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Turn Old Books into a Knife Block

A few weeks ago Kimm from Reinvented posted a picture on Pinterest of a knife block made from a few books and I fell in love. It was so gorgeous and unique and I had to make one for our kitchen. Just gluing the books together didn’t work to well for us though. I found that some of our knives tore the pages. Probably because I use those knives as screw drivers when I’m to lazy to fetch the real thing 😎 Cleaning the knife block was also a bit of a problem. Those sharp knife points keep popping out the bottom and stabbing me. Long story short we had to make some changes to accommodate our bent, all purpose knives. If you’re keen to make one here’s how we did it using old damaged books, skewers and plywood.

Old books, skewers and plywood

Old books, skewers and plywood

We decided to use bamboo skewers because I’d read somewhere that they help keep the knives sharp and I do have a tendency to use them for some weird things so I’m hoping it works. We carefully removed the pages from the books using a craft knife. I have a HUGE respect for books so I’m saving the pages for another project. Just cutting the covers off made me cringe – does that happen to you too?

Carefully remove the pages using a craft knife

Carefully remove the pages

Using the pages from the books we drew a template of the bottom and sides of the book pages on the plywood.

Use the pages as a template for the knife block

Use the pages as a template

We cut the plywood using a craft knife and gave the plywood bits three coats of outdoor Mod Podge to seal them and keep any moisture out. We also applied Mod Podge to the outside of the books to make it easier to clean.

Seal with outdoor mod podge

Seal with outdoor Mod Podge

Once the Mod Podge had dried, we glued the shorter plywood piece on the bottom, inside cover of the book and the longer piece to the side of the book to form a box.

Attach the plywood and clamp down

Attach the plywood and clamp down

We let the glue dry overnight just in case and then filled the “book boxes” with skewers. Lots and lots of skewers. I think we used about 750 in total for all four books.

Fill the book box with skewers

Fill the book box with skewers

We marked where the skewers needed to be cut for each book and then cut them using scissors or whatever sharp cutting implement we could find.

Cut the skewers to size

Cut the skewers to size

WARNING!!!! The skewers bits fly all over the place. Mind your eyes and be prepared to play pick up sticks for days to come. We cut the skewers separately for each book, so we didn’t end up with shorter and longer pieces all muddled up. After you have a blister the size of Africa on your thumb, glue the books together, insert the skewers into the books, tie a bit of raffia around them and add the knives.

Old books, skewers and plywood make a awesome knife block - full tutorial

Just insert the knives

Sooooo pretty.

Old books, skewers and plywood make a awesome knife block - full tutorial

Old books and skewer knife block

Old books, skewers and plywood make a awesome knife block - full tutorial

Old books knife block

I’m really happy with how it turned out. What do you think? Does it work for you?

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

 

Categories:   DIY Crafty Tutorials, Hacks & Revamps, Home Decor Crafts

Comments

  • Posted: November 1, 2016 16:49

    Karen Selberg-Lavelle

    Knife storage tip. Insert the knives with the cutting side away from you. This doesn't put as much pressure on that side of the blade when sliding it into the knife holder . That keeps the blade from dulling. Keep a Hone (looks like a tapered metal stick with a handle. You have seen them around) close to your knives as a reminder to use it after every so many cuts to keep the blade edge straight. It becomes ever so slightly curled after so many chops or slicing's. That makes for a more difficult cut or chop. This knife block is such a wonderful looking block. Check out local used book stores or thrift stores for cook books.
    • Posted: November 1, 2016 17:09

      acraftymix

      You beautiful woman Karen, wow, thank you. Those are awesome tips. Thank you <3
  • Posted: October 30, 2016 19:43

    Isabella

    Firstly- The creativity is prepossessing. Secondly-Its a great way to have something look really professional but at such cheap cost (That's a good thing) Lastly-What a fun way to DIY an old book into something to fashionable
    • Posted: October 31, 2016 04:07

      acraftymix

      Wow Isabella, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I really appreciate it
  • Posted: October 30, 2016 18:28

    Carol Brewster

    Absolutely love this idea!!! To keep the wooden skewer bits from flying all over the place cut them in a clear plastic bag. The bits stay in the bag and you can see what you're doing.
    • Posted: October 31, 2016 04:08

      acraftymix

      Stunning tip Carol, thank you. I must remember that for next time. We picked up skewer bits for days afterwards ;-)
  • Posted: October 30, 2016 13:41

    Anonymous

    I have a knife holder with plastic rods in it and love it. However, your idea takes it to another level. The book idea is wonderful. What a clever creative job.
    • Posted: October 31, 2016 04:09

      acraftymix

      So glad you like it :D
  • Posted: October 30, 2016 11:27

    Rachel Offley

    I just used the old books - was much easier and looks great!
    • Posted: October 31, 2016 04:09

      acraftymix

      ;-)
  • Posted: October 30, 2016 09:42

    Michael

    Well done . Just a thought that would make cutting the skewers easier is to either tie into a bundle with cable ties or wrap in cling wrap and cut all together especially if you have access to a band saw
    • Posted: October 31, 2016 11:39

      acraftymix

      Yay, another brilliant tip. Thank you Micheal, that definitely works for me. That's what we'll do next time ;-)
  • Posted: August 21, 2016 17:48

