DIY Book Headboard

October 16, 2012

The new apartment was still feeling a little empty and un-lived in so Simon and I set about on this fun little project! It took as about 4 days to put it all together but most that time was spent sourcing the materials so if you were smart about it (and know where to get things – unlike us) then you could do it in a day easy.


1. To start this project I needed a lot of books – I tried yard sales first but ended up finding all my books at thrift stores. Some stores charge way more than others for the books, so I set myself a budget of $1 per book.

2. Choosing the books can be difficult! You want as many hardcover books of the same size as possible as this will make laying out the books much easier. I ended up using 27 of the 42 books I bought.

3. Measure up the size you would like your headboard but make sure it is about 1cm in from where the mattress ends on either side. This helps give the illusions that the books are simply there and not attached to anything. If like me you can’t transport one large piece of wood home you can get two pieces which will then be secured together.

4. Put the wood how the finished headboard will be so that you can mark the mattress height. Marking this is so that you know where on the boards the books should start.

5. Now move the boards to somewhere they can be laid flat and you have room to move around them. Choosing the layout for the books is like finishing a jigsaw puzzle. You need to place the books in lines of the same height books and make sure  the books extend over the edges of the board at least a little on both sides. I found the books on the top and the bottom row can be different heights but the books in the middle rows must be the same height.

6. Once you have an order you are happy with make sure you number the books so that if they get mixed up you know exactly where they go back.

7. When securing the books I used small nails, I left 2-4 pages free above the ones I nailed down. I started with the second row from the top as this would give me a nice straight line to work with. Next I nailed down the top row and then moved my way down from there. If you are using two boards of wood rather than one make sure that you use sturdy books where the join is and add some extra nails.

8. Once all the books are secured you can move the headboard into place – you will need two people for this! Now those loose pages need to be secured. Using double sided table stick down the top pages. If there are pages that lay fairly flat you may want to leave a few loose. To create the illusion of how a book would look if it were just sitting open on a table stick the pages so a bump is created. Be creative with how you secure the pages, you don’t want every book to look the same. However the bottom row of books should have the pages secured as flat as possible so that they do not get caught on pillows or sheets.

9. Now its time to enjoy your creation!


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  • Reply Richard Everson October 16, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Hi Kassandra,

    Your creativity knows no bounds! Looks great. My mum would suggest it may get a little dusty (she doesn’t know how conscientious you are at housekeeping!). For those after a low maintenace version, consider building a frame around the books and laying a piece of 3 mm perspex on top – kind of like building a 3D picture frame.

    • Reply admin October 16, 2012 at 6:48 am

      the perspex is a pretty good idea! For now I think ill stick to dusting :)

  • Reply Jeanette October 18, 2012 at 3:15 am

    What an amazing idea and a great way to surround yourself with beloved book! Love the colors that old book pages turn and there is nothing like the smell of a book. Great job!

    • Reply Teri February 15, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Unless the book smells like mold!

  • Reply snyggsnag October 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Amazing idea and it looks so beautiful! Have to keep it in mind when I will get a new bed …

  • Reply ReFab Diaries October 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve imagined doing something like this so many times … wonderful wonderful!!!! Good for you!

  • Reply Ann Morris Bruehler October 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Love this idea and have never seen anything like it! I might do this to a small wall…

    • Reply admin October 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      I think this would make a great wall or you could do something like this inside a large box frame. If you do something I would love to see photos :)

  • Reply Mija October 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Hello! Beautiful headboard, and I may be stealing this idea, but thats because its so beautiful, I want one for myself, and it is a great use out of those old books I have laying around! I want to ask, how did you hang/mount your pieces of wood onto your wall?

    • Reply Kassandra October 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you and if you do something I would love to see pics. I have a very solid bed frame so it is actually just resting against the wall but if your bedframe won’t support it then you could always add a few screws into the wall maybe leave a couple of books off where you want to attach it to the wall and then attach those books at the very end once it is up.

  • Reply Gina October 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Is it comfortable if you want to lean against while sitting up in bed?

  • Reply Natalie October 19, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Oh the possibilities stemming from this idea. A kids headboard perhaps with children’s illustrated books.

    • Reply Kassandra October 19, 2012 at 3:45 am

      cute idea Natalie. If you could find kids books that has the same colour schemes it would look even more adorable.

