Book Cover Out of a Paper Bag

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Books are becoming expensive these days, whether college textbooks or regular novel books. According to the National Association of College Students, the average student will spend $655 on textbooks each year. In middle school and high school I was required to have a book cover for all of our books. So instead of spending money on a book cover, I made my own by learning from my dad. This set of instructions are designed to give college students and book lovers a cheap and easy way to be able to protect their books for possible future use. This project is very easy and should only take about 5-10 mins to complete. Make sure to take your time when completing the steps and read over each step before beginning the process.

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Step 1: Materials

There are only four materials needed for this project:

  • Book
  • Paper bag
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

You can get the paper bag from your local grocery store.

Step 2: Cut the Bag

The first step is to take the scissor and begin to cut the bag. Unfold the bag to stand it up straight. Choose any corner at the opening of the bag and cut down on that corner all the way to the bottom of the bag.

Step 3: Cutting the Bag Continued

After cutting the corner, cut along the bottom of the bag. Cut the entire bottom of the bag off by cutting all four edges. You should be left with the paper bag looking like the second picture.

Step 4: Lay the Book Onto the Bag

If the paper bag that you obtain has wording written all over it, you can flip the bag over so that the words are facing inside towards the book for this step. This way, the wording won't be on the front of the book cover. Lay the bag flat on a hard surface. Place the book on the bag, and try to center it to the best of your abilities (left/right and up/down). No need for it to be perfectly centered.

Step 5: Make a Crease

The next step after laying the book on the bag is to make a crease with the bag. Fold the bag at the top and bottom of the book up. Push the bag hard up against the bottom of the book to make a crease in the paper bag. Move the book along the entire bag and try to keep the line that your are making straight as possible. The line that we are creating we will be using in the next step.

TIP: The hardest part of this step is to keep the line straight across the entire bag. Move the book only a couple of inches at a time, which will overlap part of the crease you already made previously.

Step 6: Folding

After making a line, take the book off of the bag. In this step, we will fold the portions of the book that were hanging over the book on the lines that we created in the previous step. Once that is done, you can place the book back on the bag and again try to center it to the best of your abilities.

Step 7: Keep the Cover in Place

Open the front cover of the book. Take the excess of the bag hanging over the book, fold it into the front cover, and close the book. This step will help the bag to stay in place while you work on attaching the back cover to the paper bag.

Step 8: Insert Your Book

This next step is inserting the book into the paper bag book cover. Open the back of the book. With the two folds that you made in step 5 and 6, pull them apart slightly (just enough to be able to insert the cover into them without the folds coming all the way undone). Insert the top of the book cover into the paper bag sleeve.

Step 9: Pull the Book Cover Down

Once the start of the book cover is started, your next step is to pull the cover the rest of the way down. This is the toughest step of this set of instructions. You will have to work with the bag. Don't get frustrated and pull the bag down really hard, otherwise it will end up ripping.

TIP: The book cover will get stuck on the corners of the book. Try to do this step slowly. For me, it worked best if you took one side at a time. For example: pull the left side down a little bit and then pull the right side down to make it even with the other side.

Step 10: Repeat Steps 8 & 9

Repeat steps 8 and 9 to the front cover of the book.

Step 11: Label It

This step is optional. Now that your book cover is completed, put the title of the book on the front of the book cover. I do this step just in case I forget what book this is in the future. Sure you will know what book it is now, but will you remember it in a month?

In eleven steps you can easily make a cheap book cover to protect your books. The book cover should be somewhat tight around the book when closed, and the entire book should be covered to be able to protect it from any harm. If the book cover begins to slip off constantly, you can hold it in place with a piece of tape. You can put the tape on the bottom and top of the back and front cover where the paper bag is folded onto the inside of the cover. This cheap and easy way of making a book cover will protect your books from possible harm.

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    3 Discussions

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    BrendaR112

    4 months ago on Step 2

    I always thought it turned out neater if you cut down from the top where the sides of the bag overlap. That way, you don't have the seam in an inconvenient place on the book. We usually trimmed the ends that folded in over the cover so they slid on easier. My artsy son doodled pictures all over his book covers - mostly dragons! Good explanation.

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    Kink Jarfold

    6 months ago on Step 11

    Wow, did this ever bring back memories. I always looked forward to covering my school books. --Kink--

    I GIVE THAT ONE A VROOOM.png
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    Penolopy Bulnick

    6 months ago

    This is great! I remember having to do this with all my books in High School :)