20 Cool Homemade Bookends

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A shelf full of books is a shelf in need of a bookend or two. Almost any object can be turned into a bookend. A little creativity and some heavy weight is all it takes. Here are 20 ideas for cool homemade bookends to get you started.


A child’s toy, when given a new coat of paint and mounted on a heavy object, makes an unusual bookend. Look for wooden pull toys, toy soldiers, dolls and building blocks.

Stuffed Animals

Many stuffed animals have a seam on the underside. Open this seam, stuff a heavy rock or small brick inside and sew the seam back up.

Old statues

Any heavy statue can be made to fit your décor. Just add a little paint or washi tape. Cover up a chip with a fancy hat. Go retro and glue sequins or mirror pieces to the statue.

Bottles and Vases

Any bottle or vase can be filled with marbles, decorative rocks, sand and shells, terrarium plants or old coins.

A Pair of Heavy Books

A large and heavy book, such as a dictionary, can be the perfect bookend. Or, hollow out a smaller book to make a box. Place something heavy inside the box.

Cigar Boxes

Cigar boxes are a popular item at flea markets and garage sales. Just put a brick or anything heavy inside for a fast and easy bookend.

Shoes and Boots

Line an old pair of shoes or boots with plastic, fill with gravel and add a few succulent plants such as Hen and Chicks.

Plain Red Bricks

Bricks of any size, shape or color not only hold up a stack of books, other object can be set on the bricks.

Framed Photos

Attach a frame to a metal T-shape bookend. Add a family picture or a picture of your pet.

Bean Bags

Fill any type of bag with beans, marbles or small ball bearings and tie the end of the bag.

Potted Plants

Move indoor potted plants to the bookshelves. Make sure the plants receive adequate light.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware, such as irons and tea pots, can be decorated with greenery and dried flowers from the garden.

Industrial Junk

Think Steampunk. Clamp C-clamps to the shelf and put the books between the clamps. Hammers, gears, pulleys and metal plumbing pipe can also be repurposed.

Spam Cans

Many food items come in decorative tin cans. Add weights to olive oil cans or tea tins and decorate with dried flowers.

Cardboard Boxes

Fill a cardboard box with a brick and wrap with decorative paper. The paper can be changed to fit the season.


Make a display of silverware or teacups and mount on wooden L-shape bookends.

Old License Plates

Bend an old license plate in an L shape. The shorter end goes underneath the books.

Oriental Fans

Mount an oriental fan on a wooden L-shape bookend. Attach each end of the fan to each side of the bookend.

Wine Rack

Place a small wine rack filled with a couple bottles of wine or sparkling cider at the end of a bookshelf.

Bookend Lamp

Create some light in a small reading area by arranging a heavy lamp on a bookshelf. Or, attach a light socket to a metal bookend.

These are just a few of the thousands of bookend ideas. Any heavy object can be used as a bookend. Lighter objects can be weighed down. Let your imagination run wild!

Last Updated: January 16, 2013
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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