Book page Christmas Trees- Recycling tired books

If you ever announce on social media that you need old books to cut up, be prepared for the backlash! I offered to make centerpieces for our Library Holiday party. I thought that recycling old books that were destined for the shredder or the trash would be a perfect homage to everything literary. Holy wow was I in for a surprise! People kinda freaked out when I said I wanted books to cut up. Reactions varied from “OMG- I feel kinda sick” to “Murderer”. Granted several responses were meant as a joke. Still… what is our big hang up about tossing old books?

Some Librarians tend to get a bit on the hoarder side of things when it comes to books. We hang on to every single copy until it falls apart and then we keep on repairing it. Heaven help you if you decided to weed or *gasp* throw things away. I am more of a practical person. If it’s old and worn out either re-purpose it or recycle it. There is no need to hang on to outdated material unless it has some historical merit or value. I could go on about the importance of weeding but I will leave that for another day.

In response to my friends and their utter horror that I would dare destroy a book… I posted the following photo:

Yes, that is a butcher knife and a dead book.

Other than tormenting my archiving friends, I did have a purpose for destroying readable books. I found a DIY link for recycled book page Christmas trees. I thought they would be cute for our Library party as give-aways. Here is the link for the easy stacked page trees: Stacked Trees    Here is the link for the easy curled page trees: Curled pages

Six hours and six trees later I can say that Pinterest is full of lies. Things are never easy. Take any craft on Pinterest and multiply it by an hour and add a date with a vacuum cleaner. I am still finding bits of book pages all over the house. However, despite my complaints they did turn out pretty cute.


I also had fun ripping pages out of books. It was liberating and I felt like a very naughty library lady! Bound to Stay Bound lives up to its name. Those were the hardest books to take apart. I had to use the Mister’s pliers and wire cutters to get the pages out of the sewn binding. I am hoping the other Librarians like the little trees. I like the curled pages the best. I made my own cones out of paper and hot glued the strips of paper on. It was much faster than using pins and foam.

I still have a stack of left over pages to create something else. Has anyone else out there tried some book recycling crafts? What did you make??

Happy Holidays and Happy literary destruction!!


  1. Maria Atilano

    One of my coworkers has made several things out of old books to display near the circulation desk: pumpkins for Halloween, and now book trees very similar to the ones you made! We also had a few complaints, but strangely enough mostly from patrons. :p


  2. Kea Alwang

    Love these! (And don’t think you’re a murderer!)


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