How to Make a Stacked Book End Table

Written by emily weller
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How to Make a Stacked Book End Table
Glue together a pile of books for a stylish end table. (stacked books image by Chad McDermott from

Turn a pile of books into a practical and functional end table for your living room. If sacrificing part of your library upsets you, pay a visit to a thrift store and purchase plenty of used paperback books. If you want the table to have a theme, choose books that are related, such as a collection of Nancy Drew mysteries or several cookbooks. Buy more books than you think you'll need; you can re-donate any you have left over at the end of the project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Paperback books of varying sizes and thicknesses
  • Découpage glue (e.g., Mod Podge)
  • Paintbrush or sponge
  • Wood or glass tabletop (optional)

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  1. 1

    Determine the appropriate width, height and depth of the table. You may want to base the table's size on the piece of furniture it will sit next to. The end table should be no more than a few inches shorter than the arm height of the chair or sofa.

  2. 2

    Stack the books, measuring as you go to make sure you have the proper height, width and depth. It may be best to start with a book that measures the width and depth of the table and stack other books on top of it. Position the books so that the spines face toward the front. You can stack the books evenly or turn them diagonally to create a more interesting table. You can also use books of decreasing sizes, so that the end table looks like a pyramid.

  3. 3

    Take the top layer of books off the table and place them on the floor with the bottom sides up. Apply a layer of glue to the bottom of the books with the paintbrush, and then place the next layer of books on top of the first layer. Continue gluing and stacking books until you have finished all the layers. Let the books and glue dry overnight.

  4. 4

    Turn the table right side up and gently set the bottom on the floor. Coat the top and sides of the table with a layer of the découpage glue. Try to make the layer of glue as smooth as possible. Let it dry for an hour or two, then apply another coat of glue.

  5. 5

    Place a cut-to-size wood or glass tabletop on the top of the end table if you want to give it a more finished look. You can also leave the top plain.

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