What to Use as Bookends

Why don’t books conform to the laws of physics? As carefully as you stand them up, they always fall down, so how can you stop your books from toppling over? Easy DIY bookends is the answer! If you can never seem to find the right bookends in shops or online, then why not make your own? Here are some amazing bookend options.

14 March 2023

If you think about it, almost anything can be used to balance your beloved books and with these DIY bookend ideas, you can turn your bookshelves into a focal point and a great conversation starter.

Bookends are more than just practical solutions to keep your books upright. They are quirky, fun and interesting pieces of art in their own right. Read on to discover some cheap and easy book end ideas that kids and adults alike will love to make!

Nine Amazing DIY Bookend Ideas

People bookends (photo:perezismael via Getty Images)

Just a quick word of caution. Some of the bookend options in this article require the use of paint, glue, and a few other bits and pieces from the tool shed so please take care and ensure that an adult undertakes these tasks. If you need any advice or guidance, look online or ask in your local craft shop and they’ll be delighted to help you. Scroll through these bookend ideas and either use them as they are or as inspiration for your own. Use your creativity and imagination and do whatever you like, that’s the fun of making bookends!

Beautiful Bean Bag Book Barriers

Small beanbags (Photo: imagenavi via Getty Images)

Easy DIY bookends don’t get much easier than this one. All you need is some colourful fabric and lots of pebbles. Sew the fabric into the shape of bean bags or pillow cases, fill them about three-quarters full with pebbles and sew up the hole. Place one either side of your row of books and they should stay upright.

The Glass is Half Full

Seashells In Jar on shelf (Photo: Gesa Formella / EyeEm via Getty Images)

In the article about seashell craft ideas, one of the ideas was to fill glass jars with shells and put them on a shelf for all to see. So why not put them on your bookshelf? You can fill the jars with anything you like – coloured beads, marbles or coins for example – and they make great bookend options.

Wood You Believe It

Small coloured wooden blocks (Photo: Adrienne Bresnahan via Getty Images)

These may not be considered easy DIY bookends and they do take a little bit of work but they look awesome. Small blocks of wood can make great bookend ideas. It really depends how creative you want to get and to what level of detail. Two sanded and varnished pieces of wood painted in abstract colours make beautiful bookends and you can also mount objects on top, such as retro plastic toys, ceramic letters or small pots.

Building Bookends

Painted bricks (Photo: siwaphoom via Getty Images)

What to use as bookends is a pretty common question and one answer is bricks. Common house bricks. Give them a wash and you can use them as they are, though they’re much more fun if they’re dipped halfway in paint or spray painted with a stencil or even painted to resemble the spines of classic books.

Rock, Paper, Scissors…

Rocks as bookends (Photo: Julie Thurston via Getty Images)

One of the very easiest DIY bookend ideas is to go into your garden or to the park and get two evenly sized rocks. Once you’ve got them. spray-paint them silver or gold (or indeed any colour you want). You can also create a small rock garden by glueing together a number of small rocks, spray-painting them and propping them up either side of your row of books.

Par for the Course

Novelty bookends (Photo: zhudifeng via Getty Images)

How do you order your books? By size, colour, genre or another way? If you have a lot of sports books, one of our great bookend options is to create and paint two identical L-shaped bookends from wood and cover them with photos or newspaper cuttings of your favourite team or athlete. Then, you can mount a small piece of equipment such as a golf, ping-pong or tennis ball, chess pieces or even Subbuteo figures.

Just Roll With It

A regular rolling pin (Photo: Natalya Danko / EyeEm via Getty Images)

Lots of people collect cookbooks. One of the best bookend ideas for the kitchen is to start by doing the same thing with the wood as the sports memorabilia bookend. Instead of a golf ball, get two wooden rolling pins from a second-hand or charity shop, paint them in bright colours or even write a recipe on them and cut them in half with a saw. Sand the flat ends and mount them onto the wood. It somehow looks better if the rolling pins are a different size with different handles.

Light Fantastic

Tea-light in a jar (Photo:

This is a great idea which adds some texture to your bookshelves. Take two glass jam jars and decorate them any which way you like with paint or tape but leave enough glass for light to shine through. Then, put two small battery-operated tea-light candles into the jars. This is a great answer to the question, what to use as bookends?

Licence to Read

A vintage number plate (Photo: stone18 via Getty Images)

For a slightly edgy, industrial look or if you have a collection of books on cars, you can buy vintage metal car number plates on most internet auction sites. They make really great DIY bookend ideas and when you get them, all you need to do is bend them over the edge of a work table at a right angle. This is just the tip of the bookend iceberg. There are literally loads of great book end ideas out there and whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find something fun and interesting to make!


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