Picture of Harry Potter style Hogwarts Library Spellbooks

I recently found a huge collection of ruined old books at the local dump and immediatly thought of Harry Potter the Hogwarts library.
This is a tutorial to show how I converted these old encyclopeadias into Hogwarts style spellbooks.

These books are a great way to display your Harry Potter wands or other collactables, and are very cheap and pretty quick to do, all you need is and old book some easily avaliable supplies and a fair ammount of patience!

Step 1: Choosing a book

Picture of Choosing a book
There are two VERY important disclaimers to note at this point, the first is that this is really and adults only project (or adult supervision STRONGLY recommended!) as you'll need to use a very sharp scalpel to cut the new title into the cover of the book. The second point is to be careful what book you use! The olny reason I could bear to de-face these books is because they had been left in the damp and rain for months so they were ruined before I started.
In short be VERY careful that you're not going to destroy a first edition copy of "Peter Pan" or "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Below is a pic of the book as I found it
curly gurly4 months ago
Brilliant Pete, just brilliant!!:)
Very cool!
SparkySolar10 months ago

Thank you. I am 51 and my daughter and I read all the books watched all the movies

SparkySolar10 months ago

Thank you. I am 51 and my daughter and I read all the books watched all the movies

framistan11 months ago

HOW TO CURE THE MOLDY SMELL IN WATER DAMAGED BOOKS: First, I want to say THANK YOU for including the step to carefully choose a book to destroy.... and that is not a job for a youngster to decide! One suggestion I would like to make is concerning using old damaged books that might smell "musty" or "moldy." I have very often caught a bad cold after reading an old book that had water damage and smelled moldy. I recently found a way to kill the germs or molds in the old book to make it safe to read again without getting sick. I just place the book in an oven for a couple hours and bake at a LOW temperature for a couple hours... like 200 degrees. The book will not catch fire because paper catches fire at 512f degrees. But the molds are killed and the book is safe to read again without getting sick. I like your instructable a lot.


furby13161 year ago
Eeee :)
Emmely1 year ago
I love this tutorial so much! I want to try it on a new hard cover notebook for a friend to write his poems in :)
jimnecaise1 year ago
Awesome Work... Thanks
Awesome!!! My kids are totally Harry Potter fans and all they didn't have we're the books ... now they do
dpriestner2 years ago
Hi i was wondering if you could use mod podge glue for the gold leaf stage?
MarikeA2 years ago
If you just cut out the letters only on the paper, and then spray paint the book gold, would that look good? Because I only have gold spray paint. (Ofcourse i would protect the book so the cover wont get gold all over it)
raen7142 years ago
This is great! I'm planning on doing this to one of the old encyclopedias I'm trying to get rid of. After making it look like an old spellbook (or maybe another book on the list), I'm going to cut out the pages and turn the inside into a holder for a calculator, pen, pencil, eraser, and lead so I don't have to take my entire bag to a final exam.
Nifro3 years ago
Wow thats a great idea
106555 views nice!!
Heart girl3 years ago
Omg this is amazing just started mine to day keep up the good work
Niongi3 years ago
What font did you use for the Potions book Moste Potente Potions?
cpaxton3 years ago
This is so cool! But could you please tell me how to change what's on the pages inside? I want to make them authentic
you can get info on taking out the pages and putting in new on-line. Basicly, cut out the old pages from the inside of the book. (one good slice at the spine on eather side will do it. Then cheet and get a ream of paper from the office store that has the look you want. (the tea and bake method just take to long) Print what you want. Clamp the pages leaving about 1 1/2 to 2 inches sticking out of the clamp. flex the pages one way painting a non shrinking glue with the bend and then bend it the other way and do it again. Let it dry for a while (an hour or two). Use wax paper, or something that will not stick, against the clamp and shift the glued ends down so that it will dry without warpingor cerving as it dries. Next get 2 inside cover pages for the insides. They should be as tall as the book pages but twice the length. Fold them in half and then glue the edge agains the spine about a 1/4 inch more than the pages where glued. Then take a peice of fabric and use a glue gun to atatch it up the spine of the pages for extra support. Next, use more of that non shrinking pager glue (Any craft store) and attach the other half of the inside cover page to the cover of the book. Paint the glue on the whole back side of that page and smooth it down.Press with heavy book till it all dries adn there you go. (try bing - book binding techniques, videos. That should get you some results to help.)
mrsohtobe4 years ago
As Ron Weasley would say, "This is bloody brilliant!"

