How to make invisible bookends with Jack Heath, author of THE CUT OUT

How to Make Bookends

Four Methods:

Bookends not only keep your books from falling to one side, but they also provide decoration for your home or office. You can change your bookends to vary the look of your space. Create fun and imaginative bookends like a diorama, ambient light jar, quotation marks, or even retro headphones.


Creating a Diorama

  1. Stain your woodblocks.Spread newspaper to cover the surface of your work area and use a paint brush or clean cloth to gently apply chestnut-coloured wood stain. Be sure to apply it in the direction of the wood on all vertical sides of your blocks. Allow the stain to dry for a couple of hours. You may add a second coat but one should be fine.
    • Do not stain the top of the blocks. You may stain the bottom of the blocks if you choose.
  2. Create a glue mixture.Pour tacky glue into a bowl of water. Once the blocks are dry, use a paint brush to apply the mixture to the top of the blocks that do not have any stain on them.
  3. Add your grass.Sprinkle faux grass on the wet glue at the top of each block. Use your fingers and press on lightly on the grass to make sure it adheres to the blocks. Allow the glue to dry for a few hours.
  4. Add a stream.Use a blunt object, like the end of a foam brush, to scrape off some of the grass and create a stream. After you have created your desired stream shape, apply a thin layer of glue to either side in order to create a border to seal in any water you may with to add.
  5. Apply an undercoat to the stream.Use a paintbrush to paint thick blue acrylic paint on your stream. You may also use the undercoat that comes in the Scene-A-Rama kit instead of the acrylic paint. You may also add small pebbles to the stream by placing them on top of the undercoat.
    • Purchasing a Scene-A-Rama kit is optional.
  6. Glue down figurines.As the undercoat dries, glue down trees, figurines, structures, and rocks at your desired locations. Use tweezers to hold down the items as the glue dries.
  7. Apply the water effect.Use the water effect that comes with the Scene-A-Rama kit and apply it onto the dry undercoat of the stream. Allow the water effect to dry for a few hours and apply the special ripple effect from the same kit. You may also simply paint a contrasting blue or use white to create waves.
    • The ripple effect is the last layer of the kit. Purchasing a Scene-A-Rama kit is optional.
  8. Add your finishing touches.Add a few more pebbles or figurines to the stream. You may also paint flowers or details on any of the objects. Allow the diorama to dry for several hours before using as your bookends.

Repurposing Jars

  1. Decide on shapes.These shapes will be the bare space through which your tea lights will shine through. You can choose stars, people, cars, or whatever else your imagination can think of. Draw these shapes onto painter’s tape and use scissors to cut them out.
    • Simple shapes like rectangles and circles of different sizes may be easiest.
  2. Arrange your shapes.Stylishly apply your shapes onto your jars. Take note of where you want the light to come through and space out your shapes accordingly. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, wipe down the jars to get rid of any debris.
  3. Paint your jar.Choose a colour and paint over the entire jar. Apply several coats allowing each coat to dry before adding another coat. You may want to choose a colour that goes with the design scheme of your room.
  4. Remove the stickers.Once the paint has dried, remove all the stickers carefully. You may use an exacto knife to trace around the edges of the tape to help remove them cleanly. Once you have pulled all the stickers off, place your tealights in the jars and use them as ambient bookends.
  5. Place your tealights.Once you have pulled all the stickers off, place your tealights in the jars and use them as ambient bookends. Make sure you test your tealights to make sure the bulbs haven’t burned out.

Creating Quotation Marks

  1. Create your molds.Draw the shape of your quotation marks on your poster board and cut them out with scissors. Create your edges by cutting two inch strips from your poster board. Shape the molds and make sure there are no holes or the plaster may get through.
    • Create the size to your preference. You can make them as large or small as you’d like depending on your bookcase. Use the slick side of white or dry erase poster board so that the plaster can be easily removed.
  2. Pour the plaster.Read the packaging of your plaster to know how much water to add to your mixture. Pour the plaster and water into a mixing bowl and use a spoon to stir the mixture. Be careful as the plaster heats up as you stir.
    • Be sure to use a bowl and spoon that you will not be using for food. You may not be able to remove the plaster once you have used these items.
  3. Remove the molds.Check the instructions on your plaster for drying times. You may have to wait 30 minutes or longer before removing your plaster from the mold and then waiting another 24 hours for the plaster to dry.
    • If some of the poster board sticks to the mold, use an exacto knife to gently scrape or sand it off once fully dry, or paint over it later.
  4. Create a base and back.Cut some scrap wood to the size of your quotation marks and glue or nail them together at a perpendicular angle to create the base and back. Nail or glue your quotation marks onto the scrap wood base and back.
    • Use wood clamps when using glue as the glue dries. You may also paint the base and back. Paint them the same colour as your bookshelf to make your quotation marks seem as if they were floating.
  5. Paint your book ends.Paint your quotation marks a contrasting colour to the base and back to help them stand out. Be sure to sand both the plaster quotation marks and wooden base and back before painting them. Consult the paint packaging for proper drying times.
    • Let your plaster dry for a few days. The paint may end up peeling off if you do not allow your plaster to dry. If this happens, sand off the paint and paint over it again.

Creating Retro Headphones

  1. Cut the headphones.Use heavy duty scissors, tin shears, or another heavy duty cutting tool to cut the headphones directly in half. Make sure they are cut in half because you need the symmetry to make your look work.
    • Find vintage headphones at your local thrift store or online.
  2. Spray paint your bookends.Purchase some metal utilitarian bookends from your local dollar store and spray paint them. Choose a colour that suits the colour of your headphones or you may also spray paint your headphones the same colour for a monochromatic look.
    • Allow your spraypaint several hours to dry. Make sure to apply your spray paint evenly. You may want to practice against some scrap pieces of board to get use to the paint distribution.
  3. Set the headphones on the bookends.Take each half of the headphone and set it on its own separate bookend. Take note of where the natural points of contact are and apply a few drops of glue to these areas. Press and hold the headphones in place as your wait for the glue to dry.
    • Work on one side of the headphone at a time for convenience. You don’t want to apply too much glue and make a mess. Use a clean swab to wipe off any excess glue after you have pressed down on your headphones.

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Things You'll Need


  • Two wooden blocks about 8 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter (you may cut them at your local hardware store)
  • Newspaper
  • Chestnut-colored wood stain
  • Tacky glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Faux grass (available at craft stores)
  • Assorted pebbles and stones
  • Assorted faux tree figures
  • Small plastic woodland figurines
  • Scene-A-Rama water kit (optional).

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Date: 16.12.2018, 09:02 / Views: 93134