The Book Tree

A few weeks ago, I saw some book trees on Facebook. They were Christmas trees, but made of carefully stacked books. Some of them were decorated, and some weren’t. When I finally saw one with lights on it, I knew I had to build one.

Here it is:Deborah Cooke's Book Tree

Building a book tree isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take time. I started with eight big books, placed in a circle on the rug, then began stacking. I found that I needed about half of the books to be hard covers for the tree to be stable. The rest are trade paperbacks, because mass market paperbacks were too light. They wanted to slide away. You also need to pay attention to the thickness of the books, so that any two beside each other have spines of roughly the same thickness. This keeps each layer of the tree on the level, and also helps its stability.

Mine finished out at about 5 feet high. (And no, I have no idea how many books it took. A lot. I had to keep getting more!)

BookTree5I found some snowflake LED lights in the holiday decorations. We’d bought these last year at Ikea, intending to put them around some windows, but that never happened. They were still in the packages. I used two lengths to decorate the tree – they’re 45 feet long each or so. It’s easy to “fasten” the lights – I just tucked the cord between two books at regular intervals.

TheBookTree4Then I had some silk poinsettias and sprays of glittery beads that I used at our old house to decorate the cedar roping we hung on the porch in December. They’ve been sitting in a box ever since we moved, but were perfect choices to give this tree a bit of sparkle. I just poked them between the books. There was also some gold bead garland in the same box. I have no recollection of where it came from, but it went on the tree too.

The final question was the star. Hmm. Mr. Math came up with the solution. When he was single, his sister made him a little tree, so he could pull it out of the box each year and have a Christmas tree in his apartment. It’s not even a foot tall but is very cute. We usually put it on the fireplace mantle, but he suggested we use it as our “star”. I was skeptical, but it’s perfect.Deborah Cooke's Book Tree

At first, I’d thought this tree would just be temporary and a fun addition to the dining room for a family dinner we were hosting, but I quite like it. There are no dropping needles and there’s no need to water it. Fortunately I chose books that I didn’t think we’d want to read before the new year, so I’ll leave it there through the holidays. The bookshelves are due for a cleaning and a sort anyway, and reorganizing them will be a good way to start the new year.

What do you think?

10 thoughts on “The Book Tree

  1. I like it. I’ve seen pictures on Facebook, but didn’t know how easy it would be until I read your explanation — I’m already eyeing my bookcases! Thanks for sharing.


  2. I Love It Deborah, it looks great. You did a fantastic job and the topper worked out too.
    Thanks for showing it can be easily done after all.


  3. I love it.. I might have enough hard copy books to do a small table tree, but my husband would never let me light it up.. Fire hazard. 😦 He’s anal about fire and electricity. I could take a pic of yours and hang it on my door tho. 🙂


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