Here is my attempt:

buddhacat4 years ago
I can't wait to try this! But I think I'll try a Discworld title...
kiwi168774 years ago
Oh my gosh! This is so complicated! You must be so smart to figure out how to do this!
ataraschke4 years ago
This is phenomenal. I can't wait to try it!
dhill64 years ago
Sell these on etsy. I'll buy a couple.
Buckbeak4 years ago
Just amazing! It's the one item I would buy as it looks authentic and now it may be possible to make it myself, I can hardly believe my luck. Thank you!!!
mslaynie4 years ago
Wow. I am absolutely blown away by this. You took those poor, ruined books and turned them into something worthy of displaying! Such an inspiration...

Thank you so much for sharing this! Now I've got one more task on my list of things to do...
Oh my! I really have to try that! 8D Thanks for the tutorial! ♥
Great! Thumbs up!!
maxiaxie5 years ago
I am only 13 and I use 'very sharp scalpels' regularly in my dissections (best way to learn about the body) and in construction.
i am also 13, and use scalpels for modeling, and half the time unintentionally dissecting myself.
im 14 and i use scapels 2
(YOUR N (YOUR N4 years ago
im 15 now d
I'm a 13 year old girl and I use scapels for modelling, dissection and craft. I can usually NOT dissecting myself, but my mum probably wouldn't let me near either her books or a scapel.
zayin maxiaxie5 years ago
I'm hoping that you are not harming live animals of any sort in order to dissect them. You can get organs of large animals from any real butcher shop - try kidneys, while reading about the transfers of solutes through membranes and the structures of kidneys in a college bio book. Maybe your school has dissecting scopes you can use in your investigations, or you can get an old on on eBay. In summer, I suggest trying dissecting flowers, seed pods, leaves, branches, etc. as well.
corse not, love animals, and i did plant biology over 5 years ago.
Clawdeen4 years ago
I'm definately looking forward to outfitting my Hogwarts outfit with the proper spellbooks!
crsunshine5 years ago
Wow, wow, wow!!! This has been a huge inspirtation.
Shastaw20065 years ago
I love this instructable, but cutting the title out was a bit much for me, so I'm combining it with this craftster tutorial: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=305857.0
amazing! i made 35 of them thanks!
Any suggestions as to where I might find some old big books like that?
Jeronimus5 years ago
Is there a story behind those other books on the last picture? They look interesting as well. Any details? I like making "props", but I can just never put myself to work. This, however, seems like something that's extremely fun and doable. So I've been meaning to try this project or something similar out for a while now... I'm trying to design an interesting cover title at the moment.
 I don't see this as just an adults project because of a xacto knife. I have been using them since I was nine or so. Granted maybe you shouldn't give a knife like that to a child with ADHD, ADD, or Autism, but I think your not giving our younger viewers the credibility they deserve.

Non the less do recommend supervision and give them some safety tips. But this would be a great project for kids if they want to make a harry potter themed bedroom or something.  

Great "Ible" 5.0!
Hey Im 14 and I have ADHD and i find that insulting
 imma fully functional autist and i don't find that insulting.
yeah me neither
You have to recommend adults only or adult supervision to be responsible. What parents choose to let kids do on their own is their business.

Having said that I was breaking my dad's old razor blades in half in the 3rd grade to make my own craft blades - had not yet heard of X-acto or single-edge blades LOL. Some teacher saw me using them to sharpen and shape pencil points and had kittens on the spot. Did not understand why regular pencil sharpeners weren't enough. Sigh. Artistic kids have been dealing with their own kind of "muggle" for years!

In fact I hereby propose a new use of the word "muggle" to mean oblivious people who just don't get what their more creative friends and neighbors are up to! (This should not be used to imply stupidity, but rather lack of a special understanding only a few people out of the billions in the world are lucky enough to have been given.)
I like your comment

I really mean no offence to my younger readers by stating "adults only", perhaps it should read "adult supervision recommended?" 

I've been on the loosing side of  numerous scalpel battles and have the (deep) scars to remember them by, I've had to go to hospital twice and have had plenty of stiches, all in the same finger!  

I just don't want to be responsible for anyone else hurting themselves! 
I am sorry if it's a bit patronising and thanks for all you kind words!


instead of useing a book, use cardboard or wood and put a bunch of carsstock in it
trebory65 years ago
 I had a question about how you acquired the books.   Did you have to dig through trash and waste to find them, or were they just at a junk yard or something?

