Introduction: Leather Binding the Witcher Paperback

About: I'm a geek, I'm a dad, and I make things

It's hard sometimes - being a paperback living in a leather-bound world. They seem to tower over you, flaunting their fancy covers and embossed faces. "Oh sure", you say, "you have foil inlays but I have... a 'coming soon to Netflix' sticker!". You know that, on the inside, you are no different from them. You're all just... words, when it comes right down to it.

Well, fret no longer. We are here to take a paperback and turn it into a leather-bound beauty! And add some laser engraving and 3d printed designs as well! You'll feel like a whole new book when we're done with you!


Materials I used: (with affiliate links)

Witcher paperback -

Leather -

Black filament -

Cardboard cardstock -

Painters tape -

Leather honey -

Leather dye -

Bookbinding glue -

Tools I used:

Laser engraver -

3d printer -

Hot glue gun -

Paint pens -

Step 1: Start With a Paperback

It may seem like an unnecessary point, but you need to start with a paperback. No leather-bounds here. Leather-binding a leather-bound would be... redundant.

Pull that paperback off the shelf, and let's get started!

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Leather

Start by taking the book and measuring out the leather around the shape of the book, making sure to leave at least a 1/4" space from the edge of each side. Make sure to carefully rotate the book from the front side to the backside while measuring.

After making sure your measurements are square, take a knife and cut out the piece.

Step 3: Pew Pew Pew

Grab some blue painters tape, and tape off what will be the front of your book cover.

After finding a Witcher graphic of your choice, bring it into Inkscape (or Illustrator, or some other vectoring program if you prefer) and use the 'trace bitmap' function to create a bitmap. Delete all the elements you don't need, then clean up the areas around the design.

NOTE: As an aesthetic choice, you can leave a lot of the imperfections of the tracing process in the elements. This will make it look a little more natural and not machined. You do you though!

Exporting the bitmap, take your taped up piece of leather, put it in your laser cutter, and then PEW PEW PEW the design into the leather.

NOTE: Will smell... not great. A little like barbecue, but bad barbecue. The kind that a well-intentioned friend cooked for you and you might consider eating, but then decide not to because you realize something may be very very wrong with what you were about to eat.

Step 4: Paint and Peal

Before taking off the painter's tape, grab some acrylic paint pens and add some color to the design you just engraved in the leather.

Now take off the painters tape.

In preparation for gluing backing on the leather and gluing it to the book, I took some leather conditioner and treated the leather.

Step 5: Printing Corner Pieces

Head over to Thingiverse and download some book corners of your choice.

Now print them out on your 3d printer, then using some glue and clamps, glue the corner pieces to each corner of what will be the front and back of your book.

NOTE: I used a hot glue gun because hot glue is amazing. Feel free to use the glue of your choice though.

Step 6: Add the Cardboard

Taking some cardboard cardstock (I took a couple pieces of cardboard from old notebooks (not fancy, I know, but it works just the same)), measure and cut pieces about 1/8" wider than the front, back, and spine of your book, then use some leather glue to glue them to the backside of your leather.

Use a vice, or clamps, or - better yet - weights. They act like a clamp with the added benefit of being able to do some curls before and after. Get a working AND make something. Best of both worlds right there.

Step 7: Glue in the Book

Now take your book, add glue (I used a combination of the leather glue and hot glue), then clamp, vice, or grab those weights again and secure it down while everything dries.

Step 8: Print the Wolf

Head over to Thingiverse once again, and download a printable Witcher wolf, then send it to print on your 3d printer.

NOTE: I changed the Z height of the print so that the book would still fit between other books and not have an absurd gap between the cover and the next book.

Step 9: Paint and Glue

Take the paint pens and add some color to the wolf. I used red for the eyes and silver for the hair highlights, but you can go crazy with whatever color floats your boat... or colors your wolf, as the case may be.

With the paint dry, take the hot glue gun and glue the wolf to the front cover.

Step 10: Decorating the Spine

Taking the paint pens again, decorate the spine to make it easily noticeable on the bookshelf. Be sure to add the title of the book!

With everything dry, take the leather dye and dye the leather.

Step 11: Admire Your Work

Always an important part of the process: Admire your work!

From a boring paperback, to a now customer leather covered book that's good for reading AND looking at!

Step 12: Put It on a Shelf

Now you can put the leather-bound beauty back on the shelf, no longer to feel subpar next to its counterparts, it can stand tall having a new look all its own.