12 Handmade Gifts for Book Lovers

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Krause, Johansen

Do you have someone in your life who lives and breathes books? An avid reader will need some essentials to go along with their reading habit. You can put together a few handmade gifts for the book lovers in your life, such as our rickrack appliqué bookmarks or a Japanese bound book that's perfect for journaling or keeping a record of their reading list. Handmade gifts for book lovers will, of course, need to involve books in some way.

Bibliophiles want to be able to spend hours and hours of uninterrupted time with their books. With that in mind, what they want for Christmas would be items like soft pillows for getting comfortable, cute totes for carrying their books around with them, and baskets for storing the books that they want to have on hand. Bookmarks also go a long way, and you can make bookmarks from all types of materials: cardstock, fabric, and yes, even yarn. As long as it can hold a place within in a book, it could work.

For hardcover books, you can make protective slipcovers that help preserve the covers that your bibliophile wants to keep forever. Handmade gifts like these are perfect because they solve some of the problems that we book lover face on a daily basis, such as holding the last page we read or storing the books that we are currently reading. (Seriously, a soft basket by the bed would be helpful. And what reader couldn't use more totes?)

So, check out these handmade gifts for book lovers for your gift-giving inspiration.

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Heirloom Book Box

Aaron Dyer

What could be more of a surprise than a book that opens to reveal treasures and trinkets inside? This wooden box, which can be found at your local arts and crafts stores, can be custom-painted to mimic a friend's favorite vintage hardcover. Then, fill it with small gifts that fit into the pull-out drawer.

Shop Now: BeadsCraftsGifts Unfinished-Pine Book Box with Pull-Out Drawer, $13.85, etsy.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, in assorted colors, $2.49, michaels.com.

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Monogrammed Velvet Ribbon


Add a touch of elegance to someone's hour of reading. A trim of velvet can be stamped with the last name or initials of the recipient and paired with their favorite book for an incredible gift. When cutting ribbon, follow the book as a guide for measurements: the length of front and back covers, plus binding, and add 2 inches (the extra ribbon on ends will wrap around inside covers). Use a fabric pen on the reverse side of the ribbon to mark stamp placement in spelling out the recipient's name, then drape the ribbon over the stamp (relief side up), and gently press it with a handheld iron.

Shop Now: Mood Fabrics Periwinkle Single Face Velvet Ribbon, 2", $3.49 per yd., moodfabrics.com; Paper Source Alphabet Uppercase Rubber Stamp Set, $19, papersource.com.

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Tassel Bookmark

tassel bookmark
Joseph De Leo

Here is an easy yet beautiful accessory: a tassel-topped bookmark in complementary colors. Tassels can be made in any mix of metallic and cotton embroidery floss, silk bead cord, and fine silk thread.

Shop Now: Purely Silk Beading Thread, $5.50, purlsoho.com; Au Ver à Soie Perlee Silk Thread, $10 for 3, hoopandframe.com; DMC Embroidery Floss, 62¢, michaels.com.

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Marbleized Pencils


Readers are, coincidentally, some of the biggest note-takers. Gift them a custom set of marbleized pencils—the mixture of paint and marbling medium produces these whirly-swirly designs.

Shop Now: General's Cedar Pointe No. 2 Pencils, $30 for 3 dozen, generalpencil.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, in assorted colors, $2.49, michaels.com.

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Tote Bag for Books


Always handy for trips to the library, a plain canvas bag can be transformed with one easy technique: iron-on designs. Use our "Books" clip-art to print out on transfer paper, scan art from books, or vary the lettering you affix to create a stylish tote for your favorite bookworm.

Shop Now: Blank Canvas Tote Bag, $2, michaels.com.

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Gilded Bookends

gilded brick bookends
Burcu Avsar

Add glimmer to their shelves with a little at-home alchemy: Spray-paint any object (like bricks, as pictured here) to transform them into gilded bookends. Start by covering bricks with a towel, and then using a hammer to chip the surfaces to create an uneven, aged effect. Apply a coat of paint and let it dry thoroughly. For next to nothing, you've created a stylish support any title would be proud to lean against.

Shop Now: Rust-Oleum Universal All-Surface Metallic Aged Vintage Gold Spray Paint, $7, homedepot.com.

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Sashiko Bookmark

sashiko bookmark
Jessica Antola

A strip of rickrack has infinite uses. One of our favorites? Adhering it onto a book's front so that it doubles as a decorative touch and a functional bookmark.

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Tech Case

Ryan K Liebe

So much of our reading is done digitally these days—Kindle, Apple Books, and Audible all included. If your gift recipient is someone who falls in that category, consider this handsome tech case. It's constructed with denim and a felt-lined interior, customizable to any size, for their chosen device's protection.

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Waterproof Book Covers

Yunhee Kim

A trip to the beach is best spent with a good summer read. But water, sand, and reading never mix. To protect the pages, offer a set of waterproof book covers made of vibrant-colored oilcloth. To make one, cut a rectangle of oilcloth as wide as the object you want to hold, plus 1/2 inch for seams, and 2 1/4 times its height (for a horizontal pouch, flip these dimensions). Fold to form a pocket shape with right side facing outward, stitch up the edges, and then add self-adhesive Velcro fasteners to secure.

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Japanese Bound Book

Japanese-Book-Binding-0116-4114.jpg (skyword:223573)

Notes, drawings, and sweet nothings can be hand-bound into a book that your recipient will cherish forever. Even better: It's made from decorative fabric scraps and cardboard.

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Personalized Bookplates

Kana Okada

Giving a novel or book of poems is even more meaningful when paired with personalized inscriptions that is pasted inside to identify the owner. We used stamps mounted on clear acrylic for easy inking and positioning. Just ink the stamp, and then press it face-down onto an adhesive office label.

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