I want to get old leather bound books, but have no idea where to find them.
Xessos5 years ago
 What font is that?
mee-mee5 years ago
 that poor book...
I think you could use stencils for the lettering if you didn't want to do all of that cutting. Or maybe use rubber stamps and ink .
aolsen5 years ago
 Bloody Brilliant!!
TechBot5 years ago
jenalden5 years ago
Brilliant job! Super inspirational. I have absolutely no use for this and no time to do it, and yet I read the whole thing and I'm dying to try it out. Great job.
exactly the same with me :]

great job, looks very legit!
what did you do about the spine on the book? was there lettering and engravings on there and if so did you change them up or leave them?

all the books i looked for today had spinal lettering running the length of it and that really didnt fit into my plan for the book
gingerpete50 (author)  TheDocLayton5 years ago
I cheated on the spines! Because the style I've gone for or heavily distressed, it doesn't look too out of place to just remove the old title from the spine, on these particular books the spine title was pretty small so it wasn't much of an issue. In fact on two of the books the spine covers had already come off! On the other I just scraped it away with a blade.

bassplry5 years ago
 where can you get gold leaf for cheap?

gingerpete50 (author)  bassplry5 years ago
If your in the UK then Hobby Craft, If your in the states then it's Michaels or Hobby Lobby. There is also plenty of cheap leaf on ebay.
googa5555 years ago
if there is a label already pressed into the cover of the book how do you take it off
gingerpete50 (author)  googa5555 years ago
Hmm, not sure, it depends on the label. You could try water. Wet a sponge or a rag and try to soak the label, then peel it away? Hope this helps.

caylieazn5 years ago
Should i print the title on plain printer paper? Or should i use a thicker paper?
Also, where did you find those swirly details that you put between the author and the title?

Your books look brilliant by the way.
gingerpete50 (author)  caylieazn5 years ago
You can just use regular printer paper, it'll be easier than using thicker paper. 
If you type "scrollwork clipart" into google images you'll be able to find something similar to the swirls I used. Make sure you don't pick something too detailed though or it'll be REALLY difficult to cut!

GREAT! Thanks for the artworks!
MDude5 years ago
There's also a few intructables on binding your own books, if you lack  ruined texts but have plenty of raw material.
 i was doin good until this step. im gettin owned right now
skimmo5 years ago
i also find it really really hard to damage books
maeve5 years ago
I did this to one of my favourite books... a really cheap, hardcover version of Pride and Predjudice. It looked really tacky and mock old, so I did this to it, and re-applied the title. Looks cool now, and it's still useable, pus attracts some funny glances. When I told one freind what I did to it, she was like, "What the Hell?" so now I just tell people I found it in my attic!
It was funny then, a week later I was helpingmy granny clear out her attic, and we found a book just like it, that was a medical encyclopadiea that had been hers when she began nursing! It looks just as cool, but isn't half as enjoyable to read!
tbird415 years ago
Wonderful!  I have a friend who is a huge Harry Potter fan . . . I wonder if this technique would work on a fake leather unlined journal; she loves to draw and sketch.  I've already hacked into damaged books to make hidey holes, so this seems like a logical next step!
notuboc5 years ago
ah! wonderful technique! i'm frankly not a hugh HP fan, but this same technique could be applied to anything of course. can't wait to try it out~
What do you mean by "adult version" of the Half Blood Prince?  Am I missing out on something??
In  the UK, they have two versions of books: Those toned down for kids, and the original for adults. I have actually managed to pick up an adult copy of the Half- Blood Prince. It is slightly different from the American release only because of the terminology and slang. So don't worry, it's not "Adult" adult.
bassplry5 years ago
 where can you get one of these books if you don't have a dump near you?

gingerpete50 (author)  bassplry5 years ago
You could try charity shops/thrift stores, or maybe a second hand bookshop.
I have been working at Goodwill, and there are a lot of books in their stores for cheap that could be turned into a Hogwarts Potion book, or some other thing.  There are a lot of hardbound collections of old Reader's Digest articles that can be found out there.
Usually if I get an email from this site it doesn't always catch my eye, but this is the exception.  Good work, I'll let you know if I make any, there is a great bookstore near me that puts books like this in their free bin all the time, so I just might.  One question though, is the gold real, and can you find it at any Michal's, or Hobby Lobby?
You can easily find gold leaf at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby back by the paints
Rhamza5 years ago
The only thing though, you may not want to go into the second hand book shop and telling them what you are going to do with the books. They will not sell you anything if you say you are going to deface the book and put your own title on it. just so you know in advanced. ^.^

