Introduction: Harry Potter Trunk and Books

I was not intending to make an instructable on this so I don't have process photos but there are lots of tutorials on book-making on the internet which I will reference and I will do my best to explain my process as clearly as possible.  A description of each item in the set is shown below the description of the process I used.

Book contents: 

Three of the books have content written and published by JK Rowling which I typed in and formatted.  These are The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through The Ages. 

The content of "Charm Your Own Cheese" is recipes that I found by searching the internet for Harry Potter Recipes. 

The content of the remaining books was developed using several websites and several books about the Harry Potter series.  Some of the book are primarily "dictionaries" of some subject area of the books - spells, potions, plants, monsters, etc.  Others, like History of Magic and Magical Theory are more like short essays on various subjects such as communication and transportation in the wizarding world, types of magic like divination or transformation, and timelines of both the history of the wizarding world and the book series.  I combined info from various sources, found or developed illustrations where possible and formatted the text with various fonts.

Printing the books:

I printed the books using a program called "Clickbooks" which does the "imposition" for you so that the pages print correctly for binding.  For a description of imposition see

Binding the books:

The bindings were made with mostly recycled materials.   The "boards" or cover and spine materials were recycled from the covers of discarded books or from game boards rescued from dead games.  The leathers were from old garments, mostly coats or skirts.

The hardback books were made by sewing the book block on tapes and using a "cased in" method to attach the book block to the cover.  Many tutorials on that method are available on the internet, for example  Videos can be found on youtube by searching on "bookbinding casing in". 

The pink "Charm Your Own Cheese" and the green suede "Herbology" are "single signature" or "pamphlet" bindings which are very quick and easy to make.  First the leather was glued to a decorative paper using PVA glue and then cut to size and the paper signature was then sewn into the cover.  A tutorial on this type of binding is available at The green binding was made to wrap around in an envelope style and close using a button while the pink one has ribbon simply laced through cuts in the leather so that the book can be tied shut.

The burgundy leather binding with a wrap-around thong and gold decoration was made by sewing the signatures through the leather and adding beads along the spine.  A tutorial for this type of binding is available here:

The off-white book with brown leather straps across the spine and brown leather toggle closure was based on a medieval "ledger" binding type.  I could not find any tutorials on that type of binding.

The Monster Book of Monsters was constructed the same way as the other hardback bindings using a heavy, durable paper for the covering instead of leather.  The teeth, tongue, eyes and tentacles were made from polymer clay using the "flex" type for the tongue and tentacles.  The teeth were made and cured first, then the gums were added to the teeth and attached to the cover using white glue and cured.  The tentacles were then made and attached to the cover using PVA glue and the book was again "cooked" to cure the clay.  The tongue was made separately and glued to the inside of the back cover.  After all of the polymer clay work was done, the cover was attached to the book block.  Finally, the eyes were glued to the cover of the book and a rabbit skin was fitted to the book and cut to size with a slit being cut where the eyes were located.  The rabbit skin was glued to the cover.  Hair was snipped off of scraps of the rabbit skin and glued to the backs of the tentacles to give them a furry appearance.  I recommend that all work done with the rabbit skin be done outside because you wind up with hair on everything!  The lettering of the Monster Book of Monsters was worked out in photoshop from a screen capture of the book in the movie which I found on the internet.   It was then printed on heavy paper and the letters were painting using a gold metallic paint.  The area around the letters was painted with a grey paint to give the same appearance as the book in the movies.  The pieces of the book title were cut out and the hair of the rabbit skin was cut as close to the skin as possible in the areas where the title pieces were to be placed, frequently checking the placement and being careful not to cut away too much of the hair.  The book labels were then glued into place using PVA glue.  The belt was made by cutting a strip from a piece of new heavy tooling leather and a buckle recycled from a thrift shop belt.

Book cover decorations:

Most of the books were covered in leather. Potion Making and History of Magic were covered in paper on which I printed designs I had worked up in Photoshop. The Dark Arts book cover was made by embossing a thin metal, filling the back of the embossing with spackle and then gluing it to the leather cover after the spackle dried. The label of Magical Theory was simply written with a marker as was the decoration of Charm Your Own Cheese and the gold decorations on the burgundy spell book. The cover of The Tales of Beedle The Bard was made by printing out the cover design on paper, gluing it to the cover and then gluing the leather on with a window cut out of it to show the printed design. The two books with round white labels were created by simply printing the labels on white label paper, cutting them out and sticking them to the book covers.

Making the Trunk:

