Easy DIY Bookends

diy bookends

Heirlooms at Home

Gather Supplies for Bookends

supplies for diy bookends
Heirlooms at Home

Making bookends from scratch is easy. If you don't want to do any woodworking, find a material that can stand up on its own and is solid enough to keep books upright. These DIY bookends use rocks from the garden.

The first step is to gather your supplies. Chalk paint works well for this project because you can skip a primer. Also, make sure the rocks you choose can stand upright on their own.

  • Garden rocks
  • Chalk paint
  • Watercolor paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Toothbrush (optional)

Clean the Rocks

rock book ends
Heirlooms at Home

If you got the rocks out of your garden, chances are they need a good cleaning before you can paint them. Rinse off as much dirt as possible and allow to dry in the sun before going on to the next step. The easiest way to accomplish this is to bring the rocks outside and rinse them with a garden hose.

Paint on a Base Layer of Chalk Paint

Rocks painted with chalk paint
Heirlooms at Home

For best results, use light colored chalk paint for the base of the bookends. The chalk paint will adhere to the stone without needing a primer coat. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies with your brush. A brush will allow you to get on a thick coat that covers well, but some people opt to use spray paint instead. 

Let the Paint Dry Completely

chalk paint covered rocks
Heirlooms at Home

Allow the chalk paint to dry several hours before going on to the next step to ensure the paint has cured enough. Read the back of the paint for specific instructions based on the manufacturer. If you're in doubt, let the rocks sit overnight for best results.

Paint on First Layer of Watercolors

painting rocks with watercolor
Heirlooms at Home

You can paint whatever design you want on your bookends. To create a galaxy-like effect, pick three main watercolors and have a black on hand to deepen and mix the shades as desired. Use a paint palette to mix the colors together to create different shades. The more water you add to the color, the lighter it will become. 

Start with your first color and focus on the low points of the rock. Anything goes with watercolor, so experiment with your technique and don't be afraid to make mistakes. This design is very forgiving. Start light and build up the colors as you go. 

Don't Worry About Drips

dripping painted rock
Heirlooms at Home

Try this easy watercolor technique if you're stuck. First, layer on some watercolor then add a good amount of water to your brush. Pool the paint on the rock and let it drip along the edges. Use your brush to fan out those drips and blend them into another color. Pull up some images of galaxies for inspiration and follow the patterns you see. 

Keep Adding Watercolor Layers

galaxy rock bookends
Heirlooms at Home

This watercolor technique should be built up slowly, especially if you aren't using expensive paints. You might need three or four layers before the colors start to deepen and create a galaxy effect. After you add a layer, step back and take a photo to see how the bookends look. Sometimes it's easier to see what you want to work on in a photo than it is to stare at the project straight on. Remember, there are no rules and no two galaxies will look alike. 

If you make a mistake, add some clean water to your brush and use that to diffuse the color on the bookends.

Enjoy Your DIY Bookends

diy rock bookends
Heirlooms at Home

Style these bookends on your favorite bookshelf, on a mantel, or even on top of a coffee table. Good luck and have fun making these!