How-To Tuesday: #TreatYoShelf with TBR Bookends

Posted by Margaret Dunham

Treat yo' shelf with quick and easy one-of-a-kind bookends. Use this technique to convert any number of everyday objects – painted flowerpots, wide mugs, small vases – into a treasure for your bookcase. 

The trick with converting these items into bookends is making them heavy enough to push back against your impressive collection of literature. You can even personalize a plain item especially for your collection!



  1. Mug
  2. Plaster of Paris – enough to nearly fill the mug
  3. Brown Paint
  4. Permanent Marker
  5. Water
  6. Mixing Bowl (optional)






Pour the dry plaster into your mug.

Fill the mug with the dry powdered plaster, leaving enough room to add water and stir. Be sure to keep your container of plaster handy in case you need to add more as you mix to thicken it. If you choose to use a mixing bowl, transfer your dry plaster to your bowl now.

Add water to plaster and stir.

Add water a little at a time, stirring as you go, with your fingers or a spoon. Mix the water and plaster together until all lumps are well blended, and the mixture has the consistency of thick yogurt. If you have mixed your plaster in a separate bowl, pour the blended mixture into the mug a little at a time. If you choose to, mix more plaster and add it to fill your mug to a higher level.

Personalize, paint, and decorate.

Wipe the mug down with a damp paper towel to clean away any stray plaster dust or drips. Use a permanent marker to write a message across your mug, sketch a self-portrait, or doodle a design. Use brown paint to give your mug filling the appearance of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Place your bookend and enjoy!

Set your new bookend on the shelf by your favorite books to show them off in style. The heavy, plaster-filled mug should now stand up to the pressure of your book collection.

Warning: Using this bookend as a paperweight is not recommended, as studies show you will eventually try to drink out of it and feel a bit silly.