I am so excited to share this oh, so easy DIY with you today! It can really change your decor. All it takes is a little paint and magic happens! Painting books takes no time at all and the results are amazing!   Just think of all the great colors you can use to create accents for your home! And here’s the best part… you can still read the books! So grab a paintbrush and let’s begin!

PAINTED BOOKS DIY- An easy way to change the color of book to work with your decor!

I use Amy Howard’s ONE STEP PAINT. You can get this chalk-type paint at your local Ace Hardware store. I used a really gorgeous creamy soft, off white called Bauhaus Buff. You can see the AH color chart HERE.

I really liked mixing the white painted books with burlap covered book to compliment my decor.


PAINTED BOOKS DIY- An easy way to change the color of book to work with your decor!


  • hard covered books
  • Amy Howard ONE STEP PAINT (from Ace Hardware)
  • paint brush (I use a chip brush)
  • Amy Howard Clear Wax (from Ace Hardware)
  • paint brush for wax (I use a chip brush)
  • soft, white cloth

PAINTED BOOKS DIY- An easy way to change the color of book to work with your decor!

  1. Choose hard covered books. I save the book jackets in case I ever want to put the book back in them. I am not changing the integrity of the book  so I can still read it.
  2.  Open the books with the spine up. Try to open them with about the same amount of pages on each side.
  3.  Paint two coats of Amy Howard One Step paint on each book cover, including the edges. Let the paint dry completely between coats.
  4.  When each coat dries, rub a piece of a paper bag over the book to knock down any little bumps.

The painted book can be considered done at this point but you might want to put a coat of Amy Howard Clear Wax on it. Giving your books a coat of wax makes them feel amazing and they will wear much better. Spills will wipe right off.

Your book is actually a chalkboard at this point… who knew! You can prime it with chalk and write on it. Wouldn’t a bunch of pretty colored books with chalk numbers on their spines look great in your decor? Once wax is applied to the book  it will lose it’s chalkboard properties. You can wax the cover and back and leave the spine without wax. 

PAINTED BOOKS DIY- An easy way to change the color of book to work with your decor!

4. After the two coats of  paint have completely dried put a light coat of clear wax on the book cover. Wait for it to come to tack (about 30 minutes) and buff it with a clean, soft white cloth. You will have a dull sheen! So pretty!

5. Use them to decorate!

Here is a very helpful and informative video. Amy Howard shares lots of tips about painting with One Step.


Here’s another video with Amy showing how to use waxes. She is using a light antique wax and a dark wax but the technique is the same. You can also use these beautiful waxes on painted books to give them an antiqued look. 


Just think of all the colors you can paint books. Tape them off to make checks, stripes, chevrons etc! You are only limited by your imagination! 

PAINTED BOOKS DIY- An easy way to change the color of book to work with your decor!

Now find some books, grab a paintbrush and get started! What color will you paint your books?

Here’s another way to embellish a book… HOW TO COVER A BOOK WITH BURLAP

Burlap Covered Book-stonegableblog



5 DESIGNER WAYS TO DECORATE WITH BOOKS-Budget friendly ways to amp up your decor with




You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see what I’m finding to pin every day HERE.



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  1. Yvonne, this was a wonderful DIY tip. Looks so easy. Can’t wait to try it. I appreciate the added bonus of the videos. Sometimes it helps to have a visual.

  2. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Thanks for an awesome tip! You always come up with great advice!???

  3. I too love the videos. I’m a visual person and can understand a process better when I see it being done. Love Amy Howard. I decorate with books and this adds another dimension to using them. As always thanks for the inspiration. ??

  4. Love this idea! I collect all kinds of quotations and I’m thinking stack the painted books on a shelf with a favorite quote written on the spines.

  5. Marilyn Soto says:

    That’s a great idea Cindy! Love the quote idea -what a cute idea this could be for a baby’s room, painting each with a different color or even an ombre technique and placing a sweet little quote on the spines.

