With back-to-school just around the corner, I’m refurbishing one of my very first posts. I’m putting on my Frugal Mommy hat and showing you how to save some cash on school supplies. Are you ready to make a DIY Paper Book Cover? (They are so much better than those crazy $4 book socks!)
My kids are required to put book covers on their school books, but I just can’t bring myself to buy a $4 book sock! And–have you actually tried to handle a book covered with a book sock? It makes the book slippery and difficult to hold. Back when I was a teenager, we made our own covers. All we needed was a paper grocery sack and a little bit of tape. Anyone else remember making those?
So, if you’re ready to get a little creative and have a little fun, I’ll show you how to upcycle butcher paper, a paper bag, wrapping paper, or any paper into a unique book cover with my easy tutorial.
Paper Book Cover Tutorial
- A textbook (I bet you figured that out on your own!)
- 1 large paper grocery sack or butcher paper (I’ll show you both ideas. My butcher paper came from a roll of drawing paper the kids use for coloring). You could easily do this with any paper. Tape together coloring book pages or drawings made by the kids until you have a large enough piece to cover the book.
- Scissors and packing tape
- Markers, paint, crayons, or colored pencils for decorating (permanent markers work well). Stickers would be fun, too!
- Packing tape (optional)
This first method uses butcher paper. You’ll find the paper bag book cover after this one.
- Using any materials you would like, decorate your butcher paper. (You could even use wallpaper or wrapping paper so that you don’t have to create your own design.) I created this one by drawing the design I’ve been doodling since I was in junior high! It looks kind of like wrapping paper, don’t you think? Nope. It’s just white butcher paper and markers.
- Wrap the paper around the outside of the book, folding the edges inside the book.
- (Third image is a close-up of step 2.)
- Make sure your overlap is fairly even on both sides.
- Fold the corners in like you are wrapping a gift.
- Slit the bottom and top so that you can remove the overlap on the book spine.
- Fold in the sides and tape them down.
- Optional* Slide an extra piece of paper under the book cover.
- Fold the edges of the book cover in to make the edges look more finished.
- Not pictured (because the tape reflects funny off of the camera lens). Cover the entire piece of butcher paper with packing tape to create a protective, durable finish. *This step is optional. You can leave off the tape. The cover just won’t last as long.
Because the colors show up better, I prefer the butcher paper book cover. Paper bag covers are completely free, however, and a little more durable. If you’re not worried about color, I’d go for the paper bag.
Paper Bag Book Cover Tutorial
This cover is created almost the same way as the other design.
- Start by slitting open a large paper bag and removing the bottom of the bag.
- Flip the bag to the plain side and draw your design. (Or skip the design and just doodle all over it during class. That’s what I used to do! I’m sure all you teachers out there love that suggestion, right? Sorry!)
- Continue on with the same directions as above.
My original book cover was made from a recycled paper bag. It worked great, but Bear and I decided to make a new one because the vibrant colors she wanted didn’t show up well on the brown bag.
- When I did this the first time, I forgot to decorate the bag first. I saved that step for last. (It works much easier to do the design first.)
- You may notice that the inside of this book cover looks a little different. I put the extra paper over the folded edges instead of under (Step 6 in the picture).
So, what do you think? Will you give it a try? I’m a little biased, but I think the make-your-own book covers are so much more fun than the ones at the store! Have fun!
*This idea was originally posted in September of 212, but has been updated with new photos and ideas.
I’m so glad you stopped in today. Stick around and check out some of my other ideas. Have a great day! (Images below are linked.)