How to Upcycle and Reuse Old Books to Make Beautiful Bookmarks

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Have you ever wondered what to do with your old, well-loved books that are falling apart?  Instead of tossing them into a trash bin and sending them to a landfill, upcycle and reuse them into something useful.  In today's guest post, veteran librarian and homeschooling mom Shecki Bernard shares with us one way to upcycle and reuse old books to create beautiful bookmarks for your students and children to use.  Keep reading to learn more!

Don't throw your old books away. Upcycle & reuse them to make new bookmarks with your students. All you need are some watercolor paints & old books.

This is a guest post by Shecki Bernard. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page. Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post. 

Guest Post by Shecki Bernard

I run a new library at a small country school. My students go through tons of bookmarks, so I've taken to making them out of old book pages. They’re easy and fun to make. I’ve done this with a couple of classes so far, and they always turn out beautifully.

Watercolor Bookmarks

To make these bookmarks you will need:

Pages of an old book painted with watercolors


  1. Cover your tables ahead of time with newspapers.
  2. Set up your tables with the paint.  One table with red, orange, and yellow paint.  The other with blue, green, and purple paint.
  3. Carefully remove several pages from an old discarded book.
  4. Talk with your students about warm colors (red, orange, yellow) and cool colors (green, blue, purple).
  5. Emphasize that less paint is better.  Mixing too many colors will make brown.
  6. Give your students some paintbrushes, pipettes, and watercolors to paint on the pages.
  7. Place each page on a half-size paper towel to dry.  
  8. Use your Cricut or scissors to cut the bookmarks out.

Bookmarks laying out to dry

I get two bookmarks from each page. After cutting them out, I laminate them because these bookmarks can be a bit fragile.  

Also, don't throw out the paper towels.  Once the towels dry out, they will be beautiful.  They can be used later on for other crafts.

Watercolored bookmarks made from upcycled books

Shecki Bernard is a mom of nine children, and a 20-year veteran homeschooler. She's currently using that experience to teach library skills to students in preschool through high school.  You can learn more about Shecki and her experiences with homeschooling by visiting her website Greatly Blessed.

Did you enjoy this post about reusing old books to make bookmarks? If so, check out these posts for more recycling and crafting ideas:

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