    Once again Yvonne you’ve got my creative juices flowing!

  6. Karen VanLoo says:

    Ooh I love this idea! I definitely want to try this. Thank you!

  7. Good morning Yvonne, another day in (Blogland) paradise ! Thank you for this wonderful tutorial ! I love it …and special thanks to Cindy for her suggestion regarding embellishing the spine with quotes…. I appreciate your tireless efforts Yvonne….your blog is terrific ! Happy Day ! ……..Smiles

  8. I painted some book 3 or 4 year ago and just used craft paint. if you just use craft paint I have found out that the books stick together.

  9. Thank you for compiling all your book covering ideas together! I needed a reminder to cover some books with burlap and now will paint some, too! I love your style!

  10. Deb Gregory says:

    What an neat idea! Maybe not just for books. I have some decor pieces that my grandchildren gave me years ago that I couldn’t use in my decorating now because of the colors of the pieces, but I could use this painting technique on them & be able to use them again. Thank you for this idea!!!

    1. Hi Deb: I try paint on everything!! I start with cheap craft paint (to save money) & only use chalk paint if the craft paint doesn’t do the job. I was given an old ugly ceiling fan that had lots of brass trim. However, since it was being installed on the ceiling with no one really handling it, I covered the brass areas with craft paint. At first, the coverage was poor – as I expected – but after the second coat, it was fine. It’s still on my ceiling and still has no brass showing through … after 12 years!! I had a glass-top coffee table with the verdigris (aged green color) iron base that was all the rage in the 80’s. I bought 2 bottles of craft paint – 1 black/1 brown as I didn’t want dark black and the brown was too light. I stirred them together in an old foil plate then painted the iron base – it has now been brought right up to date. Lots of times, you don’t have to buy the more costly chalk paint!

      1. Deb Gregory says:

        Hi Elaine! Thank you very much for that valuable info. I will try the craft paint first as I have plenty of it. Sounds like your projects came out great. I might even try to tackle my ceiling fan. I’m so glad you shared that with me! Thanks again!

  11. Linda Schmidt says:

    I m going to Act to get the paint and do this on tnis very humid day outside

  12. Shelley Anderson says:

    Your painted books look awesome! I have always decorated with books and I will be painting some old books I picked up at the Salvation Army to paint. I may not leave a reply often, but I always open your email every morning and always love anything you post. Thanks once again for your ideas/pictures & tutorials!

    1. Gail Shafer says:

      Shelley, I was at the Salvation Army today and they always have a cart of books for up to 5 free! Love it!

  13. That is so simple and I would have never thought of it. Thanks!

  14. Sherry Pelle says:

    I’m excited to try this! I want to try adding a rustic or industrial looking stud on each end of the spine. I also think a page marker ribbon would look great peeking out from the bottom of a book would give it a little blingy bling! Oh my, the juices are flowing Yvonne!!

  15. I have never been able to bring myself to rip the covers off books. However, I think I could paint some old books. I use a lot of books in decorating and I usually leave them just the way they are, but this is a good idea. The titles could still be printed to fit on the spines. Thanks again.

  16. I use to cover books with old wallpaper. Imagine using a flocked paper covered book! I specifically remember using a wallpaper that was flocked with a red flower pattern having a white background!

  17. Teresa Cabebe says:

    I’ve found your blog very useful! We’re in the process of selling our home and plan to move into a smaller one. As I read your helpful suggestions each day, I tuck them away for future use. Now I’ve lots of fresh ideas for our future home.

    Thank you! So glad I found you.

    God bless

  18. Such a great idea!! Thanks for the how to. And the embellishments idea. Or using as the cover as a chalkboard..

  19. Kymberly Starr says:

    I loved doing the burlap books and your burlap table runner. Can’t wait to paint some books!

  20. Who knew?! I’m going to try this out, for sure.

  21. Carol Anne says:

    Great idea. Love the look!

