Fast and Fun: DIY Bookends to Make You Smile

With the start of the school year, there’s a greater emphasis on all things academic. Like books. If your household has a book lover or three, you might be interested in this fast, fun, and easy DIY project: DIY bookends. The possibilities are endless with the strategy to tell a story with the bookends that surround your stories. Here’s a quick tutorial on making this fun project.

DIY Bookends

Materials Needed to Make Cool Bookends:

Materials Needed to Make Cool Bookends:

  • Metal bookends, in the size of your choice
  • Toy dinosaur & toy soldiers
  • Super glue & hot glue
  • Spray paint
  • Box cutter/razor blade
  • Permanent marker
DIY Bookends - determine the way to cut

Step One: Planning for DIY Bookends

Determine which direction you want your cool bookend “story” to go. Then hold the dinosaur up to one of your bookends, and draw a straight line where you want to cut it. The line should be straight at eye level, not necessarily in relation to anything on the dinosaur itself.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Use a box cutter to carefully slice the animal along the line.

DIY Bookends from Toys

You’ll have two pieces now, hopefully with a crisp cut. Trim any jagged edges or bumps so the cut is flat.

DIY Bookends - prepare the back

Step Two: Gluing Your Kid’s Bookends

Determine where you want the back/footed piece to go. Try and line them up so when in place they tell the story.

Run a thin bead of super glue

Run a thin bead of super glue anywhere along the dinosaur where it will touch the bookend. This includes the cut line, of course, and also the feet or other points of contact.

Place the dinosaur against the bookend

Place the dinosaur against the bookend. It will likely slip and slide around a bit.

holding the dinosaur in place

Step Three: Securing the Object

While holding the dinosaur in place, run a bead of hot glue around all the points of contact. Basically, this is to keep the dinosaur in place until the super glue dries, which can be a while. Run the hot glue all the way around the contact area, if possible, for a more inconspicuous connection.

carefully cut off any strings or drips

When the hot glue dries, use the box cutter to carefully cut off any strings or drips.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Set the bookend aside to let it cool and dry completely. This is an important step in making your cool DIY bookends as it will ensure it’s all set before use.

Place the second bookend next to the first one

Step Four: Repeating for the Other Book End

Place the second bookend next to the first one, and position the head of the dinosaur carefully to align horizontally.

Use a permanent marker to mark

Use a permanent marker to mark where the positioning should be.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Use the same super glue/hot glue steps to position and secure the head to the second bookend.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Step Five: Adding Accessories to Book Ends 

When the head is in place, it’s time to position the toy soldiers. Super glue then hot glue these in place as well. I love this step because you can get creative here with your DIY bookends. Like, if you had a daughter who loved dinosaurs and ponies, you could use tiny pony figures instead of soldiers. 

DIY Bookends from Toys

Step Six: Painting DIY Bookends

Set the bookends out on a drop cloth and spray them with the color of spray paint of your choice. This example ended up with matte black spray paint as the final coat.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Let everything dry completely.

DIY Bookends from Toys

And voila! Slide your books between the bookends. Done! These would also make a great gift for friends and family, or that reader in your life.

Turn kids toys into bookends

These bookends have made everyone in our household smile already.

Kids toys bookends DIY

One trait that makes bookends that tell a “story” so fun is that it doesn’t matter how many books are between them. The humor is still there, just a delayed punch line perhaps.

DIY Bookends from Toys

As you can see, the hot glue is visible but not distracting when everything’s all painted the same color.

DIY Bookends for kids books

We hope you enjoy your new DIY bookends almost as much as you love reading what’s between them.

DIY Bookends from Toys

Happy DIYing!