DIY Paper Book Cover

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!)

Save money on school supplies with a DIY Paper Book Cover {Plus, they're much cuter than store bought!} #backtoschool

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

Materials needed for DIY Paper Book Cover

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  • 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)

Save money on school supplies with a DIY Paper Book Cover {Plus, they're much cuter than store bought!} #backtoschool
This first method uses butcher paper. You’ll find the paper bag book cover after this one.

  1. 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.
  2. Wrap the paper around the outside of the book, folding the edges inside the book.
  3. (Third image is a close-up of step 2.)
  4. Make sure your overlap is fairly even on both sides.

Save money on school supplies with a DIY Paper Book Cover {Plus, they're much cuter than store bought!} #backtoschool

  1. Fold the corners in like you are wrapping a gift.
  2. Slit the bottom and top so that you can remove the overlap on the book spine.
  3. Fold in the sides and tape them down.
  4. Optional* Slide an extra piece of paper under the book cover.
  5. Fold the edges of the book cover in to make the edges look more finished.
  6. 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.

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Paper Bag Book Cover Tutorial

Save money on school supplies with a DIY Paper Book Cover {Plus, they're much cuter than store bought!} #backtoschool

This cover is created almost the same way as the other design.

  1. Start by slitting open a large paper bag and removing the bottom of the bag.
  2. 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!)
  3. 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.)

Summer Learning for Kids {Avoid the Summer Slide with ideas and links to 100+ Activities and Printables for Summer Learning!}

Free Lunchbox Love Notes Printables from {Who doesn't need a little love in their lunch?}

Dont Eat Pete Free Sample Pack



  1. I did the paper bag version for all my books back in high school! Loved it cuz you can draw all over them. :-) Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  2. the cover looks beautiful!

  3. Perfect timing for back to school! Thanks for sharing this at Keep Calm and Link Up this week! Can’t wait to see what you link up next Friday!

    Barbara at Chase the Star
    chasethestar dot net

  4. Katherines Corner says

    Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Your participation helps make it a success.I’m sorry I am slow to visit I am fighting a nasty head cold and my time on the computer has been limited.Wishing you a beautiful day .xo

  5. I really like the one covered with wrapping paper. You could also do that for ugly books that might not make it to the coffee table otherwise. Great idea!

  6. I used to cover mine with the brown paper so I could draw all over it! Pretty paper would be so nice too! Thank you so much for sharing this at All my Bloggy Friends last week. I can’t wait to see what you share tomorrow! :)

  7. Looks good!

    I’m hosting my first linky party – would love for you to join in:


  8. I remember making these for my books way back in high school. Ah, the memories. :-D Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday. Hope to see you tomorrow.

  9. Great tutorial. Thanks for linking up to Tasty Thursdays on The Mandatory Mooch. I hope you link up again this week. The party will be live tomorrow night.

    And don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page if you haven’t already.

    Thanks, Nichi

  10. What a great tutorial!! I remember always making mine from paper bags as a child or the school would get free ones from local businesses. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  11. So cool – great choice in covers too! Linda x

  12. We used to make these when I was a kid! Haven’t seen them in so long. They work great and those ones at the store are not worth the price. Thanks for sharing at Gettin’ Krafty this week!

  13. Lovely! My daughter had to make her own at school this year. I love that it gave students a chance to be creative, and save money :)

  14. Love this! I still remember covering our books with paper grocery bags and then doodling all over them.

  15. Great tip here!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

  16. I remember doing this and vowed to have my kids do the same. Can’t stand the book socks either. Love your pattern btw! Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest board.

  17. Thanks so much, Carie! My kids insisted on book socks last year, but we are back to paper this year. The socks are so slippery! Thanks for the pin.

  18. You did such a great job with these book covers! Again, thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned in our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on ! I hope to see you there!

  19. Thank you so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  20. This is a great idea! I love how you decorated your covers. I do remember having to cover our books with paper bags as a kid. Thanks for sharing with Creative Spark Link Party.
    Glenna @ My Paper Craze

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