A Crafty Mix


A Broken Something Becomes a Bookish Side Table

A few weeks ago we found this very sad little something at a thrift store.  I’m not really sure what it was but it was in need of some serious TLC. The bottom was missing, there were watermarks everywhere and the wood was screaming for some attention.

If you don't have the legs for a table you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Badly Damaged Something

When I first saw the “something” I kinda just stroked her lightly and then moved on because I had no idea what I could do with her. But this forlorn little beauty haunted me for a week, until I finally went back to the thrift shop and brought her home with me.  The first thing we did was try and get rid of the watermarks by lightly sanding the entire surface. We started off using a low-grit sandpaper and gradually moved up to a slightly higher grit. Fortunately the stains weren’t as deep as I originally thought.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Getting rid of the watermarks

While I was sanding, Hubby removed the hardware from the drawer and took the strip of wood off at the back of the “something”.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Removing the hardware and back

We created a new back and bottom for the “something” using some pegboard, which was all that we had. We just measured the back and bottom and used a craft knife to score the pegboard.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Making the back

The back and bottom were stuck on with wood glue and then we applied a gorgeous wood stain to the little “something”.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

After some much needed TLC

Now we were stuck. She looked pretty impressive with her new coat of stain and she finally had a back and a bottom, but she didn’t have a leg to stand on and no-one was going to take her seriously . She was just too short. Between the Hubby and I we can handle most power tools. Unfortunately we’ve never quite figured out how a lathe works, so we couldn’t give her the legs she deserved. I searched high a low in all the thrift stores in our area and body-less legs were nowhere to be found. Nothing, nada, niks 🙁

The only thing we did have was a ton of books. Well not quite a ton more like a huge box full of Reader’s Digest that had been read and moved to the garage to make space for other books and our kindles. They could work.

I hate damaging any kind of book. It really freaks me out. It feels like I’m destroying someone’s life work. Are you like that too? Initially we tried using double sided tape to stick the books together but it didn’t work. The whole structure was too unstable. So we had to resort to drilling through the books. I checked you can still read them, there are just a few words missing on each page. We stacked all the books on a piece of wood that was as wide as the “something” and then pushed a thread bar through the holes we’d drilled.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Making the leg

To secure the “something” to her new bookish legs we measured the center point at the bottom of the “something” and drilled a hole big enough for the thread bar. The thread bar was secured on the inside of the “something” with a nut.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Making a hole in the bottom of the “something”

We found a picture of a old book spine and resized it to fit on the drawer. The picture was Modged on and then we reattached the hardware using a knife. Sorry sometime I’m just to lazy to go get the proper tool for the job 🙂 That’s probably why our knives look like they do. 

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Changing the drawer

Now she can stand proud.

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

A bookish little side table

If you don't have the legs for something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

Pin me!!! Pin me!!!

I’d love to hear what you think about our bookish transformation. Have you re-purposed books to make something and do you also feel bad when you hurt them?

Sending blessings and love as always

Made with love by a Crafty Mix




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


  • Posted: May 30, 2017 15:21


    Beautiful idea! As an educator, I really like it!
    • Posted: May 31, 2017 11:30


      Oh that's great Cynthia, thanks so much
  • Posted: May 30, 2017 07:43

    Holly Nielson

    Beautiful and clever way to use old books, I also cry when a book is damaged, but this is giving them a new purpose better than sitting in a box collecting dust and maybe getting damaged, I would love to try this myself, I have a box of old encyclopedias just crying out for a new life, thanks for sharing!
    • Posted: May 30, 2017 10:40


      I hear you Holly. I wonder sometimes if our grand children will love and respect books as much as what we do. I hope so. Thank you so much for your lovely comment too, I really appreciate it
  • Posted: May 29, 2017 21:53


    So cute, now I know what to do with the encyclopedias I have sitting in boxes.
    • Posted: May 30, 2017 05:23


