Introduction: Cardboard Props: Antique Book/ Magic Spell Book (Papier Mache)

About: I'm an un-repentant mess creator... I'll turn my hand to anything and providing i get my fingers back... I'm happy.

Okay, so on my props list I saw that I had to make a magic book for one of the sketches, I was considering just buying an old worn book and modding it, like in that FANTASTIC Harry Potter book mod... But then I realized I had ALREADY made a book some years ago... and it must be in my black hole of a bedroom... Luckily I hadn't chucked it out... and what luck it was in perfectly usable condition, it just needed a lick of paint!

This prop is great for LARP or for school plays

Since I constructed this book maybe about 4 years ago now, I was a little... stuck, as I knew it would make a GREAT Instructable.. But I had no pictures of how I put it together.... so if you can suffer my diagrams done in paint, I think we should get along great!

Let me know if you have any problems


NB: I think the original idea for the book came from watching Artattack, or SmArt or something when i was a kid So, thanks to Tony Heart or Neil Buchannan whichever gave me the idea when i was like 9 ;)

Step 1: Ingredients!

So, as I cast my mind back i shall attempt to give you a list of what you will need

* Cardboard- anything froma  cerial box to a cardboard crate will work!
* Knife/ Scissors
* Glue- Pva all the way for this one! You'll need loads of it later when you papier mache it
* Unused (hehe) Toilet roll
* Newspaper
* Paints
* Ruler
* Pen/Pencil
* Time: This one hopefully shouldn't take you over 4 years, but it is abit f a time consuming one!

~*~ NB: Key

Red line on diagram = Fold / Score line

Green dotted Line= Cut out line ~*~

Step 2: Come in and Make Yourself a Tome...

Okay dimensions are going to be tricky, I'm sure if your thinking of making something like this you already have a size in mind. So i shall not give you my measurments... unless you want them then let me know and i'll try and measure it up

First grab yourself a nice big rectangle of cardboard, and mark where you would like the spine to be, remember big old books are generally rather chunky, and i made mine to fit a ream of paper. Score/Fold where you would like the spine to sit. Making sure that the Front of the book and the back of the book are equal sizes.

Step 3: My Book It Has 4 Corners... 4 Corners Has My Book!

I decided to make my book a big leather bound thing with brass corners, so, i cut a set of  L shapes out which i glued (using good old school room PVA) into the corners on the front and back covers of the book.

Step 4: Spine Time!

This bit was a wee bit fiddly as i remember, i decided that i wanted a curved spine to my book, so i cut a rectangle of cardboard (wider than the spine itself) and bent it round a bottle to make it rounded.  I then glued it in place along the spines edges . You may want to use abit of masking tape to hold it in place.

Step 5: Banding...things... Whatever They Are

Just to add a little bit of detail and to make the thing look rather posh, I decided to glue on some small rectangles to the spine of the book to look like brass bindings... If i remember correctly Art attack used some thick rope... but this works better me thinks.

Once i had cut out the rectangles I glued them in place with the good old PVA and left them to dry.

Step 6: Buckle!

Now i must have been feeling REALLY artistic when i decided to make it one of those fancy books with a buckle!


As you can see from my drawing I cut out two rectangles (one with a rounded end) , one to form the strap, the other to form the buckle.

To make the buckle section, you are going to want to fould/score four lines... ( i know sorry i have missed that out in my picture.... but you get the idea... you want to make a sort of n shape, roughly wide enough so that your strap will fit into it

The strap only needs scoring/ folding twice, so that when you want to lock the book, it will be able to bend arround the pages and 'lock' into place


Glue them in place... Make sure they line up, else they wont fit together

Step 7: It's Like Being Five Again!

Now, people have different ideas when it comes to papier mache... I however follow what tv tought me all those years ago.

cut/shread newspaper into strips... and with the aid of PVA glue (some people mix it with water... but i dont) cover the entire peice untill you can't see any cardboard... THEN add shets of toilet roll... repete this process maybe four or five times, so you have a layer of loo roll and a layer of newspaper ontop of a layer of loo roll etc..

I also did the insides of the book... Don't ask why... it is a fair way back!

Step 8: Fin.

Thats pretty much it.... All you need do is paint the book as you want it... Maybe add a few pretend jewlels?

With this one i just painted it a mucky brown colour, painted the fixings gold, and dry brushed black over the top... simple as...

What you can also do if you are that way inclined...  by gluing one of the straight edges of a ream of paper together you can easilly fill this book with pages to write on.... Recycled paper looks better than the acid white coppier stuff... Or you can age white paper by soaking it for a few seconds (and leaving it to dry) in either black tea or coffee... Its up to you... But thats the end of my book ...