Turn an Old Book into a New Purse

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.The best accessories are functional, cute, and great conversation starters. This book clutch is the perfect little thing to carry to a party for stashing your necessities while meeting new friends and finding kindred spirits.

This project is fairly simple, though it does involve minimal sewing. If you have beginner to moderate sewing skills, you could whip up this fun little clutch in just a couple hours!

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Supplies:
-hard cover book at least 1″ thick
-magnetic snap kit
-lining fabric that coordinates or compliments with book colors
-heavy weight interfacing

-X-Acto blade
-fabric scissors
-hot glue gun
-sewing machine

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step One: Use an X-Acto blade to remove the cover from the binding and pages. Clean up the cover as much as possible.

Step Two: Cut out a piece of your lining fabric to the size of your book’s cover, plus a .75″ border.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Three: Use an iron to fold down the edges of the fabric lining, making sure the final shape is just a bit smaller than the cover of your book.

Step Four: Cut a small piece of interfacing and stitch it to the end of your fabric where the snap will go.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Five: Lay your snap back onto the area where your interfacing is, a bit more than .5″ from the edge of your rectangle. Use an X-Acto blade to cut through the slits of the snap back.

Step Six: Put the arms of your snap front through the slits of the snap back as shown above. Bend down the arms to secure it. The snap should be on the right side of the fabric.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Seven: Stitch around the edge of your rectangular lining, just about .25″ from the edge.

Step Eight: Begin making your snap flap. Use the snap back as a template. You want to make a shape generally like the one shown above. Make sure there is at least .75″ around the edge of the snap back. Cut out two pieces of patterned fabric and one piece of interfacing to this shape.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Ten: Stitch the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the patterned pieces you cut out the previous step. Use a wide stitch about .25″ from the edge. Then lay the snap back on it and use an X-Acto blade to cut through the slits of the snap back.

Step Eleven: Put the arms of the snap front through the snap back, making sure the snap front is on the right side of the fabric and the snap back is on the interfacing side.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Twelve: Layer the flap pieces so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other. Then stitch the pieces together as close to the snap as you can get. Leave the bottom edge unsewn. Flip the flap pieces right-side-out and iron around the edges.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Thirteen: Create the side panels of the purse by tracing the edge of the slightly opened book cover as shown above. Make sure You fold the fabric at the opening of the purse so that you will have two layers of fabric.

Step Fourteen: Cut out the pieces of fabric and stitch around the edges of the folded fabric pieces, .5″ from the edge.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Fifteen: Attach the side panels of the purse by using hot glue. Begin with the binding edge of the cover as shown above, then do the front and back of the book. Make sure you don’t put the line of hot glue too close to the edge of the book, or you will have glue seep into sight as you push the fabric into the hot glue. You can always add more glue later if you need to.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Step Sixteen: Use hot glue to attach the snap flap as shown above.

Step Seventeen: Attach the lining to the inside of the purse. Use hot glue and work on only little bits at a time, or the glue will dry and harden before you can get to it. Work slowly to make sure the fabric is lined up with the book cover.

Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.Turn an old book into a new purse! Step by step instructions and photos.There it is! It might seem like a lot of steps, but it only took me a couple of hours to transform this old book into a purse, and that even includes stopping to take pictures along the way. If you prefer, you could add straps or handles to the purse when you attach the snap. The magnetic snap works like a charm, and I love the simplicity of a clutch design. So fun! –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

  • Very cute, but how am I going to cut up a book?! lol I’ll just have to grab them as my husband throws them out.

  • Soooo cute! I’m a bookaholic as well as an art journaler and love to find cool book pages to use in my journals. This takes it to a new level! Thx$1M! ~Hobby

  • Awesome!! I bought this very pretty calender last year and I thought it was too pretty to throw away. Now I know what I’m going to do with it!!

  • What a sweet idea! I have a ton of antique hardback books but couldn’t bring myself to rip the pages out. I bought a 25Ppaperback kids book to butcher for a craft product and just couldn’t rip out the main pages- I just ripped out the reviews and sample chapter of the next book at the back!x

  • I’ve been working on something very similar to this recently. I love your take on it!

  • Obsessed! I think I’d like to add a piece of cloth along the top and use a zipper instead of magnetic snap for extra security. I’ve been lusting over the Charlotte Olympia book clutch, but the $$$ has deterred me from actually purchasing one for myself. This DIY is just what I need! AND I can choose whatever book cover I wish!! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • OK ~ I MUST just stop and make one too! Thank you for such detailed instructions so the rest of us can sail through the process – well, sort of. 🙂

  • What a clever idea! I’m going to look for an especially good book to do this with. It would make a great gift!

  • Love this!! Really like that it looks so professional and could be done with stuff you can find around the house!!


  • Absolutely love this idea!<3 it’s perfect with a doll like outfit or even a everyday kind of look (and college;) )

    <3 Love, Thays <3

  • Oh my goodness, this is the cutest and most creative thing ever! I must make.

  • This is an amazing idea. I just have to find a book I can part with to do it.


  • This is such a fun idea! It looks so cute! Can’t wait to try making one.

  • OMGGG this is the cutest Idea!! I’m definitely going to try this out with a few of my old books. Great post!


  • I love the girl scout manual! I think what gives this such a nice touch is what book you pick. For people that prefer to DIY in theory and just read about it online-Kate Spade makes some lovely clutches with books like The Age of Innocence and Pride and Prejudice.