      Oh yes, encyclopedias would work beautifully
  • Posted: May 29, 2017 18:49


    Beautiful! But just so you know, your "something" is a stationary organizer for pens, paper, envelopes etc. to be placed on a desk or table. However, I truly hope you continue to call it your little "something"!
    • Posted: May 30, 2017 05:22


      Thanks so much Susan, that's really great to know ;-) Strangely enough, I actually use our little "something" to store all my drawing pens and pencils
  • Posted: May 29, 2017 16:20


    I especially like the drawer. I have seen books in the dumpster that have deteriorated and can no longer even be read. I would feel quite good about using them for a project like this.
    • Posted: May 29, 2017 16:27


      It makes my heart sad when a book gets hurt. It just feels so wrong somehow. Thank you so much Diane, I'm glad you like the bookish side table
    • Posted: May 29, 2017 23:00


      depending on what deteriorated them... if they were moldy or buggy I don't think I'd use them
  • Posted: May 29, 2017 16:04


    I am so jealous of people who have such vision:). It is gorgeous and so creative! THANK YOU! FOR SHARING!
    • Posted: May 29, 2017 16:07


      :D :D :D Thank you Karen, I'm so glad you like it
  • Posted: May 3, 2017 12:34


    Wow, you turned the "something " into a work of art! I love it Michelle! I'm with you on destroying books...can't bring myself to do it either. I even like it with the legs or whatever they are sticking up. The book legs give it a lot of character.
    • Posted: May 3, 2017 12:50


      Thank you so much Florence. I still feel guilty about those books though. I think we're old school and books were something to treasure for a lifetime.
  • Posted: May 3, 2017 11:04


    Your something is perfect now! I would feel guilty drilling into the books too, but they are probably much happier now than in a box in the garage. :) This is a really cool project! ~Courtney
    • Posted: May 3, 2017 11:56


      Oh I hope so Courtney. It felt so wrong hurting them like that. Thanks for your lovely comment
  • Posted: March 18, 2017 19:52


    I usually cringe when I see books destroyed for "something cute" - and trust me, these books will never be read again, but..... considering that one finds these Reader's Digest collections EVERYwhere - and it IS a beautiful little side-table, I'll forgive this one :-) I love it!!
    • Posted: March 19, 2017 07:19


      Thank you so much Jeannie and I'm with you on the cringe factor. I really don't enjoy hurting book, it seems so wrong and disrespectful
  • Posted: March 15, 2017 01:25


    Wow I love this! I enjoy recycling old furniture too and the way you used the books really impressed me - I love everything about it!
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 06:55


      Thank you so much Jan for your lovely comment. I'm so glad you came to say Hi
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 23:52

    Jeanett Hammond

    That has got to be the cutest, most amazing little something I've ever seen. I usually don't comment on these...but WOW!
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 06:50


      Thank you so very much Jeanett, I really appreciate your comment so much. Thank you
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 21:48


    Can the books be adjusted once put together? I would prefer all spines facing forward or maybe just 1 or 2 page side facing forward. Great idea.
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 06:57


      Hey there Donna, yes the books can most certainly be adjusted to face whichever way you want them too.
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 17:57

    Karolyn Love

    Genius! I absolutely love the little "something" and the facelift you gave her! The use of the books is a great idea...... so, so cute and I love one of a kind diy's!!
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 06:59


      Thank you so very much Karolyn, I'm really glad you like our little "something"
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 16:43


    I missed the step of how you attached the table top to the stack of books??? It is so cute and I want to know how to recreate it.
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 08:30


      Thank you so much for pointing that out Jan. You're right I never explained that step. I've added another picture to the original post and a brief description. In essence, to secure the "something" to the bookish legs we measured the center point at the bottom of the "something" and drilled a hole big enough to fit the thread bar. The thread bar was then secured on the inside of the "something" with a nut, which we tightened as much as possible. I hope that helps, but shout anytime if it's still unclear
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 15:44


    Re-purposing books....giving them a new job. Brilliant! Quirky & adorable little table is quite a conversation piece. I'm very impressed & inspired to see the flea market treasures with new eyes. Thanx for the share.
    • Posted: March 15, 2017 08:31


