Easy Recycled Halloween Decorations Made From Old Books

recycled book halloween decor

I had absolutely no intention of acknowledging Halloween in my home this year. Sure, there would be an artful scattering of orange and black fun size candy wrappers (bought impulsively and steeply discounted post-October 31) around my desk, but no actual preconceived decorations. However, last weekend while looking to do a lazy round up of other people’s decor ideas, inspiration struck for some recycled Halloween decorations. I figured if I could add a lil’ fright to my apartment for close to free, why not? So I ran to the free section of my local thrift shop and hit the jackpot. Creepy old books? Yup. A weathered, rusty-nail-adorned frame? Uh huh. There was even a book of old sheet music! The makings of a quick and easy recycled Halloween display if I ever saw ’em.

halloween frame diy close up

Below, a peek at the the process and a few other recycled decor ideas for Halloween:

Upcycled Old Book “Boo” Display

A layering of sepia-toned tears from vintage books gives a spooky aura on its own. Webbing and gothic lettering solidify the Halloween vibe. Bonus – you can swap the “Boo” sign and webbing out and tack on some leaves come November for a more Thanksgiving-appropriate display.

The Supplies

vintage weathered books

These are the gems I discovered in the unwanted section of the secondhand shop near me. I was partial to the books with yellowed pages, serif fonts and pen and ink illustrations for an extra eery vibe. An empty frame was a great find too – bonus points for potentially tetanus-inducing rusty nails. I’ll admit, I felt a little guilty hoarding all these titles, but their recycled future as a Halloween display gave me a slight sense of vindication. In the end I used:

  • 5 vintage books
  • 1 old wooden frame
  • 3 sheets black construction paper
  • 1 handful of faux spider web
  • Tape
  • Corkboard & pins (or you can just tape the pages directly to a wall)

The Process

creepy old books

So this was the really fun and easy part to this recycled decor. The beauty of Halloween decor is that you don’t want it to look perfect, but rather like some psychopath haphazardly plowed through it on his way to, like, decapitating someone. Which is PERFECT for the limited patience and prior planning I demonstrate for diys in general.

So, I got to tearing out pages from the books, working from all 5 intermittently to create a layered look when pinning on my corkboard. To create variety, I used text-heavy pages as well as opening title and index pages. For an extra Halloween-y feel, I looked for sheets that featured foreboding messages and mysterious illustrations (note the rough gun slinger in the above photo).

As I tacked the recycled book pages to my wall, I amped up the well-worn look by crumpling some sheets and adding underlining and asterisks to sentences. Lucky for me, some of these books already had ominous notes in them! I also ripped some pages in half and dog-eared corners. You could even splatter some red ink or paint here to mimic blood (too scary for my fright tolerance levels).

The Final Product

book collage close up

recycled frame halloween decor

recycled book collage

For a Halloween DIY totaling a whole $2.99 (for the spider webs), I’m pretty stoked about the way this unplanned project turned out. I’ve been adding a little more webbing here and there, mostly because I have an entire bag of the stuff and it’s sooo fun to stretch over things. A few Italian Market mini gourds and construction paper spiders rounded out the decorations. Well, that and some almond Hershey Kisses, which I think add an indispensable gilded edge to the whole display, don’t you? 😉

Cobweb-Covered Book Stacks


Creepy yet, dare I say, chic (??) when styled with old books with artful binding. Also ensures you won’t have to dust for the month of October – the more grit around this display the better.

Spellbook & Potion Display

halloween spellbook diy
image via theidearoom.net

I love the idea of playful potion books left out on a table. Would be cute to style with accompanying potion ingredients – one crow’s feather, old toad, witch’s finger…

Yellowed Pages Wall Hangings

old book wall decor
image via bhg.com

You do have to get lucky with the books you find for this one. I would try old encyclopedias for detailed anatomical illustrations and other dreary drawings. Hanging tears with twine would look just as cool, if you don’t have the metal hardware above.

Recycled Book Banner

halloween book banner
image via twelveoeightblog.com

A recycled book banner leaves a lot of room to get creative with messages. Blank book bunting would work just as well – so long as you toss some spiders or snakes in there.


Got any recycled book diys? Let me know 🙂


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