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DIY Knife Holder: Flea Market Inspired

Do you have any items in your home that are beyond their usefulness yet you still keep them around? That’s how it’s been with my wooden knife holder. I’ve owned it for at least 15 years and it’s seen better days. When I saw a creative DIY knife holder in a recent issue of Flea Market Style magazine, I knew a change was on the horizon. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Do you like home projects that cost no money and only take minutes to complete? Me too! Seriously, I think this kitchen project took me less than 15 minutes to tackle. Everything I needed I already had on hand, so no money left my purse.

Make a knife holder for your kitchen with vintage books.


Here’s my old knife caddy. It’s beat up and my largest knife doesn’t even fit in it. About half my knives are stored in a utensil drawer because they don’t fit either. I haven’t been able to get new knives due to lack of storage. But that’s all changed now.

Old wooden knife holder gets replaced with a DIY knife holder


I have too many books in my home, but I hate to get rid of any of them. I use them to prop up lamps and plants and use them for decorating. When not in use I have to find a place to store them. So for me, it was a no-brainer to create a DIY knife holder using vintage books. I gathered a variety of colors – it would’ve been a neat idea to use old cookbooks, but I didn’t have enough of them that I no longer use.

Vintage books become DIY knife holder


Once you choose your books, arrange them in a pleasing color palette. Cut a piece of rope or twine long enough to wrap once or twice around the stack of books.

Vintage books become DIY knife holder


Tie a simple decorative knot or bow. Be sure not to pull the rope or twine too tight. You want your books to have a little breathing room so you can comfortably slip a knife between the pages.

Vintage books become DIY knife holder


You can see that I’m able to fit all of the knives into my new DIY knife holder. Not only that, but I’ve got room to spare when I buy new knives. Some of my knives are a little old and should be replaced. If six books aren’t enough to house your knife collection, just add another book or two!

DIY Knife Holder made from vintage books


My DIY knife holder made from old books adds more character to my farmhouse kitchen than the old caddy.

DIY Knife Holder made from vintage books

Sometimes it’s little touches like this that add personality to your living spaces. And when they’re free – all the better.

I’ve kept a lot of old issues of magazines, and I still thumb through them for inspiration. You never know what you might find to inspire you!



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  1. What a cute idea. My knife holder still looks fine but I might have to change it just because it has no character ????

      1. …you should never be putting knives away wet, and i’d assume they’re safely away from a water source.

  2. One of the best ideas ever. If you wanted things more “decorative,” you could cover the old books with wallpaper or contact paper to match your kitchen decor. Personally, I like them in their original form.

  3. Carol took the word right out of my mouth…GENIUS!! Thanks for sharing!
    Another great idea for old books!

  4. This is such a fun way to reuse old books that you will not be reading any more. It also adds tons of character to the kitchen.

  5. This looks so good! I do have a question, tho. Aren’t knife racks meant to sharpen your knives each time they are removed & placed back? Just wondering if the books would be a determent to that.

    1. No, knife blocks are there to protect the points and edges during storage. I dont think I’ve ever seen a knife block that came with a sharpener or honer (edge straightener) inside. That sounds like something you would pay extra for. Most people have a separate honing steel and/or sharpener for periodic maintenance.

  6. sacrilege. Books are to be read, learned from, not cut up.Shared with friends, donated to thrift stores etc, when no longer needed.

    1. These books were not cut up in any way. She literally just stuck knives between the pages. I thought that was obvious, but I guess not…

  7. Great idea.
    But it’s a bit of a grease collrctor, no? Maybe varnish the covers and twine……………

  8. I have a knife drawer in my kitchen, but this would be good for the paring knives, might try this for them !!!

      1. THANK you! In THEORY……I *LOVE* the idea. I’m a writer. So everything literary goes into my decor. However, as the daughter of a nurse, I can h-e-a-r my late mother screaming about the UNsanitary problems I just created all over my kitchen if I did this. What germs lurk on the page of an old book! So, please guys… Only do this if you wash your knives before using them each time. With that extra precaution….I’m ALL with you!!!

  9. I can’t figure out if this is serious or if the author is trolling everyone.
    First off, why waste old books on something like this? You are destroying them. Please don’t use old books in perfectly good condition for something like this.
    Secondly, how do you keep your knives sharp when you are continously putting them into paper, which will dull them?
    I just really don’t see why anyone would do this. You could always just take a photo of book bindings you like, put it on foam core, tie the twine around, and then attach it to your actual knife holder block to camoflauge it instead, and that way you aren’t destroying perfectly good books for a craft project. Not to mention that the knife holder is actually made to hold knives. Books are not.

    1. Ok, Melissa, Although I did reply on the sanitary part….which is easily addressable. You missed the entire point, my dear. She said her knives were overflowing in her kitchen and she had a need to deal with. She had too many knives….and a couple did not even fit in her current knife block. People often need to adapt to “their” adapting lives. If you have never experienced this and have a perfect Martha Stewart lifestyle then obviously, this blog isn’t for you in the first place. The rest of us ENJOY discussing crafty ways to make our lives easy and similarily pretty. Once again…Her books were NOT harmed. And even had she taken them apart they were old and they were “hers” to do with as she pleased. Let’s try not to be judgemental. It’s not becoming. Thank you.