  22. I love that you gave this tutorial!! I have been wanting to do this and now I have a way to do it and up my DIY abilities!!

  23. I’ve done this for years now but saved a bit of money by using cheap craft paint as chalk paint can be expensive in Canada. When the paint is completely dry (I usually wait a day) I follow with a liquid wax and find there’s no problems with books sticking together. If a book is really old though (I’m referring to some of my Dad’s old ones from the 40’s) I wouldn’t dream of altering them as the worn hard covers with their lovely gilt lettering have a special kind of beauty.

  24. You could even find cheap hardback books at a thrift store or yard sale, if you didn’t want to paint any of your own books.

    Fun idea!

  25. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    I must try the AH paints! The idea to paint books and use them more in decorating is great. Thank you for this tutorial!

  26. Interesting idea! I love how the white books look with the burlap.

  27. GwenCondit says:

    I did paint a book once and somehow I did something wrong. Maybe getting all the edges. I did not end up waxing it. I never thought of it!! I’m curious about this new paint. Maybe it would do better than what i buy at Michaels. I love the look of your burlap and white intertwined on the shelf. It looks orderly!!! Need to watch the videos and find our Ace Hardware. Thank you for this top!!

  28. Stacy Caplinger says:

    Books and paint- two of my favorite ideas!!! You’ve jump started my day- I’m thinking of all my ugly 3 ring binders, clip boards… I’ve got to jump off here and get my paintbrush loaded. Love, love, love!!!!

  29. I prefer the books to speak for themselves. They aren’t something I want to alter to fit my decor. Having said that, the mix of the burlap and painted ones looks great. I do have some old pieces that I love but just look dated that I’d love to try her paint on to bring them up to date…or at least not stick out like a sore thumb. Thanks for the video….Very helpful.

  30. Love this idea Yvonne. I hope my local Ace carries her paint line.

  31. Danielle Wear says:

    Thanks Yvonne for the tutorial and videos on how to paint books. Just the other day you mentioned painted books in one of your blogs and I wondered if you sprayed or brushed them…now I know! I have so many old books of no monetary value and can’t wait to get started. Now I will just need to “google” the nearest Ace Hardware location!

  32. Yvonne, Thanks for the inspiration! Love the wax application and the how -to videos were a big help as well. Thank you for going to so much work to share your talents and ideas with us everyday!

  33. Great idea to paint books. I seem to paint everything, but have not painted books. I am now.

  34. Love the interesting look of the white books mixed with the burlap covered books! Thanks for the video tutorial.

  35. Yvonne, what a neat idea. You always have the easiest projects and the best results.
    Thanks for all your effort to get us the information.

  36. What a fun and quick decorating idea. Loved the videos and how easy Amy’s techniques are with her products!

  37. Fantastic tutorial. Now I know what to do with some of those books I just can’t part with. Thank you

  38. I now have a reason to drag out some of those books being stored behind closed doors. What a great idea! I love how they look on your mantle.

  39. Dorinda Selke says:

    Yvonne, what a super idea ! I would never haven’t thought of painting old books! So smart you are! Can’t wait to give it a try. Hugs, Dorinda

  40. Rita Spicer says:

    Love how you use books in your decor but didn’t have books in my decor closet. Never thought of painting books to use but I went by Goodwill today and four 6 hardbacks that I would like to read and can paint to use in my home.

  41. What a cool idea! I’ll have to give this a try on some of my books too.

  42. Pat Peele says:

    Great idea! I alter books for art journals but this would be great for decorating.

    thanks for all your great ideas.

  43. Sue Turner says:

    I love this idea, I have a bookcase full of different colored books that I’m going to paint. Thank you for sharing all your great ideas .

  44. Theresa Kleinschmidt says:

    Good afternoon Yvonne! I’m impressed how the painted books look in your decor. I’m going to try this lastested post and paint some hard cover books of my own. Again thanks for the inspiration.

