A Crafty Mix


A Broken “Something” Becomes a Bookish Side Table

A few weeks ago we found this very sad little, broken something at a thrift store.  I’m not really sure what it was, but it desperately needed 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 broken something you can always use books to create a beautiful bookish side table. How to on the blog

The Badly Damaged and Broken 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. So I finally went back to the thrift shop and brought her home and turned her into this unique side table 😉

If you don't have the legs for a broken something you can always use books instead #repurposedbooks #DIYHomeDecor #SideTable #DIYTutorial

She needed a little work before her transformation was complete though.

Getting The “Something” Ready for her Transformation

The first thing we did was try and get rid of the watermarks by lightly sanding the entire surface. Most of the varnish had long since worn away, so we used 60 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the rings, before moving to 120-grit to smooth things out. Fortunately, the stains weren’t as deep as I originally thought. If your stains are deeper and sanding doesn’t work, try wiping the rings with a solution of mild detergent and water.

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 that strip of wood off at the back of the “something”. Someone had probably put it there to stop the drawer from sliding too far in.

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

Fixing the Structure

There were so many things wrong with the “something” but I knew she still had a heart of gold in there somewhere and her bones were still good. She got new back and bottom that we cut from a pegboard. It was all we had.

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 glued and screwed on before we applied a gorgeous wood stain all over 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 🙁

Giving the Broken “Something” a Leg Up

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?

I am part of everything I have read. Theodore RooseveltClick to Tweet

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 “broken 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 an old book spine and resized it to fit on the drawer. The picture was mod podged on and then we reattached the hardware using a knife. Sorry, sometimes I’m just too 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 that broken “something” can stand proudly on her new leg 😀

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

A bookish little side table

Our bookish side table and the luggage makeover we gave our dresser are probably two of my favorite makeovers ever.

If you don't have the legs for a broken something you can always use books instead #bookish #repurposedbooks #DIYHomeDecor #SideTable #DIYTutorial

But I would love to know what you think? Is it something you would add to your decor?

If you don't have the legs for a broken something you can always use books instead #bookish #repurposedbooks #DIYHomeDecor #SideTable #DIYTutorial

If you like the idea don’t forget to pin the bookish side table for later.

If you don't have the legs for a broken something you can always use books instead #bookish #repurposedbooks #DIYHomeDecor #SideTable #DIYTutorial

Have you re-purposed books to make something and do you also feel bad when you hurt them?

Oh and if you’re looking for a few more unusual side table ideas, I’ve got you covered Disclosure: If you click on the links below, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and crafts ideas for you;-)


Signature Design by Ashley Tamonie Chair Side End Table Medium Brown
Stone & Beam Miramar Elm Wood Cutout Side End Table, 19.7'D, Natural
Sale Signature Design by Ashley Tamonie Chair Side End Table Medium Brown

Sending blessings and love as always

Made with love by a Crafty Mix




Categories:   Craft Tutorials, DIY Tutorials, Furniture Hacks, Home Decor Crafts, Trash to Treasure


  • Posted: March 15, 2020 23:55


    You did a fantastic job on this old something! It’s lovely. I have a very difficult time even thinking about doing projects with old books—anything other than reading them. But it’s such a nice makeover that I can’t imagine the books minding!
    • Posted: March 16, 2020 10:43


      I feel the same way about books Stephanie. I literally cringed making the hole through all of those Reader's Digest's and had to think long and hard about using them to make the leg for the broken something ❣
  • Posted: April 16, 2019 14:58

    Carol cole

    I like it, it looks very nice, but I would never ruin good books.
    • Posted: April 17, 2019 04:35


      I must admit Carol I cringed a little lot drilling through those old Reader's Digests. We still come from a generation where books are sacred.
  • Posted: January 30, 2019 06:12


    LOVE what you did. The repurposing of the books and pix of old book for front of drawer WOW! Very inspiring!
    • Posted: January 30, 2019 06:27


      Thank you so much Jody, so happy you like the bookish side table
  • Posted: October 3, 2018 16:57


    I LOOOOOOOVE it! I do feel bad when I repurpose books but at the same time it's super cool! I try to keep the super old ones in tact and use them as unaltered decor (stacked hugged with twine. . .) But the younger than 70 y.o.s I'm fine with makin' crafty. Your project is sooo cute and it actually seems an homage to books rather than anything to be worried over. 🙂
    • Posted: October 3, 2018 17:46


      Awwwww Renee, thank you for that. Books are so precious and I literally cringed when I was putting this one together 😍
  • Posted: May 27, 2018 05:34


    Love the drawer, where did you find the picture of a book spine? Love the entire project! Well done! I am a book lover also, and it saddens my heart with the technology today. Nothing like holding a book in your hands. I can spend all day in a dusty old bookstore!
    • Posted: May 28, 2018 08:24


      Thanks so much Connie. Technology will never be able to replace that beautiful smell of old book pages or even the feel of turning a page. WRT your question about the picture, I honestly don't remember. It was a stock photo from either EveryStockPhoto (https://www.everystockphoto.com) or possibly WikiMedia (https://commons.wikimedia.org). Those are the two I use most often if I'm looking for a photo. Sorry about that.
      • Posted: January 29, 2019 22:29


        Thanks so much for the info!
  • Posted: May 25, 2018 14:03

    Cornelia Dworschak

    Wunderbar, was du geschaffen hast. Ich werde das kopieren. Vielen Dank. LG Conny
    • Posted: May 28, 2018 10:40


      Bitte schön Cornelia, viel spaß, gehs gut
  • 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: June 9, 2019 15:26


      Thank you so much, Linda I really appreciate it 😍
  • Posted: November 21, 2016 16:17

    [email protected]

    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". :-)
    • Posted: June 9, 2019 15:28


      Thank you Ana. Reader's Digest covers were such a great match for the color scheme we have going in our lounge. So it was a win-win all round

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