      Have a nice day friend.

    2. I’m inclined to agree with Melissa. My husband keeps all my knives sharp for me and I would hate to put them into a paper book and dull them. You know you’re not supposed to cut paper with “good scissors!” I have a pair of scissors I use only for fabric, so dulling my knives in a book would be voiding my husband’s (or my) hard work. This project is cute but I would only use it for decoration and not actually with knives I use daily.

      1. Oh my goodness! My son made one of these for me from old books. First, I OWNED the books and can use them as I please – they are mine. Second, sliding the knives between pages hasn’t dulled my knives at all. My son reconditions and repairs old and/or dull knives and is a professional. He would never suggest this if it could harm the knives.

        Also, this is America – land of the free! That includes making our own decisions, such as repurposing old unwanted books to create a little bit of beauty in my kitchen.

  10. What! Books should never be used like this!If you have too many books donate them don’t abuse them. Good grief

  11. Cute
    But will you dull the knives, slipping them through the paper?
    After all, a butter knife will do the same job as a dull knife.
    And since there is no place for the sharpening hone…you are not doing yourself any favors just being cute.

  12. Wow I find it incredible that anyone thinks they have the right to belittle someone for using something THEY OWN in a way that is pleasing to them. How dare she use HER books to decorate HER house.. Really people get a life!!!… SERIOUSLY Sacrilege ??? These are not first edition collectors items. They are simply books she no longer used…

    I love your creativity and I might have to copy! Please keep posting!

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing but you commented first.
      If people don’t like this idea then simply don’t make it but keep the snarky comments to youself.
      I think it is a nice diy idea for a country kitchen.

    2. Right on Pat and Victoria. Some people are so snooty! If you don’t have anything nice to say, then shut up!

      1. Agreed 😂 who knew that some folk would have such strong opinions, so strong that they’d happily insult someone, over a knife block! It is quite hilarious.
        I love books I have lots….too many really…. and I love this idea! Sacrilege, not sanitary? Oh come on, unless there’s a serious issue with someone’s immune system most folk can healthily bat off the everyday pesky little organisms and other invaders that enter our system.
        How many of us book lovers have books on our shelves that are there just because we love seeing them there? Well…thesebooks are still there..theyre just being given a function as well as being a pleasure to see. And….if you want to read them again they can still cut it:)

  13. I like it and if you have old books you aren’t using then why not. If you take the books to the thrift store they will take them to the dump in a few months if they don’t sell anyways. Dulling the knives is not a big deal either, it would take a lot of time for that to be an issue. Since I hone my knives every 3rd use and sharpen once a year it would never be an issue for me.
    Much more interesting that a knife block.

  14. Many people who buy books at a thrift shop want them for craft projects. So why not use them for crafts yourself? This is not Fahrenheit 451 after all! Most knife holders don’t include a knife sharpener. I don’t know about the comments saying that the paper pages will dull the knives. It could be true…but is it any worse that having the knives rattling around in a drawer?

  15. Looks cute but is it good for the knives? Seems to me the knives would get dull when you push and pull them out of the pages.

  16. I just made mine last week. I glued the covers of the books together and then used decorative hemp twine. Wish I could share my picture.

    1. After the books are glued together we could put modge podge over the outside to protect and make it easy to wipe off.

  17. Oh my gosh. This is really cute but I can’t help thinking about how every old book is its own ecosystem…. very much the opposite of clean!

    1. Yes…..it is ….but really just wash your knife and you’re good to go!! I made one. It was SO worth it! Had some OLD books that have been in the family for GENERATIONS. Not valuable by any means and quite falling apart. But with some work and glue I got them to look better. Make them USEFUL once again….and I have them there out on the open now in my kitchen as a reminder that my grandmother and greatmother are STILLw with me. BOTH were wonderful cooks….so its a double blessing to me!
      Thanks for the SWEET idea!

    1. Germs don’t live that long. I don’t think I’d want to go pick something up at Goodwill and use it right away, but if you already have them…

      And all this talk about “sacrilege” is just silly. It’s an inanimate object people.

      Super cute idea, btw!

  18. Ruth and Melissa are the nitwit Sacrilege Police. Why not use what is yours to make something useful. Reusing old books for things like this is a great idea. I am going to make my holder from my1980 shorthand books and some old romance paperbacks too. Do you think that is sacrilege? LOL I would use mod podge and also mount on a board .

  19. I am really torn with this one. Super cute! However my first thought was ewww, germs. Secondly, I discovered by accident that D.V. shelters beg for books so I donate my old ones there. I will, however, have to give this some thought. I am sure that I can come up something that will look like books but will answer MY personal concerns. I love the idea of ‘cook books’ being the titles showing..Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. What a great idea! I only had to use one huge book of knowledge it’s bigger than an encyclopedia! Works for all of my large knives. I also would love to use my collection of old cookbooks but you can’t buy them anymore so maybe next time I’m thrift shopping I’ll look for some that might not be possible if I find them I’ll probably want to use them nothing like the old one’s especially Betty Crocker all my kids now call to ask Betty lol

  21. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a super cute idea 😍. I was thinking of the sanitary aspect of it like another commenter. I’m also wondering if the books would fray after a while?