  45. It would be so easy to do and they look great with the burlap wrapped ones. I will try this in my hutch! Thanks for the tip.

  46. Anne Marie says:

    Wow I love this idea – definitely on my to do list.

  47. I love books and have them in the decor all over my house, in their original form and even some that I’ve altered in craft projects. I haven’t seen this idea before – I can’t wait to try it out and I have some books in mind that I can do in the next couple of days. I have black and white chalk paint in my craft supply cupboard and I think those are perfect for what I have in mind. I admire the burlap covered books, too.

  48. Yvonne,
    I love this post and this DIY.
    As always, you make me want to go, get busy and make some cool things.
    Thanks for your great and inspiring post!

  49. I like the look of the book and thanks for the tip.

  50. Such a clever idea to enhance a room!

  51. What a clever way to enhance a room!

  52. I have wanted to try chalk paint for awhile but painting isn’t my strong suit. This would be the perfect project to try my hand at it. Thanks for the wonderful idea – as usual – where do you come up with all of them! You have such a talent! May God continue to Bless You!

  53. It looks great but I don’t think I could ever paint books

  54. Joanne B. says:

    Seriously. I think I have asked you this before- Do you EVER sleep? I doubt you do, but even if you do, I’ll bet you jump out of bed every morning with yet ANOTHER great idea! I can’t believe this one now! It’s one of those where I want to smack my forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” This is brilliant! I have been thinking about using books in my displays, but never found the right colors for my decor with the right book titles I wanted to display. Between your idea to paint the book cover and Cindy’s(above) idea to write a quote on the spine— I’m going to Goodwill tomorrow-first thing- and hunt me some books! I especially love mixing the painted ones with the neutral and textural burlap ones. Brilliant!

  55. Sarah Barr says:

    Cool idea with lots of uses! Party decorating, fall, using as risers. Thanks!

  56. I have never heard about painting books before! I love reading your blog everyday because you always have a fresh idea! Thanks for the video tutorials that you included. I think most of us are visual learners and your instructions and pictures are always spot-on and easy to follow. I also love that later you can put the cover back on the book. Thanks again for a great blog!

  57. What a great idea! Love how you displayed the books and how uniform everything looks. Also, love the burlap covered books!

  58. Mommy Dearest says:

    I think I’ll paint my dictionary! I always have a crossword puzzle in the works and will resort to the dictionary when my brain runs dry. If I paint it to work with my décor, I won’t feel as though I need to stash it away as it will become attractive and useful!

  59. My sister this for my nieces wedding reception last month. They were used on all the tables at the reception to prop flower bouquets on. The flowers used were blush roses, hydrangeas and other heirloom varieties. They were arranged in vintage and antique pottery. It was beautiful!!!

    1. Sound so beautiful Sharon. God bless the bride and groom! Thanks so much for sharing!

  60. Janet George says:

    Once again, you have us all following your lead! This idea of painting books is inexpensive and will add so much glam to a home! Of course, we are all busy painting today!

  61. This is a great idea. We have an entertainment unit that we decorate for each holiday and seasons in between. My daughter and I had a discussion about the 4th of July because we didn’t have enough decorations. She wanted to fill in with books, but we were lacking Red, White and Blue ones. Now I know how to fix it.
    I just wanted you to know that I love your blog, and I have a home decorated much like yours. I even have your Black and White Chicken dishes and Black and White Buffalo print curtains, so I knew I would love everything about your home before I even opened a second post on your blog.

  62. I had already previously covered some books with burlap following your tutorial and I do have some white chalk paint so this will be a quick weekend project for me tomorrow. I like the look of the white with the burlap.

