Introduction: Duct Tape Book Cover!

Picture of Duct Tape Book Cover!

This is an instructable describing, in detail, how to create a book cover out of the most useful tool known to mankind, duct tape.

Step 1: Materials...

Picture of Materials...

1. A book
2. duct tape
3. scissors
4. marker
5. tape measure (not necessary, but helpful)

Step 2: Preperation...

Picture of Preperation...

Okay, heres what I did...

Step 1. Measure your book (HxW) My book is 91/2 inches tall by 17 inches wide.
To find the width you will need, you need to open your book about halfway. This should
lay both the front and the back cover on the table, along with the spine. The covers
on my book are both 71/2 inches, and the spine is 2 inches. Voila, 17 inches.

Step 2. We need to decide the size of our sheet. First I added 4 inches total to the height
and 10 inches to the total width. It's apparent to anyone who's covered a book
before why we need this slack, but if you haven't, just trust me. That makes our total
about 14 x 27 inches.

Step 3. Preperation: Clean off your work surface. Gather your supplies.

Step 3: Sheet!

Picture of Sheet!

Making the sheet is pretty simple.

Since our total height is 14 inches and our roll of duct tape is 2 inches wide, we'd need 7 strips to make the height. 7 strips at 27 inches long.

To make this easier I took my tape measure and measured a spot 27 inches from the edge of the table and put a small piece of tape there as a measurement guide. Make sure you are not doing this on a good piece of furniture, as duct tape WILL pull the finish off of some wood.

Next I pulled 7 strips off the roll each about 27 inches long. Remember, you get NO points for perfection here.

I laid each of these strips (STICKY SIDE UP) out edge to edge making a 14 inch by 27 inch series of strips. I call these the 'field strips.'
To hold them together You will need 8 more strips 27 inches long. I call these 'binding strips.' Start by placing the first binding strip half on the first field strip and half on the second field strip. Make sure these are STICKY SIDE DOWN.

Continue this with five more binding strips and you should have 1 inch of sticky side showing on the top and bottom.

Then take the last 2 binders and place one sticky side down, half on the first field strip, half on the table, the last one goes half on the last field strip, half on the table, sticky side down.

Take a straight edge and make a line along both side edges and cut along the line to make a nice straight rectangle.

Then you're going to flip the sheet over. You should have 1 inch of sticky side showing at the top and bottom. Fold both sticky sides inward to make a nice folded over edge on both the top and the bottom.

There you have it: a 14 x 27 inch sheet of duct tape.

Step 4: In the Fold.

Picture of In the Fold.

Okay, we're almost home now.

Anyone who has successfully covered a book can figure out the next few steps, but for those that haven't:

This is where all the slack comes in. Lay out our sheet. Mark 2 inches up from the bottom, and 2 inches down from the top. I used the book to make a nice straight line. Be careful not to mark the book, they are VERY expensive.

Then remove the book and fold the sheet on the lines you just made.

Set the book back down to hold the folds in place.

Step 5: Lit. Book, Side Pocket.

Picture of Lit. Book, Side Pocket.

Next you're going to open the book about halfway again, laying evenly on the sheet. Try to leave about the same amount on both sides, about 5 inches each. Go ahead and mark the sheet again where the book covers end.

Now close the book and open only the front cover. Fold the left side of the sheet along the line, and insert it into the pocket that is formed by the flaps. Push it in all the way to the fold, then close the book so that the back cover is facing up.

Take this opportunity to stabilize the flaps by placing a piece of duct tape on each flap, taping the flap down to the sheet where the spine will sit. This helps to keep the flaps from unfolding during prolonged or rough use.

Now open the back cover only. Fold the right side of the sheet inward on the line. Duct tape is flexible enough that you can insert the back cover into it's pocket with little trouble. Then push the cover all the way into the pocket to the fold. Then close the book.

Next, take a couple pieces of tape and fold them over the edge of the cover to hold the pocket firmly against the cover (front and back, top and bottom).

Step 6: Labels!

Picture of Labels!

Since very few people can see through duct tape, we attach some labels!

You could go writing all over this cover. The one you just spent an hour on. Or, you could write on a separate sheet of tape and place it on the cover and the spine, thereby making this cover RE-USABLE!!!

*It takes very little reconfiguration to reuse this on smaller books, and only the addition of a couple strips to reuse it on a larger book!

Believe me, it's worth it. These covers age like a good concert t-shirt.

Step 7: Book Tail!

Picture of Book Tail!

No we're not making a book tail, it's a book mark!

This is everyone's favorite part of this cover.