      Thank you very much Bonnie for your lovely words Bonnie, I really appreciate it
  • Posted: March 14, 2017 14:50


    Looks fun and unique, thanks for sharing
    • Posted: March 14, 2017 15:03


      Thank you Sirkku
  • Posted: December 1, 2016 09:41

    Sarah - Craft Invaders

    I adore this, really clever the way you stabilised the books although I agree it always feels wrong damaging books but worth it to make such a stunning piece!
    • Posted: December 1, 2016 10:41


      Thanks Sarah, the books got me back though. I have never in my life struggled so much to drill through something. Probably serves me right for hurting them a little bit ;-)
  • Posted: November 27, 2016 09:27


    • Posted: November 27, 2016 14:00


      Thank you Marcia <3
  • Posted: November 27, 2016 03:55


    Very original. Bravo Q
    • Posted: November 27, 2016 07:38


      Thank you so much Susie
  • Posted: November 26, 2016 23:24


    I have a little something that might benefit from this design! Can't wait to try it:)
    • Posted: November 27, 2016 07:39


      That's great Karen, I love to see how it turns out :-)
  • Posted: November 26, 2016 16:43

    Deb Knaff

    Readers Digest would be proud to see their wonderful books used again in a way that can be cherished for a very long time.
    • Posted: November 27, 2016 07:44


      Awwww Deb thank you so much. I really hope so, I hate hurting books and Reader's Digest left such a beautiful legacy for all of us.
  • Posted: November 22, 2016 17:23


    I really really love this! I am going to head to the nearest thrift store in search of a something!!!
    • Posted: November 23, 2016 06:16


      Oh I so glad you like them Dara. Hope you find a legless something ;-)
  • Posted: November 22, 2016 16:32

    Sarah Althouse

    Michelle those book legs are everything! I dont know how you came up with that but it's awesome
    • Posted: November 23, 2016 06:15


      LOL Sarah, I think if we knew how to use a lathe I wouldn't have even thought about using books.
  • Posted: November 22, 2016 04:09


    Michelle, it's too bad you don't know what the something is, but then again all that matters is that you've rescued her and made her incredible!! Wow!! You and your husband are a talented team! I love the books as legs and I really like how you've turned them so they all face a different angle. This is such a wonderful piece now, bravo!!!!
    • Posted: November 22, 2016 08:14


      Thank you so much Keri. I'm really glad I went back for her. She's one of my all time favorite pieces now.
  • Posted: November 22, 2016 00:19

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    This is sooooo cool! Not only cool it's brilliant! I think the books make the perfect leg for your "something". I bet you have the only side table with a bookish leg. I like how the books turn as they go up instead of just stacked up evenly. Love it!!! Awesome transformation!
    • Posted: November 22, 2016 09:17


      Thank you Linda. I'm so happy with how she turned out ;-)
  • Posted: November 21, 2016 21:50

    Mary-the boondocks blog

    Wow Michelle. That little something is such an impressive transformation. I can guarantee that no one else has a side table like this one. You did good with the books in my opinion. At least you are using them in some way instead of having them just sitting in a corner. I also love books and try to use them as much as possible in my decor when I am no longer reading them.
    • Posted: November 22, 2016 09:18


      You're right Mary, at least the books will appreciated instead of getting all moldy in the garage
  • Posted: November 21, 2016 20:29


    What a unique idea Michelle! The transformation of the little something is really stunning and those books make her look like one of a kind! You always come up with such amazing ideas!
    • Posted: November 22, 2016 09:19


      Thank you Katrin, one of a kind is always better :D
  • Posted: November 21, 2016 18:43

    Linda Primmer

    Amazing piece and so creative. love how you think. This is such an interesting look. True re-purposing. thank you for sharing at DI&DI.
  • Posted: November 21, 2016 16:17


    This is such a clever idea and an amazing project! You are truly talented! I love the color combination and the way you repurposed the old "something". :-)