    Carol

    Great idea! I collect old cookbooks. Several of them are pretty damaged. Plan to use your idea. Did you glue the bottom of the skewers into the wood box? I was wondering why the skewers wouldn't come out each time you pull out a knife.
    • Posted: August 22, 2016 08:42

      acraftymix

      Awesome Carol, glad you like it. We didn't glue the skewers in, I wanted to make sure I could take them out to clean the knife block and they stay in even though some of our knives are a bit damaged. Let me know how yours works out, I'd love to see a pic if you wouldn't mind sharing.
  • Posted: August 19, 2016 22:46

    Erin - Suburban Simplicity

    What a cool way to store knives! I love how rustic it is!! Clever!
    • Posted: August 20, 2016 06:33

      acraftymix

      Thank you Erin <3
  • Posted: August 10, 2016 15:52

    How to make a recycled book knife block – Recycled Crafts

    […] If you like the look of vintage books and are looking for interesting way to encorporate them into your home in useful and decorative ways this knife block could be for you.  Pop on over to the link Michelle sent in to her blog A Crafty Mix for the step by step tutorial on how to make a recycled vintage book knife block. […]
    • Posted: August 10, 2016 17:20

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Craft Gossip for the feature :-)
  • Posted: July 29, 2016 19:48

    Michelle - Happy Heart™

    Another brilliant idea!!!
    • Posted: August 1, 2016 07:27

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Michelle :D
  • Posted: July 25, 2016 23:08

    Michele Johnson

    Since the knife "book" block is kept on the kitchen counter, why not use old cookbooks to complete the theme?
    • Posted: July 26, 2016 08:42

      acraftymix

      I agree, I would have loved to find some damaged old cook books but there weren't any and I could bear to destroy a good book ;-)
  • Posted: July 25, 2016 10:11

    Katrin

    This is so so clever, I would have never ever thought of this, love it!!! It looks fabulous and is so unique!
    • Posted: July 25, 2016 12:23

      acraftymix

      Thank you Katrin, I'm really glad how it turned out
  • Posted: July 23, 2016 10:48

    Hannah | Eat, Drink, and Save Money

    This is so cool! I like it better with skewers than pages anyway. So smart!
    • Posted: July 24, 2016 08:51

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Hannah :-)
  • Posted: July 22, 2016 23:45

    Millie

    wow pretty neat! love the look and for sure will have to give this a try. I need a knife block and this would be pretty neat way to have one!
    • Posted: July 24, 2016 08:51

      acraftymix

      Thanks Millie, really appreciate it
  • Posted: July 22, 2016 19:46

    Debrashoppeno5

    This is the coolest craft. Although I am like you and cringe over the thought of destroying a book.
    • Posted: July 24, 2016 08:54

      acraftymix

      I know, it feels like I'm stabbing a legacy. I'm the same way about magazines. Thanks for coming to say Hi
  • Posted: July 22, 2016 18:49

    Mary-the boondocks blog

    Michelle you are a genius. When I first saw this I thought you had stuck the knives in the book. and I thought that will not work. But you are smarter than me. This is brilliant and it looks so cool! Pinning.
    • Posted: July 22, 2016 19:33

      acraftymix

      Wow, thank you Mary. I tried it with just the pages after I saw the pin, but it didn't work like I thought it would. Like they say in Afrikaans "'n Boer maak 'n plan" ;-)
  • Posted: July 20, 2016 23:52

    Jill

    This is super adorable!!! I just might have to make one of these!
    • Posted: July 21, 2016 07:15

      acraftymix

      Yay!!! And it's soooo easy :-)
  • Posted: July 20, 2016 15:23

    Keri

    Michelle, this knife block is amazing!!! Love the book covers!! I'm glad the skewers help with keeping knives sharpened and they look so cool too! Another awesome project!!! :)
    • Posted: July 21, 2016 07:15

      acraftymix

      Aaaaw thank you Keri
  • Posted: July 20, 2016 13:50

    Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    This is so creative and I love the way it turned out! You did a beautiful job!
    • Posted: July 21, 2016 07:16

      acraftymix

      Thank you Lisa ;-)
  • Posted: July 20, 2016 13:28

    Rachel Osborn

    That's really neat! What a unique idea!
    • Posted: July 21, 2016 07:16

      acraftymix

      Thanks so much Rachel
  • Posted: July 20, 2016 05:00

    Waldorf

    Looks amazing! Thank you so much!
    • Posted: July 20, 2016 06:55

      acraftymix

      ;-)