Make Your Own Bookends With Painted Toys

Ever pinned a craft on Pinterest and thought, “Great, but can you really do that yourself?” I ask that every time I repin. I’m a cynic. I’m kind of a DIY non-believer.

So, I’m putting popular Pinterest ideas to the reality test: Can the rest of us—not the Marthas of the world—DIY this?

DIY Bookends

First up: Painted plastic toys. They’re everywhere on Pinterest. On Mason jar lids, strung as garland and fun bookends. Usually, it’s in the context of dinosaurs so I scroll right along (not a fan of dinos), but some bright blue dog bookends did catch my eye.

Glue plastic toys to wood blocks and paint. Easy, right? Actually, yes. On a scale of one to five, one being totally doable and five being not-so-much, I give this project a one.

Gold Bull Bookends

I made rhinoceros, bull and dinosaur (again, not for me, but would be perfect for a little boy’s room) bookends. They turned out a lot better than I thought they would. I painted the rhinos and bulls gold to tap into the metallic horns trend. And the manager of HGTV’s Design Happens blog told me he was impressed, so they must look legit!

The dinos not so much. I went with a fluorescent paint that supposedly glows in the dark so it could double as a night light, but that paint is not forgiving. It shows every drip and uneven part. If I did the dinos over, I’d hand-paint them with a foam brush and neon craft paint.

Got a Pinterest idea you want me to test? Comment below with a link or tweet me @DeanneRevel.


Step 1

 Open GalleryMolding PiecesShop for plastic animals. I’m really into the horns/antlers trend right now so I picked up rhinos and bulls at the dollar store. And I found two dinos from the dollar bin at Target. It would be perfect for a little boy’s room. Then, find your base. You could use wood blocks or bricks, or if you’re going more decorative than functional, try molding pieces. I found some at Lowe’s for less than $3. I love the detailed edge. It makes it look store-bought and not … crafty. And it’s already primed.

Step 2

 Open GalleryGlue the toy to the base with super glue. Dab a little on each foot or tail or whatever part touches the base. Don’t go crazy. A little goes a long way. Hold the bookend and gently press the animal into the base for a minute even if it feels like it’s already in place.

Step 3

 Open GalleryGreen Dino Bookend

Prime. I painted one without priming and it was a disaster. All the creases in the dino’s skin showed and it made the dinosaur look old and saggy. Gross. Go with primer first—especially if the toys are plastic. I used Valspar plastic spray primer.

Remember to shake the can for a minute before using. And spray about 8-10 inches away with long sweeping movements.


Step 4

 Open GalleryGold DIY Bookends

Paint. Let the bookends dry for a couple of hours. Patience is a virtue with this. Again, when you paint with your top coat, shake the can for a minute before you using and shake the can periodically while painting. Again, spray about 8-10 inches away with even coats. If you get up all in that with spray paint, you’ll have messy globs and drips and those don’t dry pretty. Let the bookends dry for at least another hour. If you’ve got a good primer, you probably won’t need to do another coat!



  • plastic toys
  • wood blocks
  • super glue
  • spray primer
  • spray paint
About Deanne Revel 


I manage social media for, and When I'm not instagramming and pinning, I'm dancing at Zumba and failing at the shimmy. I love vanilla chai, ...

More About Deanne Revel

One Response

  1. Christine says:

    I made some book ends with some wooden cornices I found discounted at Lowes and a couple of 2×4 marble tiles. I cut the tiles in half and glued two pieces of each other to give the book end some weight and on one of the cornices. A little black and gold paint and they look very high end…. from a distance

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