Introduction: Custom Covers for Your Harry Potter Novels
I am a big fan of the Potter series. I really wanted a nice set of collector's styled editions for my shelves, but I'm not too keen on the deluxe editions that have been released. They are also pretty pricy, and considering that I already own copies of all the books, it seemed a little indulgent to spend so much on another set.
So I decided to re-cover my hardback copies of the standard editions with my own "deluxe" design, to add a bit more style to my bookshelves.
I am also using this project as an excuse to have a play with laser transfer foil, which I've never used before. I've got to say, it's pretty amazing stuff, and opens up a world of possibilities. I sourced my foil at a great site called Crafty Computer Paper ( They have LOTS of exciting products!)
The laser transfer foil only works with Laser printers, or photocopies. It does not work with inkjet printouts. I managed to buy an old black and white laser printer on ebay for £17 delivered (a steal!)
This technique can be applied to any hardback book, and I'm tempted to make some similar styled covers for some other series I have. The His Dark Materials series, or maybe some of Feist's novels too.
Step 1: Preparing the Cover Art and Choosing the Paper
I used some imaging software to create the new cover design digitally. I measured the books covers, then transfered them to into the software, and added the titles, and graphics.
It took a while to get everything perfect, but a few test prints later, I was confident enough to put my good quality paper through the laser printer to get a final front cover.
The paper I went for has a marble style pattern on it, I liked the colour, and I though it had a bit of a Hogwarts feel to it. I actually got it in A3 size, then cut it in half to get some A4 sheets, as this was a much cheaper way to buy it.
Below is a pic of the first run of the new cover on the marble paper.
Step 2: Adding the Laser Transfer Foil
Then I got out the laser transfer foil. This was cut into small shapes with scissors, just big enough to cover the parts of the image that we want to be gold.
Once this is in place, I covered the print out, and the gold foil with a blank sheet of paper, sandwiching the foil.
Then I got the laminating machine going. I set it to it's highest temperature and waited for it to heat up. Then ran through my paper/foil/paper sandwich.
If you don't have a laminator, you can also use an standard iron to complete this step. I haven't used this method yet, but I understand it can be a little more difficult to get an nice even heat.
Step 3: Revealing Your New Foil Design
Once the cover had ran through the laminator, I removed the protective sheet of blank paper. You will see where the laser toner has "melted" itself to the back of the foil, the foil has "puckered" where the toner is.
I slowly removed the sheet of foil. This revealed the gold foil, now bonded to the paper.
Take a look at the photos below to get an idea of how shiny the new cover is.
Step 4: Fixing the New Cover to the Book
Once the foil is in place, I cut the new cover to size, then started to glue it into place.
I used a good, strong contact adhesive. These come with many different names, but they are all pretty similar. This is VERY smelly stuff, so make sure you leave a window open whilst your using it!
I applied a nice thin, even layer of glue onto the front cover of the book, and then did the same to the back of the new cover. Then waited a few minutes for the glue to become "tacky"
Then I carefully (you only have one chance at this!) lay the book's hardcover, onto the new cover, making sure they are nice and straight. Then turned it over and smoothed it all out with my hand.
Step 5: Fixing the Edges
The next stage is to fix down the edges.
For this I used a good quality double sided tape. I applied a strip of tape over the whole of the underside of the top and bottom flaps, then removed the backing paper, and carfully folded the flaps over the edge of the hardcover, and pressed them down to fix.
I then moved onto the side flap. I turned in the two corners, as pictured below, then lay another strip of tape over the length of the flap (making sure to trap the folded corners)
Then I removed the backing strip from the tape and carefully fold the flap into place.
The front cover is now finished.
Then I repeated all the previous steps for the back cover, before moving onto the spine.
Step 6: Starting the Spine
The spine process is just the same as the front and back covers really.
I'm using a nice deep maroon colour for the spines. This paper is slightly thicker than the front and back cover paper, but make sure it will still go through the printer.
I repeated the foiling process, then cut it to size and glued in place as before.
Step 7: Finishing
Once the new spine was in place, I trimed the corners of the middle flaps, top and bottom, to make them easier to tuck behind the original spine.
Then I bent them over and just tucked them in, no need for glue or tape here.
I then applied some more double sided tape to the rest of the flaps, then folded them over and fix into place. This can be quite tricky to get nice and flat, I had to trim off a little of the inside edge of the flap to make sure it cleared the pages section of the book.
The new cover is now all fixed in place, and very nearly done. The final, finishing step, was to (lightly!) wax the whole of the new cover, with a clear/natural furniture beeswax. This may seem a little odd, but it's the magic ingredient that really makes the new cover look "real"
Here are some photos of the finished covers. You can get an idea here of the "antique" sheen the furniture wax gives to the book. It really adds something, to the spines especially.
Currently, I've only finished the Prisoner of Azkaban, and the Goblet of Fire, but the rest will follow!
I hope you like them.