  22. I work in a library and, just as cautionary advice, would like to throw out there that, as cute as this is…book pages are notoriously dirty and full of germs.

  23. This is a very attractive idea instead of the standard knife block. Since it has been a while since you posted this, I am wondering how it held up and if you could add an update with pictures to your post. Please and thank you!

  24. My mom was a college English professor and when she passed away at age 85, I ran out of places to donate her books. Even the thrift stores said, “No more.” I trolled Pintrest to find ideas using old and new books. This is a great idea! You are not destroying the book. You can undo the rope anytime and take the books out, and if they are put together loosely enough, the knives should slide in and out without dulling the blades. I am about to make one for my house, one for our beach condo, gifts for my daughter-in-law and granddaughter and make a dent in some more of those books. Thanks for such a great idea!

  25. In the process of replacing my kitchen and my new one will be definitely Farmhouse. This is so cute and clever. I was just wondering if the knives bend the pages from pulling them out or do they stay in tack.

  26. i love this idea very clever !!!! And the sanitary part well I personally always rise with water any dish or even knives that i used even if they were already put away clean. .

  27. Maybe those books were a special gift!!!!! And she doesn’t want to give them away and whats your problem if you don’t like the idea then don’t do it problem solved !!!!!! hahahahha

  28. Love love love this idea! I might modify slightly by gluing the book covers together if more stability was needed and I might also add a base of some sort, just as protection if a knife was longer and poked through or if in water spilled etc.

    The comments though…..it’s true social media makes people think they can pop off with what they’d never say to you face to face! See proof above!

    Those raising concerns over the paper dulling their knives should ask themselves what happens when in a wooden knife block. Knives need sharpening regardless of how they are stored, it’s routine maintenance, it’s necessary and unless your using the knife to saw on the wooden knife block or on the books….it’ll be fine.

    Those raising concerns about the books being unclean or not sanitary, sheesh y’all made me laugh. Certainly old book can be dusty but that would be expected IMO and if you wanted this adorable idea in your home, you would take that into consideration and dust/vacuum/clean them. Now if the books had been wet recently mold and mildew could be an issue and therefore “unclean” but honestly who’d pick books in that condition to start with? Same would be true of any obvious stains or sticky grime etc

    Really folks, if this isn’t your cup of tea, no crime-no foul, just move along. Those of that find it a lovely solution should be allowed to do so.

  29. I guess that I agree with all of the comments that it’s “clever”, but, I’m left with the perplexing question: “Does it reduce space ordinarily taken up by knives, or is it even supposed to do that”? I’m clamoring for making more efficient use of my limited space in my condo.

  30. Love this idea. I’m all about re-purposing. I saw another post for this same idea but it said the books had to be the same height and it said to glue the books together over night and then tie them. Any thoughts? I like the different heights.

  31. I love the idea, germs or not, but I would buy cork board to put the books on. This way the knife tips don’t go thru to the counter

  32. I would say to all those screaming about ruining the books, just use old encyclopedias, definitely no one is using those anymore Or just make little paper covers for the knives with lightweight card stock, before you slip them in between the pages.

  33. This is such a clever idea that I plan to use in my kitchen. Others brought up dulling issues and I just can’t see that being an issue bc you’re going in between the pages no through them. Now the sanitary issue is EXTREMELY laughable since at best bacteria and viruses can live on HARD surfaces from a few hours to a week. Seeing as paper is a SOFT surface like fabric and cardboard the germs have even less of a lifespan. Not to mention this would only be a “worry” if the books were not yours. But science can put your fear mongering concerns to rest. Don’t believe me? Look it up! You’re biggest concerns for germs are hard surfaces like countertops, stainless steel and plastic. But they all have a life cycle and within a week would no longer be infectious on HARD surfaces. It amazes me how germaphobic society is these days. You can’t straighten your immune system without coming into contact with germs. Hope this brings the common sense back to the comments here because no blogger deserves these ridiculous unfounded comments.

  34. oh my! I can here my mom saying “How stinkin cute is that” that’s what she says when something is very very unique! This applies here! Thanks so much for sharing.

  35. Sorry, I love vintage and the idea of repurposing, but this is not for me and not even for sanitary reasons. I just think that it looks ridiculous, my husband would think I’d gone off the deep end.
    For those of you that get so upset about those of us that don’t care for this idea, practice what you preach. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and nowhere does it say favorable comments only. I don’t care what you say, things get dusty and grimy in any kitchen and this does not lend itself to being cleaned frequently.

  36. It’s adorable, first off, which is why a work around (sealing the books, or doing faux books) would be good for dealing with germs, but what about booklice, for those who aren’t concerned with the germs? Yuck

  37. This is seriously LIFE CHANGING!! I have been going crazy over my knives and hate them on my counter…. I’m so excited now. Thank you for your genius! 😅🖤🖤