Book Tables

You’ve heard of coffee table books, you probably have a few adorning your own coffee table. Well after staring at a stack of books that I’d read many times it occurred to me that the stack was the perfect height for a coffee table. So I hot glued each book to the next, made several stacks, and had myself a book stack coffee table.

I finished mine off with a tray but you could also place a piece of glass over your book stacks. The end result can look contemporary, oriental, country, traditional, Victorian … well you get the idea, depending on what types of books you use. 


Easy End Table

Use the same idea as for the coffee table but stack your books to use as an end table. Since this is just one stack, even gluing them together won’t be super sturdy so you may want to use the directions below for a sturdy table.


How to Make a Sturdy Book Table

Use a wooden dowel or straight branch that is shorter than the stack of books by ½ the width of both the top and bottom books. Drill a hole through the center of each book (except the top and bottom books) that’s just a hair larger than the dowel. Drill the same size hole ½ way through the top and bottom books. Squirt glue into the bottom book’s hole. Insert the dowel. Spread glue around the one or two inches of the dowel that is sticking out of the top of the book and slide on the next book. Continue gluing and sliding on books until you come to the top book. Squirt glue into the hole in the top book and slide onto the dowel. I like to use these end tables in spaces where I need somewhere to rest a coffee cup but there isn’t enough space for a larger table.

The cool thing about this method is that you don’t have to worry about where the holes line up from  book to book as long as they’re roughly in the middle of each book. A slightly askew stack of books is charming.

Restyled Folding Chairs

Left: battered old chair Right: old chair is painted & seat is recovered

Thank you to one of our Irish Attic readers, Sam Marquit – independent contractor and green building enthusiast – for submitting the article below.

Recycling is an important part of conservation efforts and environmentally friendly lifestyles. However, it has a rarely used cousin that is even more helpful. This method is upcycling. It is the act of taking unwanted materials and turning it into something new. The materials used in upcycling are of less cost than new materials, making upcycling cost effective. As a result, it is has continued to rise in popularity, especially in the United States.

In 2010-2011, upcycled products on the popular shopping site Etsy increased by nearly 300%, a few months later, it had increased again by nearly 450%. The fact that upcycling seems to be gaining in popularity is great news for the environment. It is something we all can do to decrease the negative impact we have on our surroundings every day. The popularity of this is easy to see. I stumbled upon a really cool idea, “Restyled Folding Chairs”. All you need is spray paint, fabric, drill and screwdriver. Below are the steps:

1. Using a drill (or screw driver) unscrew the cushions from your chairs. (put the screws somewhere you won’t lose them, you’ll have to screw the cushion back in later.
2. In a well-ventilated area (I did it outside) spray paint your chairs and let them dry completely.
3. Cover your old cushion with new fabric and wrap it around onto the backside. Staple or use a strong adhesive to secure the fabric on the back. Tip: an even “greener” option would be to use repurposed fabric rather than new fabric. Maybe a curtain or tablecloth with a hold or stain or a skirt that you no longer want to wear but that would work great on your chair.
4. Screw your cushions back onto your chairs.


After: chairs are painted a glossy blue & recovered with recycled fabric.

Even big businesses, such as hotels, can use this concept to decrease their eco footprints. Las Vegas’ The Palazzo Hotel and Resort is a place that takes upcycling to a brilliant level. They have completely overhauled their practices and materials in hopes of achieving sustainability. They convert their trash and waste into energy for the hotel. They also have solar panels that power the various heating units. It’s work like this that earned the hotel the title of “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America.”

The real quality behind The Palazzo Hotel and Resort’s upcycling efforts is its self-sustainability and they are not the only ones turning to these methods to be greener and more environmentally aware. New York City hotels sit in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. If there was any place that could make a big change by upcycling, it is New York. Some hotels there are leading the way into a greener future. The Earthcare program at ink48 Hotels is another example of responsible hospitality.

