Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

By Kelsey Nickerson

Filling your home with books, whether bought or borrowed, is a great way to show kids that you value family reading. And while the stories and illustrations between the covers matter most, attractively displaying the books can build excitement. I recreated the DIY Honey Bear Bookends from Pretty Providence and think they’re the perfect eye candy to bring kids’ attention to the sweet titles on your shelves.


  • Two Honey Bears
  • Gold Spray Paint
  • Sand or pebbles to fill empty honey bears (optional)

Yes, that is really all you need! This DIY craft is as easy as 1-2-3.

Step One

Find the right spot to spray paint. I started this project in my studio with the windows open. I didn’t think I would be using a lot of spray paint and that with the open windows it would be fine to spray the bears inside. Wrong! The smell of spray paint takes over your home so quickly. So set up outside or in a garage with the door open. You don’t need a very large space to spray paint, but you will want to lay out a piece of paper or something to protect your work area. I used a scrap sheet of paper and cardboard for my overspray.

Step Two

Spray the bears evenly until they are coated with gold paint. Less is more here! It is better to do a few coats to achieve fully opaque coverage than to try to cover them in one pass, which may lead to clumping and drip marks on your final product. I found it worked best to hold the spray paint about 10-12 inches away from the bears. For the first pass, I laid the bears down (as shown in photo). Once they were dry to the touch after about 30 minutes, I carefully stood them straight up and sprayed the back side of the bears. I waited another 30 minutes and then touched up a few spots that needed a little more coverage.

Step Three

Patiently wait for the bears to dry fully. This is probably the hardest step! Spray paint can be dry to the touch in just 10-30 minutes, but it will be really, really dry in about 8 hours. So just wait! These cute bears will get very cozy with the books on your shelves, and you don’t want them to smudge their neighbors. 

Step Four

Have fun styling your shelves! There is no right or wrong way to display your favorite reads, especially when bookended with something this adorable. Try taking everything off your shelf and rearranging the elements so that each one is in a different spot than before.

Kelsey Nickerson creates abstract paintings with rich color, texture, and movement, and enjoys a good book craft. She oversees web production and styling for MayaSmart.com. 

Which of Kelsey’s shelfies are your favorite? Comment below and let us know!

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