A box with a curved top and appropriate hardware was purchased from a craft store.  The hardware was removed.  Trim was removed and pieces of bookboard and wood filler was used to make the trunk as smooth as possible.  A pattern was made for each section of the box so that pieces could be cut from a leather coat for covering.  Some areas of the trunk required more than one piece of leather and these were planned so that the trim would cover seams between the pieces of leather.  The leather was glued to the trunk pieces using PVA glue.  The trim for the trunk was made from round foam insulation strips purchased at a hardware store.  A razor blade for a snap-off type razor case was clamped in a vise at an angle of 30 degrees or so with the cutting edge on the side closest to the vise.  Pieces of the round foam cut to a length that would wrap all the way around the trunk + a little more were then pulled carefully across the blade to cut them into half-round lengths of foam.  These were tacked to a wall with bulletin board tacks for the next several steps.  In order to provide a surface that paint would adhere to, several coats of PVA glue were applied to the foam by using a brush a bit wider than the foam and holding a scrap of cardboard behind the foam with one hand while painting on the glue with the other hand.  Then the foam was painted with a creamy-tan acrylic craft paint.  A coat of brown glaze was then applied and wiped off with a scrap from an old sweatshirt (inside surface against the foam) to give a wood-like look.  Early attempts showed me that the paint wanted to flake off the foam when curved around the edges of the trunk or when the foam was pressed hard enough.   I found that the best way to deal with this was to add several more coats of PVA glue to the foam before attaching it to the trunk but not enough that all of the flexibility of the foam was gone.  The foam was then attached to the trunk using PVA glue and weighing it in place with ankle weights while it dried on each side of the trunk.  Some flaking of the paint did occur, mainly at the corners of the trunk.  To fix this, I rubbed off any loose paint, then covered those areas with the creamy-tan paint and a coat of the glaze.  Then I painted all of the foam with another coat of glaze so that the touch ups blended in nicely and the foam took on a somewhat darker and more realistic wood look.   When I was happy with the look of the foam, I applied more coats of PVA glue to the foam until the foam was hard and inflexible so that pressing on the foam would no longer cause any flaking.   The foam strips were applied all the way around the trunk as though it was one piece and when all of the steps were complete, the foam was cut where the top and bottom of the trunk met and the ends of the foam thus exposed were painted.  The hardware was reattached to the trunk.  Strips of leather were cut and the outer edges were brought together on the back of the strip of leather to make smooth edges along the long sides of the strips and these were attached to the ends of the trunk to make the "handles" using tiny brass brads.  I painted the interior of the trunk with black paint but lining it with fabric would be a nice touch.

11 ¾ wide 7 ¾ high 7 ¾ deep
Covered with brown leather with faux wood half-round trim, constructed to appear like Harry Potter’s trunk as shown in several of the movies.

The Monster Book of Monsters
7 ¾ tall 6 ½ wide 2 spine 228 pages
BINDING: Hardback of Rabbit Skin with teeth and tentacles made of Polymer Clay
CONTENTS: Magizoology, Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Ministry of Magic Classification of Beasts, Hogwarts Care of Magical Creatures Class, Dictionary of Beasts

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
4 7/8 x 4 x 5/8 87 pages
BINDING: Hardback of Black Leather
CONTENTS: What is a Beast?, A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts, Magical Beasts in Hiding, Why Magizoology Matters, Ministry of Magic Classifications, An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts

A Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry
4 ½ x 3 11/16 x 7/8 228 pages
BINDING: Hardback with covering of silver metallic material
CONTENTS: Many chapters on various aspects of wizarding life such as government, communication, transportation and food, and a dictionary of magical objects

Advanced Potion Making
4 3/8 x 3 5/8 x ½ 91 pages
BINDING: Hardback with paper covering matching appearance of the book in the movie Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
CONTENTS: Potions at Hogwarts, Encyclopedia of Potions

Magical Theory
4 3/8 x 3 7/16 x ¾ 108 pages
BINDING: Hardback of tan deerskin
CONTENTS: Descriptions of various types of magic such as Arithmancy, Legilimency, Occlumency, Transfiguration and Divination

A History of Magic
3 ½ x 4 1/8 x 11/16 163 pages
BINDING: Hardback with paper covering with red and gold design
CONTENTS: History of the wizarding world including a timeline of magical history

The Standard Book of Spells
4 x 4 1/8 x 5/8 176 pages
BINDING: Soft cover of burgundy leather with designs in gold ink designed from the book Lucius Malfoy took from Ginny Weasley’s cauldron in the bookstore near the beginning of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
CONTENTS: Spell Definitions, Spellbooks, Charms Classes At Hogwarts, Encyclopedia of Spells

The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
3 7/8 x 3 3/16 x ¾ 99 pages
BINDING: Hardback of black leather with embossed and antiqued aluminum skull design on the cover
CONTENTS: Defence Against the Dark Arts Class at Hogwarts, The Dark Arts, Dark Magic spells, Dark Magic Objects, Dark creatures, Lord Voldemort, Death Eaters, Aurors, Dumbledore's Army, The Order of the Phoenix
The Tales of Beedle The Bard
4 1/16 x 3 ½ x 5/8 105 pages
BINDING: Hardback of brown leather with insert of paper
CONTENTS: The Wizard and The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump, The Tale of the Three Brothers

Quidditch Through The Ages
4 x 3 3/8 x 7/16 92 pages
BINDING: Binding of real leather parchment in medieval ledger binding with brown leather straps and toggle closure
CONTENTS: The Evolution of the Flying Broomstick, Ancient Broom Games, The Game from Queerditch Marsh, The Arrival of the Golden Snitch, Anti-Muggle Precautions, Changes in Quidditch since the Fourteenth Century, Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland, The Spread of Quidditch Worldwide, The Development of the Racing Broom, Quidditch Today

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi
4 x 3 ½ x ¼ 50 pages
BINDING: Soft green leather cover with button closure
CONTENTS: Herbology At Hogwarts, Introduction to Herbology, Five Steps to Proper Plant Care, Equipment, Compost, Medicinal Plants, Growing Wand Wood, Wand Woods and Their Properties, Books About Herbology, Dictionary of Plants

Charm Your Own Cheese
4 ¼ x 3 ½ x ¼ 42 pages
BINDING: Soft pink leather cover with cover design in white ink and white leather tie closure
CONTENTS: Recipes (and in many cases multiple recipes) for Acid Pops, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Cockroach Clusters, Jelly Slugs, Licorice Wands, Peppermint Toads, Pumpkin Juice, Pumpkin Pasties, Rock Cakes, Spotted Dick, Ton Tongue Toffee, Toothflossing Stringmints, Treacle Fudge and Treacle Tart

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