How to Make DIY Bookends

DIY bookends made with clear glass vases, pebbles and succulents on wood shelf

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Yield: 2 Bookends
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-$15

Every room needs a few books. If you're an avid reader—and even if you're not—you're likely to have a few favorites. Giving those favorite volumes a place of pride in your home adds personality and meaning.

There are lots of clever ways to display books; however, one simple way to highlight a special collection is with a pair of bookends. In just two simple steps and with supplies that are easy to come by, you can make your own set that can be customized to reflect your interests.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue or decoupage medium (such as Mod Podge)
  • Small paintbrush or foam brush


  • Two clear glass vases
  • Decorative paper
  • Vase filler such as small pebbles or sand (optional)


Materials and tools to create DIY bookends

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  1. Measure and Cut the Paper

    Turn your decorative paper over so the backside is facing up. Lay the vase on top. Trace the width of the vase with a pencil.

    Using scissors, cut about 1/8 inch inside the line to account for the thickness of the glass. Slip the paper inside the vase, and if needed, trim more off the edges so that it will fit flush against the back of the vase without any wrinkling.

    Next, with the paper inside the vase, draw a line across the top of the vase onto the excess paper that is sticking out of the top. Remove the paper and cut off the excess height.

    Decorative paper traced around clear vase before cutting

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  2. Adhere the Paper

    Once you are sure that your paper fits perfectly against the inside back of the vase, use a paintbrush or foam brush to apply a thin coat of glue or decoupage medium to the back of the paper. Place the paper inside the vase and press it against the back. Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.

    Repeat these steps for the second vase to create a matching pair. Give the glue time to dry and set.

    Small paintbrush adding glue to back of decorative paper

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Ideas for Filling Your Bookends


Succulents are popular and go with any type of decor. Although these particular vases were heavy enough on their own to support books, the added heft of the rocks in this variation might be a good idea if you plan to use the bookends for heftier tomes. Simply fill each vase about two-thirds full with small rocks, which will keep the stems of faux succulents in place.


The vase bookends take on a decidedly coastal feel when filled with a bit of sand. A pair of starfish can take center stage, but any treasure found while beachcombing—shells, rocks, sea glass, or driftwood—would look beautiful. These items can also be found in craft stores if you don't have access to the real thing. Turn the books around for a neutral look.


These bookends would be perfect for a collection of travel guides or books about faraway places. Mini souvenirs of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty can be spray painted and secured with a bit of poster putty on the inside of the vase bookends. If you don't plan on changing the insides of your vase bookends, you could certainly use a little hot glue to secure the statuettes more permanently.

Seasonal Decor

The great thing about this project is that it can be tailor-made for any room, or even changed to reflect a holiday or season. Mini pumpkins make for a simple display in the vases for autumn; you could also use acorns for a fall feel. Bottle-brush trees nestled on a bed of faux snow would be equally as charming for Christmas. Check your local dollar store for other items that could be displayed inside your vase bookends.

Succulents and stack of pebbles for filling DIY bookends

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

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