  • Reply Marie October 19, 2012 at 3:15 am

    What a waste of books. Books are sources of knowledge and to be nailed to a board so no one can read them is a shame. Use a bookshelf as headboard but don’t ruin the books.

    • Reply Kassandra October 19, 2012 at 3:48 am

      Half of them are in languages I can’t read, most were bought for 25c and the reference books are well out of date. But I did find a few books from the 20’s that are now sitting on my bookshelf because like you say, they were simply to beautiful to not be able to flick through. So I don’t think it was a wast at all, more of a saving of books if anything.

    • Reply Susie February 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Most of the books I have found , nobody wants to read, so nail away. The books are happier as part of a creative idea, than sitting wasted in a thrift shop. Just sayin…

  • Reply Emma October 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Don’t you tear the pages when you lean up against it to, say, read in bed? Seems like it wouldn’t stand up very well.

    • Reply Kassandra October 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Hey Emma, The pages of the bottom row of books are stuck down extra well so they dont catch when you prop up the pillows agains them :)

  • Reply Laura October 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I would love to try this with old comic annuals!

  • Reply Ron Heard October 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Oh, Kassandra,

    I knew you were in sooooo much trouble when you mentioned nailing and gluing books. … The confirmed bibliophiles would be lighting torches and heating tar all over town. But, I like the concept, and I will take the sacrilege one giant leap forward. I have been collecting old books on religion (as opposed to old religious books) and have quite a number. (I have been fascinated by the human need for religious guidance…) Nailing them to a board would be soooo deliciously poetic, and I will have the double whammy of sleeping soundly beneath the protection of so much religious thought and expended energy!

    Thank you for the wonderful idea and suggestion, but keep your head under your pillows for a while.

  • Reply MackenziLee October 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    This is so unbelievably awesome, but how did you mount it on your wall? My landlord won’t let me drill holes. Any other ideas for how to make it work without screws?

    • Reply Kassandra October 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      my bedbase holds up the whole headboard – if you think your bed base won’t hold it up you could try attaching it to the bed for extra support

  • Reply Makeup tips October 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Awaiting more posts!

  • Reply Delaney October 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    As an avid reader, I absolutely love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Zara Tretyakova October 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Great post, I admire the writing style :) A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.

    • Reply Kassandra October 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you Zara :) and as for the theme its one I created

  • Reply Vitaly Izmailova October 21, 2012 at 12:33 am

    That’s really interesting. Thanks for posting all the great information! Had never thought of it all that way before.

  • Reply Helen October 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    What happens when one props pillows up against it to sit up and read in bed? Probably not possible to read in bed anymore. In my opinion not a very practical idea, but certainly creative.

  • Reply Hermoine October 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    This is a great idea! But, I’m concerned about dust and those tiny book worms. Any ideas how to keep the dust and tiny book worms away?

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  • Reply Amy October 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Love this! Very creative idea for an old book lover like me!

  • Reply Rose from Fine Craft Guild .com October 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    ABSOLUTELY fabulous! We will feature you this month!

  • Reply Megan October 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    This is lovely! I may have to forgo the patina of older books though and do what I can with new ones. I’m allergic to dust/mold of old books! I used to have to do any library research in nurse gloves and pray I wasn’t stupid enough to rub my eyes.

    I may try some dying treatment with tea. If you’re interested I can let you know about the results.


  • Reply Marion October 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I love this idea – what would happen if you used a clear shellac to cover the
    books to give them a clear coat. It would get rid the problem of pages ripping,
    and make it easier to dust. Just not sure what it would do to the pages.
    Any ideas?

    • Reply Susie February 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Actually, you are right on. I did a project with some old books & used clear poly to preserve them. It has held up for many years.

  • Reply mariela October 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Muy util

  • Reply Fátima Regina da Silva October 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I love it!

  • Reply maria malakellis October 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    nice idea love how you have teamed it up with the suck uk pendant light…

  • Reply Mat October 29, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I gave your idea a try last night and I think it turned out nice. Used an old set of encyclopedias, set of children’s books and some old medical dictionaries. It was fun finding specific pages that related to my wife and I in some way. Here’s my Flickr page with the result.

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  • Reply Susan October 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Great idea – for anyone else looking to do this head to your local library. Most of them sell their old books for less than $1 a piece, some as low as $0.25 and not only are you getting some books for your project, but you help support the library programs.