Regardless of how well self-sustaining upcycling methods work, there are always other ways to help. It is really encouraging to see large organizations and businesses practicing upcycling by turning unwanted materials into something needed. It’s important for more and more businesses to catch on and realize there is value in turning their trash into treasure. The Palazzo in just one example of the many hotels in Las Vegas that are turning trash into treasure. What an impact it would make if all hotels around the world followed suit!

If any Irish Attic readers have a project you would like to submit, please feel free to contact me at info (at) irishattic (dot) net.

Book Shelves Gone Wild

My friend G and I were wandering around The Lab (it’s an industrial chic outdoor mall) after lunch at The Gypsy Den and ended up in this little clothing store “Gloss” that had the most creative displays. Take a look at their books made into shelves that double as jewelry organizers.

Here’s how to construct a floating book shelf:

Invisible Bookshelf

from WebUrbanist


Dollhouse Bookcase

This is a dollhouse made from an Ikea bookcase. It’s a fantastic way to salvage a bookshelf that you may not have a use for anymore or which is marred in some way that makes it unsightly as a bookcase. I found this pic while traipsing through Grosgrain Fabulous. It’s worthwhile to click on over there and read her comments and thoughts regarding this dollhouse.

20 Unusually Brilliant Book Shelves

WebUrbanist has put together some wild book shelves which lend themselves to the DIYer with access to a glue gun and a hammer.

Bookshelves Made of Books

And check out these book cases made from books. I’ll call them Cannibal Cases.

Bookcases Made of Books


Check out this hanging book case made of – wait for it – HANGERS! You’ll need to incorporate some plier action into your skill set, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. I think this is my favorite simply because it’s so hard to find ways to reuse dry cleaner hangers.

Creative Hanging Bookshelves


Funky Bookcase

I think this one is made from pallets.


If you have a lot of cardboard boxes around, decoupage them (for beauty and strength). Stack them how you like them and secure with 2 straps. This contraption won’t survive an earthquake or a pair of toddlers, but it could work nicely as a room divider.

Elegant Bookcase

And this is just for fun. It doesn’t necessarily use recycled materials but it’s too much fun to not pass on to you all. Oh the possibilities!

created at: 10/20/2010



3 Places Other Than Ebay to Find Cheap Used Furniture

There are so many ways to “live green” and using items that are already in existence, whether aquired from your grandmother or purchased from someone else’s grandmother is totally in line with the “Irish Attic” philosophy. Thank you to today’s Guest Author for giving us some tips for how to aquire vintage pieces, whether antique or not, if they find a new life in your home, they will be treasured.

An almost limitless resource of used furniture exists just waiting to transform your home into a dream interior at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. Of course antiques and collectables make this choice of furnishing expensive so how do you find the sort of furniture that you can afford?

Fortunately because of the proliferation of old furniture, there are plenty of sources to check out and not just online either. You might even find an antique for a bargain at the same time.

Auction houses

Auctions can be a great place to find bargains. It’s important to attend the viewing day which is usually a couple of days before the auction. Make sure that you decide in advance what you are going to spend on your desired piece and STICK to it! Find out where your local auction house is by looking in the local press, the phone book or searching online. make sure you can collect your purchase within the allotted time. You will need a truck especially if you’ve splashed out on a complete set of bedroom furniture!

House Clearance

Auctioneers also run house clearance sales. Again look online for these companies and join the mailing list. You will be bidding against professionals who are looking for bargains but don’t be put off by this, you may be willing to pay more than they are as you are not looking for a profit.

Garage Sales and Garbage Skips

The easiest place to find cheap and free used furniture. Don’t be afraid to barter. Ultimately, garage sales are designed to get rid of unwanted stuff. They’ll be grateful that you are taking it away for them! Make sure you get the owner’s permission to look through their skip if you decide to try this idea.

Although Ebay is a great place to find all sorts of used furniture and unwanted items but it’s actually quite a lot of fun acquiring your heirlooms of the future offline. Each piece will have a unique story of its own to tell.

How to Make Used Furniture Look Awesome