DIY Tutorial {recycled book wall art}

We’re slowly getting settled into our new place in Arkansas and with each decorating project I take on, the more and more our place is feeling like a home. I’m trying not to completely replicate the decorating I had in our last home so that’s challenging me to be creative. My most recent project for example, was the living room wall behind the couch. In our last place the couch was in the middle of the room so I didn’t have to worry about such an awkward space, so when I started brainstorming how I’d tackle this project I knew I wanted something a little more out of the box and unexpected. So I decided to recycle an old college book and turn the wall into a colorful and laid-back mural!

recycled book wall art - the finished product!

This is a super easy project and would even look great without the splash of color if you prefer.

To create a mural of your own, just find a book you’d rather have on the wall than on the bookshelf and start ripping pages out! I didn’t use any pages that had graphs or pictures and I skipped pages that only had one paragraph on them or were a new chapter page. Totally a personal preference though.

Please note… if you’re feeling stressed in the slightest, then I highly recommend that you take on this project. Somewhere between tearing pages out of a horrible book and crumpling them into tiny basketballs, you’re going to feel a lot like you just left a three hour meditation class… zen.

recycled book wall art - rip up that book!

Next just crumble each individual page into a ball…

recycled book wall art - crumpled pages

… and then you’re ready to make your paint concoction. I mixed Mod Podge with my paint to help give it a glossy texture and to make the paint a little more translucent – this way the words on the pages are still visible through the color. I did a test run of the paint without Mod Podge (just 3/4 cup paint + 1/8 cup water). Either way works really, just depends on whether you want a matte or glossy finish.

recycled book wall art - matte vs glossy

do you see the matte vs. glossy difference?

I also added a little water to make the consistency a little runnier – that helped with getting the color to run across all the pages in the next step. My master recipe was 1/2 cup paint + 1/4 cup Mod Podge + 1/8 cup water. Just mix it all up in a large tupperware that has a leak-proof lid.

recycled book wall art - paint recipe

Note: before beginning the next step, it’s a good idea to have a drying area ready so that you can quickly remove the book pages from your paint concoction. Leaving them in the paint for too long will over-saturate them and they’ll become hard to work with. I staged a drying area lined with newspaper and wax paper. 

Next load your crumpled pages into the tupperware (the tighter you stuff them in, the more varied your paint splotches will be so really squeeze them in!), snap the lid on, and give the whole thing a good one minute shake! – (it helps if you dance during this step). Depending on what kind of paint coverage you’re going for and how well you stuffed the book pages into the tupperware, you may want to even leave the container sitting upside-down for a minute just to let that paint drip through the layers of paper and add a little more character.

After allowing my book pages to completely dry, I sorted them into five piles based off their paint coverage. This makes things far easier to organize as you begin applying your pages to the wall.

recycled book wall art - organize by paint coverage

Now you can attach your pages to the wall! I used tiny pieces of double-sided invisible tape and just put a small piece or two on each page – this allows the pages to keep their crumpled look. As you progress up the wall, slowly incorporate paint-free pages and finally pages that haven’t been crumpled.


recycled book wall art - the final product!


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