My Favorite (Inexpensive) Bookstagram Props!

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I spend way too much time scrolling through my Bookstagram feed. I don’t even call it Instagram anymore because I am essentially there for one purpose…to peruse, swoon, and ogle the gorgeous books. When I first started sharing on Bookstagram I had never even heard the word “flatlay” let alone try to create one myself. How the heck do you even start? How do you know what to get for props? Do you even need props? Over the years I quickly learned that there is no right way to Bookstagram. The beauty of it is that it is so diverse…and it is a creative outlet for your personality! How boring would it be if all of our photos look the same? Having said all that, I did want to share a list of some of my personal favorite props. I don’t in any way have Bookstagram figured out…but, I know when I first started it was helpful for me to read about what has worked for others…and then tweak it to suit my needs! So, here are some of my favorite (inexpensive) Bookstagram props!


My dad has a saying…”If it’s free…it’s for me”. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one. I love finding random things around the house to use in my photos. You absolutely do not have to go to the store or amazon and spend hundreds of dollars to take a pretty photo. You likely have so many things already lying around your house that you can use! Here is a list of some of my faves!


Now, this one might sound obvious…but…I am still going to include it. Head outside and snap your book photos in your favorite spots in nature. Some of my very favorite photos are nature photos. Find yourself some gorgeous light…sunset…cloudless sky…golden hour…all absolutely stunning photos. Being that my account is called Beaches and Reads…my favorite photos are always beach photos. There is something about the books with the gorgeous aqua of the Gulf of Mexico behind them that just makes me so happy. Maybe you don’t live by the ocean…what about mountains, a river, lakes, gardens, desert…these are all beautiful backdrops for your photos. I love seeing photos of books amongst the trees or flowers. Find a spot that makes you happy and snag those pics!


Something I absolutely LOVE to add to my photos are gorgeous fluffy sweaters. The textural element of a chunky sweater just makes a photo pop! It makes the photo have such a cozy vibe and I love it! I have a huge collection of throw blankets around my house…weird in Florida, I know…but we love a good throw blanket. I love the texture and depth they add to the pics! Tea towels are such an inexpensive way to add lots of different colors and textures to your pics and they are usually super inexpensive. I actually crocheted a small placemat sized rectangle with some gorgeous chunky yarn I found on clearance. I am terribly at crocheting but I love the way it turned out and I use it all the time!

Cups and Mugs

Books and coffee go together like…well…books and coffee. Or tea…we will allow tea…if we must. I have a never ending collection of mugs in my house and I LOVE adding those to my pics. I did purchase a couple with the express purpose of using them in my Bookstagram pics but that is absolutely not necessary. Grab your favorite mugs and your favorite coffee or tea and add that to your pic! I even love seeing the coffee beans, tea leaves, and spoons in the pic. Any little thing that catches the eye and helps to frame the photo just makes me so happy! My family surprised me with this gorgeous Van Gogh Tea Set for my birthday and I am smitten.


I am a stationary junkie. I have loads of decorative paper, scrapbook paper, tissue paper, butcher paper, and old newspapers lying around the house. These make gorgeous additions to your photos. Some fun ways to use them could be to crumple them to get added texture and depth, roll them up and tie them with twine or a ribbon, or even burn the edges or tea stain them to give them an antique look. If you don’t like the idea of the extra steps to make them look old…stay tuned because I will share some of my favorite inexpensive papers that I use for my pics.


I am sure that most of us have a couple of candles lying around the house. They don’t have to be expensive themed candles…though those are lovely. You can use anything you have lying around. I actually love the look of old candles with dripping wax…aren’t they gorgeous? Lit or unlit…doesn’t matter…they just add such an aesthetic feel to photos.

More Books

One of my absolute favorite things to add to my Bookstagram pics…more books. Old books, thrifted books, open books, book spines…you name it and I love it. I love to add book stacks in the background or surround the book I am trying to display with open books or torn book pages (gasp). Truly, some of my favorite book photos are ones that are just loaded with books! Oh, and don’t forget book shelves! There is something absolutely gorgeous about seeing a book sitting amongst other books. And don’t worry if you don’t have perfectly curated bookshelves. It doesn’t matter. You can always take a photo at your local library or a bookstore if you don’t own a ton of books!