Here's what you do:

Take a strip of duct tape, about 5 inches longer than your book is tall. Mine is about 14 inches. Next, two inches in from one end make two marks. If the strip is laying in front of you left to right, you will make your two marks vertically, one coming down from the top 1/3 of the width of the tape, and one coming up from the bottom 1/3 of the width. SEE PHOTO. This is very important. Each mark is only 1/3 of the tapes width.

Now, cut along those marks. This releases the edges of the strip, leaving the two inch by two inch piece attached to the larger piece, by only one third of the strip. Fold the bottom third of the long piece up, then follow by folding the top third down. This makes something like a tape-on tail.

Next, take your 'tail' and tape it to the lowest part of the spine of the book by the 2 inch x 2 inch sticky part leaving the slender portion to dangle.

Lastly, take a piece about six inches long and tape over the 2 x 2 sticky part, for added support.
Start by putting two inches of it on the front cover, next to your tail attachment point, and then wrap it around pressing firmly all the way to the back cover.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Now take your lit. book to school, and when everyone asks you to make them one, point them to this instructable.

When they come to school the next day with one, tell them to stop copying you, and stick out your tongue.



Mrballeng (author)2011-04-18

I did this to my math book in the 7th grade. My math teacher freaked out thinking I taped directly to the book. Good times.

account3r2 (author)Mrballeng2011-09-18


SylverX (author)2009-04-29

This is awesome! Sadly, I only have about 1 month left of school, but. . .I could do this next year, right?? Sweet, duct tape! With it, we could fix all the world's problems! :P Who made duct tape anyway?? SylverX

hailtothkngbby (author)SylverX2009-05-03

Thanks! I don't think the book cover has an expiration date! Bookmark it until you get next years books! It appears Johnson and Johnson invented duct tape in 1942.

duct tape was invented because the army men people could keep their amo dry. they saw how it repelled water like ducks, hence the name Duck Tape. It was origanally army green. Then they used it to repair broken ducts, changing the name to Duct Tape and also changing the color tho the gray color.

crak-a-bottle (author)SylverX2010-04-12

lol i know what you mean about not having long left in the year...every year, i think of something awesome to do to my homework planner, and then it comes to the end of the year, and the planner becomes useless :(

no_fear (author)2009-01-03

Awesome Instructable. Yes, you could point your friends to this tutorial, or you could make some extras and sell them. That's what I would do.

hailtothkngbby (author)no_fear2009-01-05

Thanks! Maybe selling one or two could help recoup the money spent on your roll of duct-tape, lol.

Saturn V (author)hailtothkngbby2010-05-22

Then you use the extra money for more duct tape, and before you know it, you have a duct tape book cover empire!  But whoever does this will need to give you a portion of the profits.

hailtothkngbby (author)Saturn V2010-05-23

I would pay to meet the man who could turn this into an empire!

Saturn V (author)hailtothkngbby2010-05-24

It's possible.  I don't beleve in many things, but I do beleve in duct tape.  It also looks really good.

no_fear (author)hailtothkngbby2009-01-05

I just thought of something else. There are all the different colors of duct tape now too, so you could make it out of a different color. Or hell, you could do a rainbow. Lol. Not really my style, but it's a thought.

hailtothkngbby (author)no_fear2009-01-08

I did make a camouflage one for a book a few years ago. When I was in my ROTC uniform, you could barely see I was carrying it! I dig the colored duct tape, but for some small reason, most of the stuff I do with duct tape, is still in the old-school grey kind. I can't say why, with the myriad of colors, I haven't found anything I like better, but I think it just feels more authentic, more homemade, with the grey stuff.

agent (author)hailtothkngbby2009-02-24

Grey is just classic. I prefer grey to any color when it comes to duck (or duct (I originally thought that it was duck and it was the brand I first used)) tape.

toaignika (author)2009-09-04

Duct tape is wonderful for everything except doing what it was made for, repairing ducts, so sad

hailtothkngbby (author)toaignika2010-02-21

Duct tape is wonderful. That's where I would end that

Saturn V (author)hailtothkngbby2010-05-22

When in doubt, break out the duct tape.

hailtothkngbby (author)Saturn V2010-05-23


crak-a-bottle (author)2010-04-12

when you buy books that already have a little ribbon book mark attached, why do they always attach it at the top so it sticks out the bottom? I always thought doing it the other way - as in this awesome 'ible - would make more sense.
I'm going to go and make one RIGHT NOW, to cover my army cadets pocket book, possibly the least durable item of my kit...

its a little scruffy, but i don't think it's bad for a first duct tape project ^.^
cheers for the great instructable!

