This project is to make an antique-looking book of spells, that a witch or wizard might own.
In addition to being a cool-looking prop, it's also a handy box to keep treasures in.
(eye of newt, bat wings, etc)
Step 1: Materials
You will need a basic flat paper mache book box from the craft store.
Water-based White glue (I used Elmers)
thin cardboard or matte board
paint brushes and sponges
Step 2: Adding the "hardware"
I wanted my book to look like old leather with metal hinges and corner protectors.
I wanted the "metal" pieces to have dimension, and not just be painted on.
All of this would be made of paper and cardboard, faux-painted to look like leather and metal.
So the first step is to add the "metal" hardware.
The "metal" pieces were drawn freehand on paper first for the pattern, then cut out of thin cardboard with an exacto knife.
A cereal box or matte board makes a good thickness for the metal pieces.
The corner protectors wrap around the edge just like real metal ones.
I cut out the corner protectors and nameplate from thin cardboard and glued them on. (use the undiluted white glue.)
clamp the corners and let dry
Step 3: Adding the Leather Texture
The next step is getting the aged leather texture. This is easier than you might think!
Crumple up a piece of tissue paper.
Mix some white glue and water in a small bowl, you want the consistency of milk.
Use a paintbrush and spread the glue over the front of the book, including all your "metal" pieces.
Apply the wrinkled tissue paper over the book. press down to remove any air bubbles, but leave in the wrinkles. Don't smooth it out- you want the texture.
Use the brush to press the paper into the nooks and crannies around the " metal" pieces.
You can use some of the diluted glue over the top of the crumpled paper too, and you can use wet fingers to pat it down into place or to arrange the wrinkles to suit you.
Let the front of the book dry.
Now repeat the process on the back with another piece of crumpled tissue paper.
Step 4: Painting
They key to getting a realistic aged or distressed finish is using multiple colors to achieve depth. You will need to allow drying time between each color, to keep them from bleeding together.
I use the little 2 ounce bottles of acrylic craft paint from the craft store. There are several brands but they all work well on paper, so just get whatever colors you like or what is on sale.
I wanted dark brown leather with antique, patina'd looking brass for the metal pieces.
For the leather portions of the book I used 3 colors to resemble old leather.
Generally your base coat will be the dominant color, and then you will pick a darker color for lowlights and shadows, and a lighter color for highlights. The lowlights and highlights colors can be diluted with water to get a more subtle, translucent effect.
Base coat: dark reddish brown. Apply full strength with a brush. It's ok if you get a little bit on your metal pieces because they will be painted over anyway.
Then I sponge painted on top: dark umber brown for lowlights and a watered down yellow ochre for highlights.
Let dry in between each color.The diluted paint dries really fast, especially when it's lightly sponged on.
If you overdo either the highlight or lowlight, don't worry. Just take a little of your base coat and sponge it over that area. You can keep layering the color until you get the look you want.
Now to paint the metal sections.
I used an "antique gold" metallic color craft paint for the Hinges and corner protectors.
Even the antique gold was still a bit too shiny and clean looking for my taste. So I then "antiqued" the metal with watered down dark umber brown, sponge painted over the gold..
For the sides of the "pages", I used an antique beige color paint. I didn't try to draw lines to look like individual pages.
Once all the paint is dry then you will use a clear topcoat to seal it.
"Leather" portions are finished with matte clear topcoat, "metal" portions are finished with semi-gloss clear topcoat.
Step 5: Paper Appliques
I included a nameplate in my hardware for my book, so I needed to make an insert for that space.
I made the nameplate insert in MS Paint. I just found a background image of "old parchment" and then added the word "Spells".
I made sure to measure the nameplate opening and sized my lettering to fit it.
I used a free font called Blackadder, but you can use any font you like. I used a sepia-color for the lettering. Black text looked a little too new and crisp for this old book.
For the inside of the box, I found an image of a Necronomicon replica and printed that, and then decoupaged it to the inside of the box.
Before gluing down your appliques: Lightly mist them on both sides with a clear spray paint sealer.
This will keep your printer ink from bleeding when the water-based glue hits it,
Glue the paper appliques down and let dry.
Seal over the top with your matte clear topcoat that you used on the leather.
Step 6: Finished!
Now your Book of Spells is finished! You can use it to keep treasures in, jewelry or mementos.
It looks great on a bookshelf or in a Halloween display.