Under $20

Ok, so we have chatted about some of my favorite freebies. Now, if you do want to spend a little money to curate some supplies for your Bookstagram account…here are a list of some of my faves. These are in no way things you NEED or things that you HAVE to have. These are just some of the things that I have purchased over the years that I use in LOTS of pics. They aren’t themed to one particular book so they are super versatile. Again, you can use this as a jumping off point for ideas or as inspiration…whatever floats your little bookish boat!

Old Papers

As I mentioned above…I found some lovely old papers that I love to include in my pics. These are designed to be used as scrapbook or journal pages…but look lovely in book photos. I purchased a collection of 150 papers and they include things like old newspapers, diaries, ledgers, recipes, moon phases etc. They were $13.99 at the time I bought them and I use them ALL the time…both in book photos and in my reading journal!

Old Keys

I am a sucker for anything vintage looking. There is just something about an old key…I love it. You can find bags of them on Amazon for super cheap. I believe the ones I purchased were $7.49 and I got a pack of 10 different keys. These are just the ones I got but there are hundreds of different types, colors, sizes etc on Amazon. You may even have some old keys lying around at home!


You can’t throw a rock on Bookstagram and not find a bead garland of some kind. I found mine on Amazon and it is just a plain wooden bead garland and I use it all the time! It was only $6.99 and if we are being honest I am kinda eyeballing the other colors they offer. I kind of like the white and grey!

Fake Flowers

I love to add flowers, plants, and grenery of all different kinds to my pics! A couple of my favorite things are dried baby’s breath and big chunky fake flowers. There are endless amounts of fake flowers at any craft store and Amazon has a ridiculous amount. I am going to include the ones I have because they are these beautiful chunky peony looking flowers but you can go wild and find whatever you like. I like to go to the craft store when they are having a sale and grab single stems of whichever flowers catch my eye. Another go-to is IKEA…they have a great selection of potted fake plants. I was just there this past weekend and grabbed a couple more for my bookshelves. I just snag them off when I want to snap a pic!

Vintage Compass

Again, I am a sucker for old looking things…and I love old compasses. I have a couple of them but this is the most recent addition to the collection. I love using these in book photos because a lot of books deal with travel, adventure, or history and I think the compass pairs really well with that. Plus they are just really cool to look at. And I love that this one has a neat leather case!


Ok, this is my area of weakness. I cannot get enough display items. There is something I just love about a box, stand, or basket. I try to find these all over the place but have had good luck on Amazon, at IKEA, and at random craft stores. Anything you can nestle your book in will work. Here are some of my favorite items!

Random Do-Dads and Thingamabobs

Last but not least here are some random items that I have added to my collection over the years! One of the ways that I have collected so many random things is through book boxes. I was a subscriber to both OwlCrate and OwlCrateJR for YEARS and they always include the best bookish swag. Things I probably would never have thought of or sought out on my own but really love. Special bookmarks, books with sprayed edges, themed mugs, quill pens…you name it and they include it!

Some things that I have added on my own are a magnifying glass, small moon tray, vintage washi tape, vintage picture frames, annotating kits, bookish tote. These are just a few random things. I will keep adding to the list as I add to my collection. Again…none of these are necessary…just some fun additions I have made to my pics!

Thanks for Reading!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. I hope this was helpful or gave you some ideas to get started with. I am so far from an expert in this area but I know that any little bit of insight can be helpful. Sharing books on Instagram is one of my very favorite things. I know that IG has begun veering away from photos in favor of reels…but I will always share photos. I just love the way they look and they make me so happy. You can easily adapt your photos and turn them into reels as well. A gorgeous flatlay definitely transfers easily into a beautiful reel.

As I mentioned above…none of this is needed. All you need is a good book and a desire to share. Truthfully. Some of my favorite Bookstagrammers have the most beautiful and minimalist feeds. There is something so gorgeous about just a hand holding a book. There is no wrong way to share a book photo.

If you are a Bookstagrammer, what are your favorite props to use? Do you have a favorite place to take pics? If you are someone who likes to look at bookish photos…what are some of your favorite things to see?

Happy reading, my friends. I am so glad you are here!!

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