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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: How to make your own custom bookends

A striking pair of bookends can do more than just keep your novels from flopping over. Interesting shapes and bold colours add interest to a boring shelf and help to brighten up a room. Plus, these unique book-ends will have a story of their own to tell

The most challenging part of this simple project is finding two eye-catching objects to turn into your bookends. Plastic animals discarded from the kids’ play bin or purchased from a toy store are ideal. But old baseballs or miniature trophies found in to-be-sold-at-a-future-yard-sale boxes could also work nicely. Once you’ve found your objects, purchase (or dig up) two bricks or garden stones large enough for your objects to sit on. They will form the base of each bookend, so they need enough heft to hold up your books. Wash with soapy water and a brush and air dry for 24 hours.

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Mix your adhesive in a small plastic container and then, using a wooden skewer or small Popsicle stick, apply the adhesive (I used Gorilla Glue, but you could use any two-part epoxy) to each contact point on your object. Carefully glue it to the base, making sure it’s centred and lined up with the top, bottom and both sides before pressing down firmly. Repeat to assemble your other bookend. Allow the glue to dry for at least an hour, according to the cure-time recommendations on the packaging.

BARRY FRASER/The Globe and Mail

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When the adhesive is dry, set up your painting area outdoors, or in a well-ventilated area, using newspaper to cover your work surface. Lay the bookends on their sides and begin with the bottoms of the bases and undersides of the objects. Spray the paint in short, even strokes. After two coats have dried completely (at least two hours) turn the bookends right side up and apply three coats, allowing the paint to dry thoroughly in-between. If they’re very porous, the stone bases may require two more coats for an even finish.


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Once the paint has dried completely, apply self-adhesive cork pads to the bottoms of each base to protect your shelf from scuffs. Then put these bookends to work prettying up your living room or office.

BARRY FRASER/The Globe and Mail

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