  • Reply joe October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    use screws

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    This is a clever idea. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Emma November 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Omg *drool* I love this! So cool

  • Reply joyce November 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    LOVE IT!! I am stealing your idea for two twin beds. I want to do them with children’s books. I am thinking colorful illustrated pages would look good., and they would mount flatter, easier to install and switch out when the pages get damaged or dirtied; and glossy pages might be easier to dust. I also thought buying a series of books that all come in the same size.
    But if I am to do it for myself, I love the variety of colors of pages and thickness that you have done here. Bravo!!

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  • Reply Katherine November 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I am crazy about the book headboard!!! I love to read, but the only time I get to read is at night. This headboard is my dream board!! The only drawback is I love books and It would be like hurting a good friend to nail all thoes wonderful books to the wall. Thanks for sush an inspiring idea!

  • Reply Simone Martins November 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm


  • Reply Linda DeCristofaro November 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I saw this picture on facebook and had so many questions – which have now been answered! I love this and plan to do a smaller version of this in my office. Great job!

  • Reply Inspire Me Heather November 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, that’s too cool and I love how you put together the post, very well done! I’ve got this linked to my DIY headboards post too today, for inspiration!

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  • Reply Jenny December 28, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Hi Kassandra, This is such an amazing idea!! This is exactly what I was looking for, and I can’t wait to get started and make my own. I’m curious to know what type of materials you bought, in terms of the type of wood particularly. I’m also assuming the sizing of each book matters. Did you buy the books all based on the same dimensions? Carpentry is not my strong suit at all, so any extra tips or advice would be terrific. Thanks!!

    • Reply Kassandra December 28, 2012 at 6:12 am

      Hi Jenny,
      I was on a budget so when we went to the hardware store we chose the cheapest large pieces of wood that were still thick enough to stand without warping… you can always just ask the staff and they can point you in the right direction! When buying the books you just want to find as many that are the same height as possible (width and thickness doesn’t matter as much)… the trickiest but most fun part is laying out the books… it is a little like a jigsaw puzzle! Good luck and I would love to see photos when you done

  • Reply chantal January 2, 2013 at 10:57 am


  • Reply Angelica January 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I absolutely adore this…sharing my love of books and sleeping in one LOL

  • Reply Mary Herrnstein January 4, 2013 at 5:15 am

    this is so totally amazing…I want it too!!!

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  • Reply Jill G. Colvin January 5, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I work at the local library and we receive donations of books all the time – too many to process and put to good use. Furthermore, those “yellow” pages are really a fungus that attacks books and will spread through an entire collection. All of this to say some books just need to be cast aside…..This is a great use for cast-offs and I LOVE the idea for a children’s headboard.

  • Reply letizia January 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    E’ bellissima

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  • Reply Ithunn January 11, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Fantastic! I am circulating this project among my creative writing circle friends and am going to do it once I moive into my new home with my fiancée. Thank you for sharing this and for the detailed instructions!
    Love from a foggy Milan, Italy

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  • Reply Inge January 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    It looks wonderful!

  • Reply Wendy W January 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    This is fabulous. I found you from the A Pair and a Spare fashion blog. You could do this in a child’s room with kid’s books, and to add more color in an adult room you could use art books, which with patience you should be able to find cheaply in thrift stores.

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  • Reply frAn February 12, 2013 at 6:51 am

    fantastic idea on it own
    even more do for us bookwormd!!’

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  • Reply Peri February 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    This is a wonderful Idea I really can not wait to try this.

  • Reply Dora February 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I had to share this unique blog post, “DIY Book Headboard / Design Every Day” with my own buddies on facebook.
    Ionly just planned to spread ur very good posting!
    Thanks a lot, Christy
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  • Reply CHERIE DILLMAN February 28, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Do you read me?

  • Reply Kris Black February 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    no smoking in bed

  • Reply Julie Kertesz March 3, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Love the picture! But love too much the books to clue them: no more possible then.

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  • Reply Katie March 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I love this idea and I’m seriously thinking about making it too. Thank you for posting it. I think I’m going to add a little twist to mine. Check out my idea

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  • Reply lightiningeyes March 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I thought of an extra step that can make this a more finished and seamless project – paint the wood base the same color as the wall it is mounted on!

