I own an independent bookstore and receive lots of books that are simply at the end of their lives. Old investment books from before the financial crash, books with cracked binding, or missing pages start to pile up in the corner. So, I decided to be creative and upcycle these books into something fun.

I built a frame out of 2×4’s and plywood to provide a stable base. I added rows of books and used a pneumatic framing nailer to secure the books to the frame and one another. I had to cut books with a miter saw to fill in odd gaps. This was a team effort, and it took over 4 weeks to complete!

The upper ‘rainbow’ section are paperback books arranged and cut into blocks. The colors are from the publishers, and I did not paint them.

I added some books by my favorite authors including Neil Gaiman (well, the store is named after the Sandman Comics), Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series, Andrew Smith’s Ignition (local author), and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. 

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Finished arch project at Sandman Books!

Rough structure of the book arch is constructed out of 2×4’s and OSB. Each side is 2 feet

Kitty Wan Kenobi inspecting the book arch

I used a framing nailer to attach the books to the frames. Over 10,000 nails were used in construction of the arch

Books stacked in piles ready to be placed in the book arch

Constructing the book arch column out of recycled books

I cut off the damaged sections of these titles. Many were water-damaged copies of Michael Crichton, John Grisham, and Nora Roberts

Bottom pillars are now secured and bolted to the floor

Preparing the paperback books for the rainbow effect on the front of the arch

Placing the rainbow paperbacks. My wife named the compressor ‘big kitty’ because it hisses like a cat

Crown molding installed. Just needed to fill in extra books!

Placing the last yellow paperback book. Almost done!

Finishing up the crown molding

Finished book arch

Inside view of the book arch

Book arch at night

We have a wedding scheduled in March under the arch!

Sandman Books is located in Punta Gorda, Florida