Introduction: Cover Books Beautifully

This a tutorial on how to cover books to a great standard! It's simple once you know how and can yield great results! This will should you just the covering process, I will make a separate tutorial for how I made the designs on my books, but of course how you decorate yours is entirely up to you!

Step 1: You Will Need...

1. Books to cover! I cover the sketchbooks I use for my degree to make them personal to me. The best kind of book for this is one with a matte or non-shiny cover as these will bind more strongly with the covering. 2. Paper to cover your books, you may even want to use fabric, thicker papers are best for this as thinner ones could rip or crease up too much. 3. Glue, PVA or stick, but preferably both. And some tape. A pot for your glue and a spreader or brush. 4. Scissors, or if you're like me, a craft knife and ruler. 5. A free space and if you're impatient, a hot radiator or hair dryer.

Step 2: First Thing's First

This may be more of a problem if you're covering a book that has already been filled but we'll get to that later if you have. Be sure to reserve a page at the beginning and end of your book. The very first and very last pages. This will make the difference between simply covering a book and making it look professional.

Step 3: A Perfect Fit

Choose your covering material and make sure it will fit around your entire book with an extra 2 inch overlap all around. The straighter this is cut the better so take some time to do it. Once cut, wrap the material around the book, sort if like it's folded in half and make sure there is an equal amount of overlap at each end and at the sides. Once the paper is wrapped around the book, lay it down flat on one side, it doesn't matter which.

Step 4: Secure!

Now that the book is laid down, open it up but keep a hand on the cover that on the surface, more all of the pages out of the way and secure the end overlap to the inside of the cover with a piece of tape. Don't let the cover move from where it had been when you positioned it.

Step 5: Stick!

Flip the book over and close it with your covering material attached but out if the way. Add a generous layer of PVA glue spread evenly and paying extra attention to the corners. Only apply this to the cover your material is attached to for now. This can be done with a glue stick but the results will be poor compared to PVA or other pastes.

Step 6: It Gets Tricky

Fold the paper over onto the glued surface. Keep the paper taught but don't be rough or it will rip. using a flat palm firmly smooth your material over the cover from the centre out to the edges. Be careful not to let the paper crease, this becomes more if risk with thinner materials. Ripples on the surface are also a likelihood, but don't worry these will disappear as the glue dries.

Step 7: Attention to Detail

Run your finger along the indent before the spine to make sure this is secure, this is where the book moves and needs to be stuck down tight!

Step 8: Now for the Rest

Lie the adhered cover down flat so that the remaining cover and spine are visible. Cover these in glue as before, don't forget the corners! Next roll the book over, onto the paper, the flat surface will help spread the paper nice and evenly. As before, use a firm hand to smooth out creases and secure any edges. You can also pull gently at the edges of the paper to keep it taught over the book cover.

Step 9: Simples

Fold over the remaining overlap and secure it with tape like you did at the beginning.

Step 10: Wait.

Take a break to let your glue dry and adhere properly to your book cover. Leave it on the radiator and have a cup of tea. Letting it dry will make the last few steps much easier.

Step 11: Tabs!

You're now left with overlaps at the top and bottom of the book, to make the cover work neatly, we need to make these into tabs that can be folded away. The overlaps at the corners of cover don't need to be cut, these can be folded as shown, near the spine, triangle should be cut away leaving a large tab for the cover and a pointy triangle protruding for where the spine lies. This needs to be done on both sides of the book.

Step 12: Fold!

The next part is pretty obvious, leave the spine for now, but on both covers, fold down your tabs and secure with a generous helping of PVA

Step 13: Seal the Spine

Open the book out and stand it up, this will make the spine if your book pop open. Use your brush or spreader to apply a little glue to the inside of the spine. Then, still using the brush, push the triangle of paper down into the spine gap for a lovely neat spine.

Step 14: Wow! It Looks Like a Book!

Almost there, just one more step to make your book finished and complete!

Step 15: Finally!

Remember those pages we kept free at the beginning? Here's where they come in, apply another covering of glue, this time on the inside of the books cover, all over the tabs too. Then simply close the book. The spare page will stick to your book's cover and hide the messiness and evidence of covering the book. You should now have a lovely and neatly covered book, ready for showing off and doing whatever you like with :) enjoy!