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  • Reply Candice April 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Greetings! I featured this tutorial some time last year and an good friend of mine actually made it. Her home was just featured on Apartment Therapy … I thought you might like to see it:
    Candice recently posted…Repurpose: Book-loving DIY’ers decorate …My Profile

    • Reply Kassandra April 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this, totally made my day!

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  • Reply Annelie April 21, 2013 at 6:49 am

    such a great idea!

  • Reply julie mack April 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    As a used Book seller, I can tell you that if you use outdated books for this project, it is ok. Not every book is valuable or even useful. As for bugs, if you are paranoid about them, bake your books for ah hour in a 250-300 degree oven. Do NOT bake them any higher than that. Paper combusts at 415 degrees F. The books will dry out. mold and mildew will die and little bugs too. You could also freeze them for 24 hours if you have room in your freezer. I love this project, I have a lot of books with bad spine damage this would be good for. Also there are a lot of books out there like encyclopedias and farmers almanacs that are almost free. Love this Project. Trying to convince technohubby that it is just that cool, that we need to do this.

  • Reply Nicole April 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

    OMG, this is such a creative idea.
    Nicole recently posted…View All Headboards For BedsMy Profile

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  • Reply miriam June 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Ficou maravilhoso! Odesafio é encontrar os mesmos tamanhos de livros. Qual seria o resultado se usássemos diferentes tamanhos?!

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  • Reply MeagT June 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    As a librarian, I just want to say that this is a fantastic use of old books! At some point, there is a time when books can be used for alternative purposes and this is wonderful! I am very much looking forward to trying this great project for my own bed!

  • Reply Books as Furniture | Wretched Refuse July 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

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  • Reply Une tête de lit avec des livres | DIY Loisirs Créatifs My Diy July 25, 2013 at 6:00 am

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  • Reply Linda July 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Wow, this is amazing. What a great way to make your bedroom both cosy and stylish! I love books and find this idea to be absolutely faboulus!

  • Reply New Life for Old Books | Bas Bleu Bluestocking Salon August 7, 2013 at 11:46 am

    […] An ingenious way to take your love of books beyond the nightstand, the book headboard provides a “second life” for books that have fallen out of scope, such as out-of-date nonfiction. We imagine a kids’ headboard made out of illustrated children’s books could be particularly incredible. And just think: If you can’t sleep, you always have something to read! Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own book headboard. […]

  • Reply Rhoda August 8, 2013 at 12:48 am

    You put nails through the books! *faints*

  • Reply A Book Lover’s Headboard DIY Headboard | DIY Headboard August 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    […] a huge reader and collector of books, Kassandra & Simon’s headboard might easily be the loveliest I’ve seen. What’s best is that it is incredibly easy to make (and […]

  • Reply Gabriele August 13, 2013 at 4:37 am

    found this post on one of my pinterest boards. love this idea. I would seal the books with a clear coat like I use to seal wood, so they can be cleaned easily.

  • Reply pascale August 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Sympa cette tete de lit !

  • Reply Sarah August 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I think I’ll do a geeky version, with doodles, comic books and harry potters! It looks so easy as well!

  • Reply DIY Decoración. Hacer un cabecero de cama con libros. | Mil ideas de Decoración August 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm

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  • Reply Pasidaryk September 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    It is beautiful idea, not just decorative but mind blowing as well:)

  • Reply Laura October 5, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I like the idea and the look of it. But, it would be tough for anyone with asthma or allergies. Those books would get those little bugs too I think. I have a lot of books on my shelves and see teeny fuzzy things every now and then.
    Laura recently posted…Found a Mountain CabinMy Profile

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  • Reply Una nova vida per als llibres gràcies al triple ‘re’ | The Crafty Days | El primer diari d'actualitat handmade en català February 4, 2014 at 1:30 am

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  • Reply Design: Bed Headboards | White Cabana February 5, 2014 at 6:00 am

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  • Reply Loyce February 12, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Hope she used extras for bedside tables.

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  • Reply Linda Miller April 12, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Knocked out by your originality and the beauty of your bedhead. I’m using Reader’s Digest condensed books for my project. (Stack them and pour latex paint over. Use either in construction or to decorate bookshelves.) Their literary value is dubious, they’re abundant,virtually unsaleable and nicely made. Special editions have pretty covers and gilded edges.