Nice work! I like my bookmarks to hang out the top as well.

junits15 (author)2009-09-12

I have that exact same textbook

hailtothkngbby (author)junits152010-02-21

I love this text. It was being decommissioned when I passed American Lit, and my teacher let me keep my copy. I still thumb through it all the time.

junits15 (author)hailtothkngbby2010-02-24

it does have some very good stories in it.

hailtothkngbby (author)junits152010-02-26

I definitely agree!

watermelonhead (author)2009-08-26

Cool! I lurves duct tape, but i have a bunch of paper bags that mah mom expects me to use.

Paper bags are cool too, just not as tough...

Yes. They're good for doodling on too, and I can't go a single period of math class without doodling.
What I ended up doing was caver it with paper, then i bordered it with all mah colorful duct tape :D

DucttapeNinja (author)2010-02-18

This is an invaluable project for students. I made a few in highschool and my books were completely weatherproof! I actually used my PreCalc textbook to shield my head in heavy rain/hail with no damage to the pages at all.

I wish I had thought of that book tail, though. Great idea! A well made instructable, and fine product.

Thanks for the complement! I love the way it looks, and it is super tough. I have never used it to protect me from the rain though, but I'm sure it would hold up pretty well!

killersquirel11 (author)2010-01-14

another way to do this if you want to conserve on duct tape is to get a piece of paper to cover then duct tape the paper.  Almost as strong and looks identical

sharlston (author)2009-08-07

woaa thats well good,neat design -sharlston

hailtothkngbby (author)sharlston2009-08-09


sharlston (author)2009-08-04

this is awsome im considering making one :)

hailtothkngbby (author)sharlston2009-08-05

You definitely should! Even if you don't need it currently, you can make one extra large and then use it on a book you must cover in the future!

adome (author)2009-03-29

And removal of tape? I would use a layer of wax paper to protect the actual book from the adhesive.

audioredneck (author)adome2009-06-01

Ummm....I believe if you follow the directions, you will find that *no* part of the book comes in contact with adhesives. The tape only adheres to itself and the book is held by the pockets created.

That's correct. You aren't actually putting tape on your book. The only adhesive that ever comes in contact with the books surface, is the tiny bit at the very edge of the duct tape. This edge-adhesive is unavoidable due to the cutting they do in the production process.

hailtothkngbby (author)2009-05-07


Matt D655 (author)2008-12-29

It's cool but not the best thought

tyeo098 (author)2008-09-10

And theres NO sticky residue on the book? Did you take off the over and check? I made a duct tape wallet once, and sticky stuff got all over my DL

hailtothkngbby (author)tyeo0982008-09-10

After prolonged use, there will be some sticky residue, but a little cleaning is worth no REAL damage to the, sometimes expensive, book.

Foaly7 (author)hailtothkngbby2008-12-18

About how long is "prolonged"?

hailtothkngbby (author)Foaly72008-12-20

I would say after a couple months maybe. It's really just some thin lines from the very edges of the duct tape. I have never found it to be a problem.

tyeo098 (author)hailtothkngbby2008-09-10

Then maybe, duct tape over like saran wrap?

hailtothkngbby (author)tyeo0982008-09-10

With the laminate on the covers of most textbooks, I don't find the adhesive to be too big a problem. Its only very small amounts, in very thin lines from the edges of the tape. A small amount of rubbing alcohol on a rag will take it right off. Honestly, it's not that much. I have these on a couple of my personal texts, and I wouldn't destroy my own literature, but if you must, you could probably replace the binding sheets with full sheets of construction paper. Just cut the sheets to fit over the field strips. It's on the inside so you wouldn't see it anyway. However, it's really not that much adhesive.

tyeo098 (author)hailtothkngbby2008-09-10

Will then with the paper, there NO chance of residue, and youd use half as much duct tape correct? plus it would be lighter and more freely moving.

hailtothkngbby (author)tyeo0982008-09-11

You would use 1/2 the tape, and it would perhaps be lighter and more flexible, but i assure you, would last nowhere NEAR as long. Then again, if you are going to go that route, you might as well cover your book in a brown paper bag, and then just wrap it in duct tape. At least that way, you wouldn't have to be all worried about the stickiness, or the flexibility, or the weight, or whatever math may or may not be involved. I would point out though, that then you would no longer have a duct tape book cover. You would have a paper cover, covered in tape, and that takes nearly ALL the cool out of this.

tyeo098 (author)hailtothkngbby2008-09-10

And based on your measurments, you could do 11 14x27 books.
2in* (180 ft*12in/ft) =4320in2

Foaly7 (author)2008-12-18

Awesome! I gotta find some duct tape.

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