This is a pretty cool idea, thanks for sharing!
might not be completely true. they might have ruined books too you know...
Well yes. I suppose that some stores could have ruined books that were in a box of books from an estate or something like that. It is just that every second hand book store I go into, the shop keepers are all in love with books. That is why they work there. I was just meaning that you might not be able to buy books from the store if you tell them that you are doing to 'ruin' a book by carving into the binding and cover. Just something to think about when going into a used book store, that's all. :) 
Icalasari5 years ago
Can you add a few steps for those who want to convert a newer book? e.g. What kind of leather to use, how to alter the cover, etc.

I have a friend who is a serious Harry Potter fan, so I could convert the first book of the series into something like this for his birthday
TamRock10035 years ago
badkaren5 years ago
how did you turn them into notebooks?  ie how did you remove the existing pages and insert blanks?

An idea:
There is a trend among artists known as "altered books". Basically, you glue several of the exisiting pages together to create a thicker page to work with. then you can paint the page white to have a clean slate or you can use the pages as they are.

You can then paint designs, wording, etc on the pages as well as ad embellishments and other "stuff"

You can easily keyword search "altered book" in your favorite search engine.

Here is a pretty cool site I just picked at random to get you started:

This Instructable was a very good example of work you can do to the cover. I hope this reply encourages others to work inside the book as well.

zieak badkaren5 years ago
I don't think that's what they did.  Although that would be nice... I think in this form the book is great to have a wand set on to help round out a display.  Right?
Starrystar5 years ago
 Oh wow, that looks incredible!!
cardigans5 years ago
It's Brilliant!
zook745 years ago
While I'm no HP fan, the results here are fabulous (fobulous, dahling), and I think I may employ a similar technique to create unique looks to my sketchbooks.

seamountie5 years ago
A suggestion  

After you have printed your stencil and cut to size, spray the back of it with spray adhesive and let it dry (at least 10 min or so).  The adhesive will remain tacky, but will not come off on what you stick the stencil to. 

Place you stencil where required.

Do your steps, but with the stencil adheased to the work, the center of your 'O's etc won't come off.  If you leave the stencil in place, it can then be used as a mask for putting on the leaf size.  When finished, just pick an edge of your stencil/mask up with your scalpel and peel it off.  There will be no residue.

I have used this technique for stencil placing and cutting.  It really makes working with the paper stencil much easier.
Rhamza5 years ago
Awesome, thanks for the future project!
lunastyx5 years ago
What a WONDERFUL Instructable. I am a book printer & binder, miniature books but an occasional full size & I could never had don the steps so well as you did. They were concise & easy to follow & I think a novice could do this project. Afterall, if someone is on the Instrctables page they must be bold, do-it-yourselfer types, eh? Perfect job!
Excellent work! Combine this with one of the many "book safe" Instructables and you're talking pure gold! Now I just need to find some old books ...
whiteoakart5 years ago
Brilliant!  You have done a very professional job.
ciroman5 years ago
 well destroying any book isn't a good thing to do, besides that the first problem arises in the actual beginning of your instructable - getting old used books with a cover like that...
wilderness5 years ago
Thankd for the instructible - I was just interested in techniques for making things look old, and you have some nice ones. It's all very nicely done - not too contrived to be convincing. i reckon it's a really good Idea to start with something that's alreadu a bit old and damaged, to make the effect mor organic looking.

Just a thought - could you paint on some sort of mask on before cutting the letters (or even use a layer of masking tape), so that when you paint on the size, it doesn't overflow the edges at all, but gives you a nice crisp and accurate edge?


MBaezaV5 years ago
NIce books!! a question.. what font did you use in photoshop?
gingerpete50 (author)  MBaezaV5 years ago

 I used Imperator Small Caps as the basic font, then spaced out the letters to 325 and squashed them vertically down to 75%

Hope that helps



very nice
lemonie5 years ago
That's the stuff alright.

zieak5 years ago
That really is a beautiful reuse!
Jayefuu5 years ago
Amazing work. They look great. And nice Swann Morton scalpel you have there :)
Beautiful results! I work at a used bookstore, and this would be a great use of some of the older volumes we can't sell. :)