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  • Reply nayabe May 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

    AMEI… o duro é furar os livros, o bom é que vou ter leitura a noite :)

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  • Reply 18 Fun Crafts You Can Do With Repurposing Old Books |DIYManiac June 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm

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  • Reply Sara June 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Hello! What a lovely idea! I was wondering how much the wood cost and what kind/thickness you used.


  • Reply 12 Best DIY Headboard Ideas Post Valentine's Day » June 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm

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  • Reply 20 Amusing And Unique Ideas To Rethink Your Bedroom | Amusing Feed July 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

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  • Reply Vintage Headboards and Beyond | Wedo July 10, 2014 at 3:35 am

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  • Reply Rayan July 12, 2014 at 6:36 am

    What a Wonderful idea! How about this? Using the colorful hard covers and stick them in upside position on the board.

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  • Reply Reema Marquez August 19, 2014 at 1:58 am

    This is unique and cool idea, never seen anything like this. Thank you for sharing your brilliant idea.
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  • Reply Diana September 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Books get silverfish especially old books. I would not recommend this idea. Better to cover the headboard wood with the lay flat fiber polyfill batting and cover it with a material you like. No silverfish that way.

  • Reply 10 Dreamy DIY Headboards To Transform Your Bedroom October 12, 2014 at 7:06 am

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  • Reply Tête de lit : 11 projets "DIY" faciles à réaliser. | GeekyGirl October 17, 2014 at 12:08 am

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    WOW !!! I’m so glad I found your blog !!

  • Reply 28 Things Every Bookworm Should Have in Their Dream Home November 3, 2014 at 2:00 am

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  • Reply 7 Unique DIY Headboards That You Can Make Now | Darby Smart Blog! December 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

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  • Reply 21 Unusual & Creative Diy Headboard Ideas and Tutorials January 7, 2015 at 11:37 am

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  • Reply 8 Unique DIY Home Decor Ideas For Book Lovers March 17, 2015 at 11:59 am

    […] Don’t even think about donating those beautiful hardcovers to Good Will. Instead, try this awesome DIY headboard! All the instructions you need to make it happen are right here. […]

  • Reply James @ Electrical Certificate March 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Really Nice headboard, very creative but must have been time consuming. My problem here would be is that I would start reading a page then want to turn to the next one haha
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  • Reply 10 DIY Home Décor Projects - DIY - All in One April 5, 2015 at 12:23 pm

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  • Reply Lilly June 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I just made one for my room! Thank you for the idea!

    • Reply Kassandra June 5, 2015 at 9:37 am

      thats so awesome to hear… I would love to see a photo :D

  • Reply Kathryn June 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Hi, Kassadra!
    Love the headboard! In the process of gathering books so I can try this out. Do you remember how thick the wood panels were that you created the base out of? The pictures makes me think it’s about 1/2 inch to 1 inch, but I can’t tell for sure. Thanks for any insight on this, and thank you for the great inspiration!

    • Reply Kassandra June 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Hey Kathryn,

      So excited to hear that your going to make your own, I would LOVE to see photos when its done. I’m sorry I can’t remember how thick the panels were… but when your at the hardware store it should be pretty easy to tell, they need to be rigid enough to stand up and hold the weight of the books without flopping anywhere.

  • Reply 20+ DIY Headboard Projects The Craftiest Couple June 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

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  • Reply 10 Great Ways Book Lovers Can Creatively Reuse Their Old Books | Thought Catalog June 23, 2015 at 9:14 am

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  • Reply Cabeceros de cama con mucha vida - Pintar Sin Parar June 24, 2015 at 1:17 am

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  • Reply Randolph Hoover June 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I agree with Laura how the books could get bugs when time goes by, it is aesthetically pretty and very feasible and it could go pretty well in a short time. I suggest topcoating them that might work haha
    Randolph Hoover recently posted…EVERGOODS UPH. SUPPLY PHILS. INC.My Profile

  • Reply Decorate Your Bedroom with These 25 DIY Headboards - Noted List June 28, 2015 at 2:44 am

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  • Reply [Dear Book Dr.] How to Organize Your Bookshelves - the book dr. July 24, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    […] regularly? Stack them up and use them as the base for a coffee table or an end table. Make a cool headboard out of books. I almost always have stacks on my dresser in my bedroom- we have another on the blanket chest in […]

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