this end table design you can also see that the cake stand holding the 3 mini topiaries is…well… sitting on a book!
Steps for Making These Valentine’s Book Stacks:
- The first step was to paint the spine of the books red. I did this because many of the books titles and genre weren’t exactly appropriate for Valentine’s (i.e. The Body in the Record Room…lol) I also wanted a cleaner look for these stacks. I used simple craft paint and applied 2 coats. You may certainly skip this step.
- After the spine’s were painted I set out to stack the books. I painted 9 books to make 3 book stacks. I layered them with the largest book on the bottom, smallest on the top. Once I had them in order I took 2 of the book stacks and with my glue gun I glued the stacks together. Again another step you can skip but I didn’t want to rely on the delicate ribbon to have to hold them together. For the doily book stack I glued the vintage doily over the spine first and then glued that stack together.
- Now the fun starts! I purchased a variety of lace from Jo Ann’s along with a big faux hydrangea bloom. I had on hand some greenery, cherry blossoms and some faux lily of the valley to incorporate as well. Also included is a beautiful fringe chiffon ribbon. I used the chiffon ribbon on the doily books whereas the doilies provided enough of a lace-look. For the non-doily stacks I simply wrapped the books in lace and used the same lace to create a bow.
- Lastly I added the flowers. I glued the greenery so it would be trailing down the sides. Then I pulled apart the hydrangea bloom and glued a cluster to the center. From there I sporadically added more dainty greenery, individual hydrangea blooms and some left over cherry blossoms and lily of the valley.
Tips, Tricks and Substitutions:
- Lace/Ribbon: The options are endless with lace and ribbon. Regardless of the ones you choose, you will find that most are flimsy and difficult to loop in a way it will stand. Due to this, I made “faux loops” and added them in and around the flower topper to give the appearance of a bow. First I laid the ribbon tails on the book stack, added the floral topper (greens and hydrangea) then glued in individual loops.
- Books: Shop your home for books you are willing to part with otherwise a local thrift store, Dollar Tree or other dollar store, garage sales and yard sales are great for finding a good stack of books! Be sure to choose books that are different sizes. You may choose all one color or if you prefer you can go with different colors.
- Holiday Themed: These stacks were made with Valentine’s Day in mind, however by changing out a few things you can easily make Easter, fall or Christmas themed book stacks. You can also add text ( family names or special phrase) to either the spine of your book or the pages using a letter stamps and ink pad. These book stacks make great gifts.
- Covered Book Technique: If you can’t find the right collection of books, consider covering your books with wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, kraft paper or fabric. This will also be less destructive whereas the glue will go on the paper or fabric instead of the cover of the book.
Supply List for this Project:
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- 3 Red hard-covered books – I found mine at local thrift stores
- Red acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- Glue gun / Glue Sticks
- A variety of lace
- A variety of vintage doilies
- Chiffon Ribbon
- Cream-colored Hydrangea stem (similar linked)
- Faux trailing greenery (similar linked)
Displaying Your Decorative DIY Book Stacks:
- Add a stack to your living room holiday-inspired coffee table vignette along side your favorite wooden beads.
- Place them on your mantel with your favorite vase of flowers and/or candles.
- Put them on your night stand for a romantic bedroom setting.
- The best part about these stacks of books is they make great Valentine’s Day gifts or the perfect gifts for the book lovers in your life.
Valentine’s DIY Decorative Book Stacks (with vintage doilies)
- 3 red hard-covered books
- 1 red craft paint
- 1 paint brush
- 3 vintage doilies
- 1 hot glue gun / glue sticks
- 1 roll of chiffon ribbon
- 1 sprig of faux hydrangea (sprig = small cluster)
- 1 sprig of greenery (sprig = small cluster)
- Collect 3 red hard-covered books that are similar in size but not exact. You want the 3 books to create a pyramid once they are stacked.
- With craft paint and a paint brush apply 2 coats of matching red paint to the spine of the books. This will cover the title of the books and result in a cleaner looking book stack. You may skip this step.
- Let the paint on the books dry for 30 minutes or until dry to the touch.
- Lay out how you plan to stack the books. The largest will be the base, the smallest on the top.
- With your hot glue gun, glue the vintage doily to the spine of the book. First glue the center of the doily to the center of the spine of the book. You can do this by applying the hot glue to the book then carefully laying the doily in place. Then move to the outside edges of the doily and tack them down with the hot glue.
- Repeat this process for all three books.
- Stack your books to make sure they sit well. Again largest on the bottom, smallest on the top.
- Between each layer of books add some glue to secure the books together. You want to match the center of each book and layer right on top. Pyramid style!
- Next take the chiffon ribbon and run a piece under the bottom of the book and wrap the book stack with one layer of ribbon. Then cut the ends where they meet.
- With your hot glue gun add a dab of glue to secure the two ends of the ribbon. Do not be concerned that you can see the glue, it will be covered with flowers.
- To create ribbon tails cut strips of ribbon the size of the top book and lay diagonally. Adhere with a dab of glue.
- Repeat the step above by laying a same size strip of ribbon in the opposite direction. Then begin gluing some sprigs of greenery stemming from the center of the ribbon.
- Add a few more sprigs of greenery starting from the center but heading in various directions. You want the greenery to extend beyond the hydrangea blooms. Then take a cluster of hydrangea and add glue to the stems and press the cluster into the center of the book. Hold in place until glue adheres.
- If needed cut individual hydrangea blooms and glue around the cluster to fill in.
- Next to create the illusion of a bow, cut 3 pieces of the chiffon ribbon in 4" strips.
- Add a dab of glue to the end of each strip.
- Pinch the end where the glue is (carefully!) so the loop will "puff".
- With your glue gun, add another dab to the pinched end and place the loop in with the hydrangeas. Repeat for all 3 loops.
- For the final step, with scissors cut the ribbon tails at an angle to complete the project.
Pin This Project for Later:
Thank you for visiting the blog for one of my favorite DIY projects, how to make DIY decorative book stacks – Valentine’s Day Style! For a full tutorial click here. For more Valentine’s inspiration please head over to see my Valentine’s tablescape!