  • This is great, Mandi! I recently made a book clutch as well and shared it on my blog. I did it a little differently – I left a border around the pages and hollowed out the insides so that when it’s closed it still looks like a book. Kind of wish I did it your way because cutting out the pages entirely would have been much easier, ha! I really like your approach, awesome job!


  • This is really an awesome idea !!!! Great post <3 xo


  • Amazing! I need a beautiful old book now!

  • Oh wow this is so unique and such a wonderful idea!

    Beauty and Lifestyle Blog


  • Definitely adding this to my ‘to do’ list for this year! Love this blog, keep inspiring me ladies! ?

  • this is such a great idea, butI don’t have the patience nor skill to get it done…


  • This is incredible! Unfortunately I suck too hard at anything DIY to pull it off. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gorgeous! I have to make one! Putting it on the to do list 😀

    Ruby xx

  • Aw! So fun. And a brilliant use for something that has been damaged internally, too.

    Warm Regards,

  • This is such a great idea! Might have to give it a try! X

  • This is absolutely adorable! I’m a self-proclaimed bibliophile so this would be a great addition to my bag/clutch collection!

  • Love the clutch but i am afraid there are too many steps to attach those snap buttons that its confusing for novices like me…probably you could give alternate simpler options as well.. love the color combo and the final look..cute & quirky clutch..


  • Great idea! There are high end designer pieces that look like this. Way to turn it into a DIY.


  • Love this! A Girl Scout book is genius! All of the DIYs you’ve posted so far this year have been great– simple enough for the average crafter, but still super cute and functional. I’m so pleased with the choices you guys have been making for this year! Keep up the great work!

  • What the heck! This is the COOLEST. fun!


  • This is so genius! You guys are so creative!!! Thanks for sharing


  • I swear today’s are my fave projects! Making this one as well! 😀


  • Wow! This diy actually seems doable and fairly easy! Thanks for sharing! gotta try it soon…

  • I love the idea of this, tons of designers do it!
    Such a cool post! Love this post!
    Love from www.trangscorner.com – a lifestyle, cooking, fashion blog

  • Amazing idea! Never saw or heard of something like that. You guys are awesome. Best posts and a lot of creativ tips. I love it.

    Have a nice day!


  • This is great! I’ll have to head to the thrift store this weekend to see if I can find some good old books to use.

    xx Kathryn

    P.S. I love that you used the Girl Scout Handbook!

  • Wow, you guys think of the most ingenius things!!! 🙂
    I will make this ASAP (I have the perfect old book that matches my favorite dress!)
    Keep up the amazing work!

  • This is amazing! I would totally try to make this~ Thank you~~


  • OMG!!
    I saw a similar on Etsy last month and I totally fell in love with it, but it was expensive for me and I couldn’t afford.
    But I’m a book lover. This would be PERFECT.

    I never thought I could MAKE one for me. When I saw this post I kind of started dancing inside. Really.
    Can’t wait to make mine now.
    Tks tks tks girls! Loved!

    xo, deborah

  • This is such a creative idea! I love how you measured out the bigger sides too, so it gives you just enough room for your essentials. Loving the polka dot print!

    this is one of the cutest, cleverest things you’ve ever done! LOVE IT!
    <3 <3

  • My mom collects old girl scout memorabilia and she would probably cry with joy to receive this. Must find an old girl scout manual!

  • This is so cool! I already have the perfect book and scrap fabric for the occasion!

  • Oh my god this is the cutest DIY i have seen recently..I can’t wait to make this myself! Love it. It is such a quirky/geeky statement to make. <3

  • This is so cool. Such a good idea, I had never thought of recycling a book into a purse. If these were on etsy they would sell like hot cakes! x

  • Great idea I have never seen anything similar!


  • I’ve been wanting to make one of these for an age and have the perfect book ready and waiting. Must make time to make it (it’s a big one, to keep my iPad in, and I’m imagining it opening up to keep the iPad on one side and a pad of paper/pencils on the other). So glad you posted this as you’ve spurred me in to action! Thank you!

  • Super cool! I will have to have my sister that sews help me with the one but I love it!

  • Love green projects but I am totally loving this one because not only is it green it is adorable! So clever and so cute – well done!

  • I wish I had more old books.
    This would make a great gift for a bunch of my friends.

  • I looked at this post only because I couldn’t imagine how you possibly made a clutch out of a book. What a beautiful finished product! I am so impressed over here!

  • Oh my god. This is such a good idea, and then if you did it with a book of spells, then have a little pouch inside for your oyster / metro card you can use it to touch in and out of the station and people will think you are actually magical… Do it.

  • This is such a beautiful idea! I love anything with polka dots on it, so I adore your clutch!
    Jem, Jem’s Blog

  • AH! This is going on my list of crafts to do this year – and it’s going at the top!

    I’ll be on the hunt for the perfect book.

  • Another great DIY.This is a great way to use old book,it looks so pretty and interesting 🙂


  • Ah! I had an idea to do this in high school, but once I started trying to take apart the book and put it back together, the logistics were too hard for me to figure out. Total fail! I am pinning this DIY for later though, because with the step-by-step tutorial, I think I could make it work now… Thanks!

  • This is fantastic! I definitely want to use this DIY in future! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


  • This is so darling! I must make this. For 2015, my goal to make more of the crafts you guys post that I fall in love with, instead of only windowshopping and loving from a far.

    Thanks for this awesome idea!

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