Upcycling Manga into Cool Decor: 3 Easy DIY Projects

29 Mar

(Picture courtesy of David Cardoso on Flickr.)

Over a year ago I rescued some manga from a library sale. They were in terrible shape (some pages missing, covers torn), but I couldn’t bear to see them thrown away. So they’ve been sitting on my bookshelf for the past twelve months begging to be given a new life.

While their time as readable volumes of manga has long passed, it doesn’t mean their usefulness or my attachment to their dog-eared covers has vanished. In fact, I couldn’t think of a better second life for manga than to become useable pieces of decor and art.

While there are numerous possibilities when upcycling manga, I’ve selected three DIY projects with tutorials that are perfect for adapting into some cool manga-themed decor.

1. Coasters

(Pictures from Martha Stewart and HWTM.com respectively.)

One of the quickest projects on this list, coasters are the perfect way to spruce up any room. You can select your favorite scenes from the manga you’re upcycling and have a great time creating a unique set of coaster for yourself or for a friend.

You can do two types of coasters, depending on how much money you want to spend. You can either do a set of glass coasters (pictured on the left), or a simpler, less expensive mod podge and tile version.

[Glass Tile Tutorial via Martha Stewart]
[Mod Podge Tile Tutorial via HWTM]


2. Heart Mobile/Garland

(Picture from BeingBrook.com.)

The perfect statement piece for any room of the house, this over-sized heart mobile is dying to be created with manga. You can even add a dash of color by interweaving colored pieces of paper, using colored thread/ribbon, or upcycling the color pages from manga magazines.

If you don’t want your piece to be quite so big, you can use less pieces or a smaller circular frame for the mobile.

Alternately, you can also the process used in this project to make an upcycled heart garland, which is great to hang on your wall, drape over a mantlepiece, or string above your mirror.

[Heart Mobile Tutorial via BeingBrook.com]
[Heart Garland DIY via Butter Cream Sewing Machine]


3. Paint/Print and Frame

(Picture from RufflesAndStuff.com.)

I’m sure that plenty of you have seen the book art floating around there, but why not take it to a new level using manga?

By carefully removing pages of manga and trimming the part closest to the spine, you can print on them the same way you would regular printer paper.

However, as manga is primarily images already, consider taking your creativity to the next level by screenprinting on the pages (if you know how), painting them, or even having an old-fashioned coloring session by sitting down and coloring the pages yourself.

After you’re done, frame and display your works of art for everyone to see.

[Book Art Tutorial via RufflesAndStuff.com]


While these projects offer an easy starting point for giving your manga a new way to shine, what are some of your favorite DIY projects, and how do you think they could be adapted to use upcycled manga?


Manga envelope set …


recycled gift tags-…


mini upcycled shojo…


Sewn Duct Tape Comi…


Card Captor Sakura …


Japanese Manga Enve…


3 Small Manga Cards…


Manga envelopes han…


5 Responses to “Upcycling Manga into Cool Decor: 3 Easy DIY Projects”

  1. chopstickilla March 29, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    This is so great! It is leaving me very inspired to make some paper crafts this weekend!!

  2. CharlieBrazen March 29, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    LOVE this!

  3. eurritimia March 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I guess it’s okay to use mangas in such way if they’re in bad state. Mine aren’t just like that, however. But now I will think twice to throw away if they become “useless”.

    That photo was taken the day before I was moving in. There were five boxes of comics – and the one you used as picture was 1 of 3 manga box.

  4. Carnitas Fever March 30, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Ooh, great ideas. My wife is a librarian. I will have to have her keep a look out for books that are going into the big recycle bin in the sky.

  5. allan April 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    thanks for your share,i like your blog

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