Do you have stacks of books taking over your home? Do you hoard (I mean, collect) books without knowing where you’re going to put them? Are you wondering what to do with used books you’ve lovingly collected?
Of course you’re going to read them all! But in the meantime, I have a great idea on how to store them. You can upcycle old books during the holidays and build a book tree. Here are some simple steps to create your own book tree using second-hand books:
1. Organize books by size. By that, I mean the square area of the book, not the thickness. I usually do a section with small, medium, and large books. If you want your book tree to be specific color, now is also a good time to categorize by color.
2. Start building your tree by creating a circle on the ground where the tree will be located. It’s important to make it wide enough to be the foundation for the entire tree. Also, be sure to choose an area with an electrical outlet near so you’ll be able to plug in lights.
3. Stagger books like bricks as you start building. I usually work straight up for at least 10 rows before I start working my way in. Because books are different levels of thickness, sometimes I have to use two to make sure it’s stable. I’ll usually just press down on each level to make sure it feels stable as I go.
TIP: I like to add the lights early on so that I’m not trying to wrap them around the books when it’s tall and it could more easily knock over the book tree. I always use LED twinkle lights because they don’t’ product heat and won’t be a fire hazard when they’re against the books. I wrap as I go so I won’t mention lights again.
4. As you gradually start working in, it will begin taking on the shape of a tree. Of course, it’s difficult to make it absolutely perfect I just try to work in to make it shaped as much like a tree as possible.
5. As you near the top of the tree, the hollow center will tighten until you can top it with one book and stack up from there. I start off with a wider book and then rotate them around to give the appearance of it narrowing to a tip.
6. You can top your tree with just about anything — a star, an owl, a lantern, a tiny Christmas tree. In addition to lights, you can add garland, ornaments or bows into the nooks the books make, or you can even hang candy canes off the string of lights.
It may surprise you just how many books it takes to create a book tree. I usually run out and have to find more books to keep building the tree to be as tall as I’d hoped. I don’t usually count how many books it takes to create a good-sized book tree but one year, it was 316 books to make a 5-foot-tall tree. If you find you’ve run out of books, you can always look for a local book exchange or swap books online to get your hands on more secondhand books.
Remember to have fun while building, then sit down with a good book and enjoy the view!