  63. Diana Mallard says:

    Love everything about stonegableblog

  64. Diana Mallard says:

    Love everything about stonegable

  65. Donna Crook says:

    I have done this painting idea and then sometimes stencil on the covers as well. I also like to glue pieces of vintage lace to the spine. i have been decorating with tomes in my home for years, as it is so easy to move them around or use to add height for a lamp or candlestick, etc. I also use larger books stacked by my chair as an end table. Adding a flat basket to the top increases the area and gives room for coffee cups, small frames, etc.As a caterer, I use books to build up different heights on serving tables. I can go on. My home wouldn’t be complete without books.. and I am an avid reader. Love all your ideas and tablescapes.They inspire me.

  66. What a creative idea and mixing the burlap covered books with the painted books looks great. I have covered books with burlap and then added different colored burlap ribbon as accents on the books. I have used very wide burlap ribbon – 4 to 5 inches horizontally and 2 inch ribbon vertically.

  67. Darlene Odom says:

    I love your ideas and how your mind works. It makes me sorry that i gave so much away when I closed my shop. I still dream of projects all the time. LOL

  68. Donna fitzpatrick says:

    I love everything about your site! Can’t wait for the fall and holiday posts!

  69. Teresa Alexander says:

    great idea! thank you!!!

  70. I am here for the first time on your website and believe me I have never read such an article. So Love this post.

  71. Will definitely be painting books!!! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas!

  72. Lorri Rauscher says:

    Ever so cool..This a DIY I am going to do.?Thank you hor the inspiration.

  73. Who knew? What a terrific idea….I absolutely love the look of painted book covers. I also like the rough texture of the burlap covers. I suppose you can paint the burlap any color as well. I have also seen a finer-textured white purlap at the local yardage store.
    I think I am going to try your idea with my stash of mystery novels. The covers are boring so I think painting them all the same color will make them look a bit more stylish sitting together on the book shelf.

  74. Love the painted and burlap covered books. As soon as this storm lets up I’m going to Ace right down the road and get my paint!! Will make some for my daughter’s new house also!!

  75. I’ve never thought of this! I have some technical books that are too out of date to refer to or donate anywhere. Now I can keep them and put them to good use!

  76. Mamacancook says:

    Your decorating style is very fresh and unique! The site is so enjoyable to read and savor!!

    I cover books with patterned paper to coincide with the seasons but this idea is a great one. More permanent and no covers falling off. Love it.

  77. Have you tried this on slick books?

    1. I have not tried it on books that have a photograph feel cover. But I think it might be fine. Chalk paint adheres to most things.

  78. Dawne fox says:

    Where go you find the stamps or stencils? I have been to michaels and don’t like the choices. They are too hokey! I want some stamps that are more antique looking and dressier. Do u use a certain brand of stamps/stencil??

    1. I’m not too sure about stamps/stencils. I don’t use them much. Sorry

  79. Helen Walker says:

    I always come away with a new idea after reading your blog. Painting books……what a wonderful idea….had never given that one a thought!
    Your decorating style is, for a better way of putting it, ” easy on the eyes” and comforting.

  80. Charlotte says:

    This is such a great idea! I’ve been using books to decorate for years but I’m really liking the continuity of the same color and burlap. I love change and changes that are relatively inexpensive is my love language! Thanks so much for all your great tips!

  81. Pat Atkinson says:

    You have inspired me. I can now update my home with existing books I own that would have otherwise stayed in a cabinet. My mind is whirling with all the possibilities of different designs for various seasons. Thanks so much!

  82. Have you considered selling a set of 3 or 4 books? I would love to own some but don’t believe I can take on the project.

    1. I don’t have a shop. I’m so busy producing StoneGable I could never have a store!

  83. CarolBinTX says:

    I’m notoriously deficient with projects involving glue…I need to recognize that about myself! So, the burlap covered books and moss covered spheres were not a success! I can paint though!

  84. Love the painted books. Will definitely try. By the way, I make your butter topped beer bread often with homemade soup! Yum!

  85. I’m rushing down to the basement to retrieve some old books and burlap from my DONATE bin right now! I’m also a fan of AH paint, but I have never painted a book. Great idea! Thank you for the wonderful posts. I’m also subscribing so I don’t miss a thing in the future.