There are lots of ways to participate in a Live Action Role Playing game....some people like to dress up and act a character part, while others, like myself, enjoy making the props and accessories that engage and increase the immersive aspect to the game. To that end, I have created a "Spell Book" with a Well of Souls aspect to it for a future game module.
Step 1: Supplies List
- You will need a very fat (3" wide at least) old book. (I found someone throwing out an old set of encyclopedias and grabbed several and decided to re-purpose one of them for this project.) A book that has fabric works best. But you can use one with a shiny cover and just sand the cover down a bit to remove the glossy feel.
- I used an old pirate bracelet I found that had some small skulls and bones on it for the embellishment on the top.
- An old belt with a plain buckle (I used an old belt from a used store).
- I also made a few skulls from skulpey air dry clay.
- Tissue paper (I used old sewing pattern paper).
- Modge Podge.
- Black, red/green (or brown if you have it), metallic copper/gold, and white acrylic paints.
- Paint brushes, one about 1in wide and one smaller, finer brush. Along with a small paint sponge/or cotton rag for creating texture on the cover.
- Scissors, exacto knife.
- Glue (glue gun optional).
- Fine sharpie marker.
- Some scrap cardboard - thin kind, a little thicker than a cereal box.
- One sheet of newspaper.
- A skewer.
- Small jar/vial - you can get these at your local $1 Store.
- Some small seeds or beans for your jar.
- Small, green led light (optional).
- Brown craft paper or paper from a school scrapbook. (optional).
- Printer (optional).
- Charcoal pencil (optional).
- Fat, wooden pencil (I picked up mine at the local $1 store). (optional).
Step 2: The Handmade Skulls.
I decided to try and make a few of these little skulls from the air dry skulpey so that I would have some different sized skulls for the cover. I followed a wonderful little tutorial online to make mine. You do not need to be quite so detailed about your skulls, since we will be covering them partially and painting over them. If you are using this method, you need to make these first so they will be completely dried for gluing to your project. You can always use other skull items you can find as well, like styrofoam or plastic skull jewellry...anything that you can remove and adhere to your cover will work.
Step 3: Scruffing the Pages.
If you need to scruff up the book page edges, you can use a pair of sharp scissors and run them along the edges a few pages at a time.
Step 4: Rune Stones.
I wanted to add some rune stones to my book but didn't want to add actual stones, so I made my own newspaper beads. You will need to decide how many beads you want, in my case 5, and their size (for this project, they needed to be about 3/4 inch long).
- Take your piece of newspaper and cut strips as wide as you want your beads to be out of the newspaper, in my case 3/4 in.
- Take your skewer and one strip of the newspaper. Place it against your finger with the skewer on top and begin rolling the paper around the skewer - try to keep it straight.
- Keep adding more strips of newspaper until your bead is a thick as you want it to be.
- Once it is thick enough, rub a bit of glue on the end of the bead where the paper ends and then on top of it to secure.
- When you have all of the beads done, they will be ready to paint.
- I chose white paint for my beads. Paint all of your beads and let them dry.
- Once they are dry, you can use the sharpie marker to write the symbols on the beads (I used two symbols per bead - one on each side).
Step 5: Cutting the Openings.
Now it is time to make the openings for the rune stones, the medicine vial, and the well of souls. First, decide how deep you need to make the openings to fit your vial and rune stones. Mark where you want the openings to be placed. Using a very sharp exacto knife and a ruler, begin cutting out the first openings. Placing a piece of cardboard under the pages being cut will help keep you from cutting further than you want. Make sure to be very careful when cutting that you don't cut yourself as the knife needs to be sharp to cut through all of the papers. You may have to change your blade to keep cutting. It is easier to keep cutting in the same place if the book cover is held up to keep it straight and level with the other side, otherwise the cover pulls the pages down.
Step 6: Adding Some Detail
When the holes are complete, you can take a charcoal pencil and rub it along the edges to give a bit of contrast to the holes.
At this point, you can also take your rod with the rune beads and place it in the slot you have cut out for this part. Lift some of the pages so that you are placing it down into the opening a bit. Once you have the right position, glue it to the pages to hold it in place.
Step 7: Adding the Well of Souls Light - Optional
I chose to add some lighting effects to this project, but you can leave this part out and have an awesome project at this point. I used a small, green led pushpin for my project. I added it about halfway down into the well. Once I decided where to place it, I cut out a notch in the book where I wanted it to sit and glued it in place when done.
Step 8: Adding Some Spell Pages.
To give your book some authenticity, you can add some spell pages. You can find some online and print them out or you can make your own with some inspiration from others online. I used some brown craft/scrapbook paper to print some samples and to make my own. After printing and drawing the information on the pages, I tore the edges using a ruler to keep the tearing somewhat restricted to the edges. Once done, I placed the spell pages between the book pages and close to the edges so the torn pages would extend just outside of the book pages and help to give the book and "old" pages feeling.
Step 9: Making the Cover.
- Start by painting the entire cover with black acrylic paint.
Step 10: Adding the Texture to the Cover and the Vile.
- Paint a layer of Modge Podge on first, and then add crumpled pieces of the tissue and paint more Modge Podge on top of them to adhere them to the cover.
- Let dry completely.
- Do the same on the glass vial.
Step 11: Adding the Skulls to the Cover.
- Once the tissue layer has dried, glue your skulls and accessories to the cover in the places you wish to have them.
- Continue adding layers of tissue around the skills to build up the areas where they are placed so that it appears they are part of the cover skin. Sometimes you can use small twisted pieces of tissue to help build up areas by placing them around the skulls and then building up more layers on top of this.
Step 12: Finishing Cover Paint.
- Once you have finished adding the tissue paper to the skulls and it has dried completely, you are ready to paint the cover.
- Using a brown acrylic paint (or you can mix red and green to create your own brown color), paint the entire cover, including the skulls and accessories.
- Let this paint dry completely as well.
- To add texture to the cover, using a sponge, lighting dab and sponge the black acrylic paint onto the cover. This will help create light and dark texture to the cover. Add the paint to the glass vial as well.
- When this has dried completely, do the same thing with a red acrylic paint.
- The last layer will be the highlights with some gold acrylic paint. You will use a sponge to add this paint layer as well. Add some of this paint to the glass vial as well.
Step 13: Final Touch.
I used a plain belt I acquired from a used clothing store for the last piece of the project. If you need, cut your belt end so that it fits your book properly. I colored the cut edge with a black marker to match the rest of the belt.
Step 14: All Put Together
These pictures show the final effects of the book when it is done.
You will also find a video showing the end product.
I hope you enjoyed my little altered book project.