Book Protector




Introduction: Book Protector

About: Hi, I'm Craig. I live in the UK.

A leather/metal wrap to protect a paperback book.
When I commuted to work on a train I enjoyed reading but my books got damaged whilst in my ruck sack. Here I describe my solution, a leather and metal book wrap. 

Step 1: Materials



  • Sharpe knife for cutting leather
  • Drill
  • 2mm drill bit Amazon link - Fine bit for making holes to sew though in the metal.



The leather came from Amazon had some bits at around a handy 210mm x 295mm so mine didn't need much cutting to size. A sturdy pair of scissors was used to cut the leather, depending on thickness a knife can be cleanly run along the edge of a metal ruler to give a clean true cut over a longer distance.
I've made a couple of covers like the one above and think that leather of at least 2mm thickness works best.

I've used aluminum sheet for the one pictured but anything flat will do! The aluminum is a couple of millimeters thick and has held up relatively well to the abuses of being in my bag.

Leather punches
Can be home made from a nail, instructable here!.

Step 2: Measure & Cut

Measure your books
The majority of my paper backs are around 110mm - 130mm wide and 180mm - 200mm tall. Cut your metal backing piece so that it is ~10mm taller and 5mm wider than the biggest book you're likely to want to carry. This overhang will hopefully protect the corners of your books.

With the metal of the correct size cut the leather. I've left 5mm top and bottom.

The width of the leather depends on how thick you like your books. Mine is 570mm, but this was mostly determined by the leather I had available. This goes around a good sized book one and a half times.

Step 3: Drill & Sew

Mark holes for drilling
You could glue your backing plate to the leather but I prefer to sew it on. Mark one edge of the metal every 7mm, my aluminium sheet was soft so a small nail and a firm hammer were used to mark the point and provide a centre for the drill.
I find leather much easier to sew when the holes are made with drill or pierced with a nail. Forcing a needle through two thickness's of 2mm leather runs the risk of snapping a needle and stabbing a hand. So mark holes 7mm apart and drill or pierce.

If you have a drill press or a steady hand you could clamp and/or glue the leather and drill through the whole lot.

Sew the bits together and you're done! I used strong cotton thread doubled and something approaching a saddle stitch.

Step 4: Tool the Leather

Optional decoration
With a nail punch I've added an oak leaf, acorn and mushroom pattern to the leather to make the join a little more attractive.

This kind of embellishment is quite basic but it can be done fairly quickly and cheaply and I like it :) To make something like this, wet the leather with water, hammer the punch, repeat until happy.

The leather punches are home-made, the idea came from an old book I used to have, I did a full intractable on them here!

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    Nostalgic Guy
    Nostalgic Guy

    11 years ago on Introduction

    A nice idea I wish I had one when I travelled to work by train all the time, sharing a bag with a laptop & all my cables & other paraphernalia did not do my books any favours at all.
    When I first started to work with leather I would score my stitching line with the back of a butter knife then use the sharpened tines of a steel fork to mark my holes I still use this method occasionally but now have a wheeled stitch marker for the job. If you are going to do a lot of leather work you may find something like this useful. It helps to keep the stitches straight & if you score the line deeply enough your stitching will be flush with the surface of the leather.
    I still carry books in my backpack when I know I will have a long wait for an appointment or I am travelling so I will probably make something similar, I like the idea of velcro but I may substitute the aluminium for a thin steel plate & use a couple of hard drive magnets for the closure.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Could you add a Velchro closure?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, velcro could be a handy addition. I used an over sized wrap because it works for books of any thickness or multiple books, with velcro fastening you might strip vertical on the inside edge and one horizontal on the outside.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I was looking for something like this about a month ago. I finally settled for making a slip case from some nice wood. It allows me to include a companion volume in the one slip case.  Click on the link above to see is as an Instructable.  It is serving me well, but I still like your leather cover.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Correction to my comment above: "to see IT as an Instructable..."