Introduction: Intro: Wizarding Paperback Book Cover

Want your own set of books from the Most Famous Wizarding School of all?

Make your own set of book covers from cardboard. Insert your own paperback, and no one will know the difference!

I took a look at my own bookcase one day and decided all the paperbacks looked boring. What if I could replace those lame spines with artful, old-looking replicas? I could create my own "Magickal" library of tomes and mystery with just a little imagination. If Wizarding isn't your thing, you can still make a customized book cover showcasing your favorite hobbies, interests, or make them for gifts!

Tip: If you need inspiration for titles on your cover, you can visit Wikipedia and search for text books for "that" Wizarding school and get list for required books for students.

Materials Needed:

  • Scrap material (I like the heavy kind that has a definite weave to it, like linen)
  • Cardboard
  • Paper towels -no design
  • Mod Podge or similar product
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun/hot glue sticks
  • Inner lining paper
  • Ribbon
  • Round Elastic Cord from sewing supplies
  • Brushes (art/paint)
  • Any item you want to stick onto the front, i.e., lettering, foam cutouts, Halloween tid-bits, charms, etc.
  • Paint (craft/acrylic)
  • Old sock or soft material to buff paint

Step 1: Step 1: Cardboard Foundation

Get the book you want to make a cover for, and trace it onto a piece of sturdy cardboard. You want to have a piece large enough that you can make the final cut about one-half inch larger than the book.

Step 2: Step 2: First Cuts

Cut out the cardboard one-half inch larger than your book. Mark where the spine of the book will be, and score the top layer of cardboard so that it bends well.

Step 3: Step 3: Cut Material

Cut your material one-half inch larger than the cardboard. I use heavy linen-like fabric so that the lines in it help to create that cloth-covered look on old books.

Step 4: Step 4: First Layer on Cover

Cover the outside of the cardboard with Mod Podge. Place the fabric over the wet Mod Podge, smoothing out any wrinkles. When it dries, paint Mod Podge on the inside edges, and fold the material over. Remember that a little of this will show in the final product, so make neat corners and smooth the fabric.

Step 5: Step 5: Decorate

Let the book cover dry. Then, place your lettering, designs, and any design you want to make with a glue gun. I drew a spider web on the back of the green book with the glue gun.

Step 6: Step 6: Basic Lining

Take your inside paper and measure/cut it so that it is about one-quarter inch smaller all around the inside edge of your cover. Push the center into the book creases so that it will fit nicely. This also marks where the spine will sit when you put your book inside the cover. Test your measurement so see that it still fits whether open or closed. Do not attach at this point.

Step 7: Step 7: Wrinkle the Toweling

Separate your paper toweling into just one ply. Dampen it. Mod Podge your cover and drape the dampened paper towel over your cover. Mod Podge over the top. Use the brush to flatten it to the cover and make it secure around the lettering and design items. The wrinkles that develop will make your cover look like ancient leather, so let them come! Allow to dry. It may take overnight.

Step 8: Step 8: More Lining Work

While the cover is drying, this is a good time to finish your inside paper lining. you need to cut end papers for your paperback book to slip into. Use more of your inside lining paper and cut two strips. They should be about three inches wide, and about two inches longer than the width of your cover. Fold each strip lengthwise. Then slide it over your lining and fold the ends under. Once you have your fold lines, you can glue and tape the ends down. Now you have a pocket that will slip onto the end of your lining paper. Do this for each end. Wait until a later step before attaching the pocket to your lining.

For now, you have leeway to lengthen the lining if you need it by pulling the "pockets" out slightly to fit, or to cut of lining paper to push the "pockets" in if your measurements aren't precise.

Step 9: Step 9: First Coat of Paint

Paint your cover completely on the outside with your base color. You can just have a flat color, or you can add a buffed second color once the first layer dries. This can add depth to your project. After the black dried on the small book shown, I buffed a little purple to make it more interesting.

Step 10: Step 10: Bring Your Decorations to Life

Allow your book to dry. Now, you can take some gold metallic paint and lightly buff over the lettering and objects on your cover. It's fun to see it come alive! The Great Wizards book was also highlighted/buffed with black.

Step 11: Step 11: Attach the Elastic Cord

After your cover is dry, you're almost ready to insert the lining paper, but first, you will attach the round cord elastic. This will help keep your book in place.

Cut the elastic cord to fit the length of the spine. You will be attaching about one-quarter inch shorter than each end of the cover so that it will be hidden by your lining.

Attach the cord with hot glue on one end, then when the glue dries (you might still want to hold the end in place) slightly stretch the cord so it's taught and attach at the other end.

Step 12: Step 12: Fit Your Lining Under the Cord

Slip your lining paper under the elastic cord and position on the inside of your cover. You will probably need to make a small slit at the top and bottom where the cord is attached so it fits nicely. Measure your lining again in the open and closed position. Make any adjustments if necessary.

Step 13: Step 13: Bookmark

Cut a piece of ribbon that will be your bookmark. Cutting the bottom at a slant will help stop fraying.

Use glue or Mod Podge on the inside back of the cover. Place your bookmark just to the right of the cord elastic. See the photo. You lay the ribbon right side down and laying upwards. That way it will fall nicely over the top of the book downwards.

Step 14: Step 14: Glue Your Pockets

Glue or Mod Podge your pockets just inside your cover with a small space all around your outer edges. Then on one side, apply some glue to the back of your ling where it will fit into the pocket. Place your lining into the pocket and fit it evenly onto your inside cover. then, repeat on the other side.

Step 15: Step 15: Ready to Use!

When your cover is completely dry, open your paperback book and slide it under the elastic cord. Slip the book's cover into the pockets. Enjoy!

Cardboard Contest 2016

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2016