DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: book strap side table

by Grace Bonney

i’ve always loved seeing pictures of students using leather book straps; they are so charming and orderly. but to be honest, it is not the best way to carry heavy books around town is it? but to carry something that doesn’t move, like a table…perfect! i went to a local recycling center to pick up some extra books, built a couple small cubbies out of wood, and went to work! the rest is just gravity and organization (and a tiny bit of glue). have fun! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


1. books (old paperbacks are perfect, from a recycling center or a yard sale)
2. old leather belts ( 4 men’s belts should be sufficient)
3. hot glue gun
4. wood for cubbies (1″x8″x48″ and 1x4x16″)
5. red gloss paint (or any color you wish)
6. paintbrush
7. saw
8. sandpaper
9. hammer and nails
10. cardboard (about 8″x14″)


1. to make the cubbies, you need to cut the wood into 8 pieces: two at 1″x8″x14″, four at 1″x8″x5″, and two at 1″x4″x8″. you will be making boxes that are 5″x5″ and 4″x14″.

2. sand all the edges and heat up the glue gun. you can use hot glue to secure your boxes before you nail them together, it makes nailing much easier. use the four 1″x8″x5″ pieces to create a square cubby. use the two 1″x4″x8″ pieces as the thin edges of a the longer rectangular cubby, and the 1″x8″x14″ as the top and bottom of the long rectangular cubby.

3. when the cubbies are nailed together, paint them with two coats of paint. allow them to dry between coats.

4. using the cardboard as a base for the table, start piling up the books to cover the base. there is no right way to do this, just start stacking the books with the pages facing out. it helps to have a couple heavy boxes to balance on the sides. as you place the cubbies and the books, it helps to glue a book here and there for sturdiness. i glued five books total, a couple to the cubbies and a couple to each other. i made sure to glue books i didn’t care about. you do not have to glue very many books at all to maintain a sturdy table.

5. continue building the books until you’ve reached the height you like. place the top cubby and glue anything else you need to to maintain the structure. the belts will also add a lot of support so it’s okay if a few things are a little wobbly.

6. lift the cardboard slightly to slide the belts underneath and position the buckles where you would like them to be. you may have to buckle two belts together and snip off or glue the extra tab down if it’s too long. tighten the belts as much as you can and slide a few extra books in to increase the snug fit if you need to. the top strap also comes in handy for holding the book you are reading!

7. your table will be sturdy, but because of its weight i still recommend lifting from the base to move it around.



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