Looking to protect a textbook? This paper book cover DIY is super easy to make and can be made with paper bags or gift wrap!
I distinctly remember in elementary school covering my school books with paper bags while sitting at my itty bitty desk the first day of class. You see, I was always hard on things when I was a kid so I learned at a super early age how to make a book cover to protect my school books and therefore my parents’ pocketbook. ‘Cause you only have to have your parents replace a couple, or, heck, maybe even most of your books one school year to learn that’s not something you EVER want to go through again.
So when I was thinking about all of the back to school crafting that’s gotta be going down right now it seemed like a good time to share with you how to avoid my misfortune. Or, rather a parent’s misfortune because it really didn’t affect me to the point that I actually remember the repercussions. So, if you have kid who is a destroyer of textbooks, this just might be the crafty DIY you have totally needed, but just didn’t know until now. Or maybe you kind of remember doing this back in the good old school days but need a refresher on exactly how one turns a big piece of paper into a book cover? Either way, I’ve got you covered.
Just remember that while a preventative measure, this isn’t going to save a book from a kid who runs around like the Tasmanian Devil. Sorry. If they drop their books from a decent height they’re probably going to bend up the corners something nasty even with a paper book cover in place. Unless your bags have been blessed with holy water ’cause IDK your life. They also won’t prevent kids from doodling inappropriates (or anything else, for that matter) on the inside pages. And I only thought of that because one of the three textbooks I purchased from Goodwill is full of willies and it isn’t an anatomy book, you know what I’m saying? BUT, if your kiddo is that type, maybe you should also show them how to turn a note into an envelope? They can be the snazziest note passer in all of detention!
Now probably one of my favorite things about this tutorial today is that it is cheap. Like, super-duper cheap. I’m talking raid the pantry for paper bags and you’re set because those make the BEST school book covers in the history of school book covers. Since brown paper bags aren’t exactly the height of hipness, if going this route be sure to provide lots of stickers and markers (nothing crazy like brand new Sharpies, or something, that might bleed through to the cover or you just screwed things up in a whole new way) so your littles can bedazzle business to fit their personal tastes.
Now since I didn’t have any paper bags on hand because, like, nobody around here uses them anymore, which is a darn shame. And since I didn’t want to get all crazy spendy for a project that, by its very nature, is awesome because it’s cheap, I decided to just use what I already had on hand. And on hand, I have a ton of wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is a great option for kids who aren’t quite as hard on things and it looks way prettier. So if your kid is NOT a Tasmanian Devil, just raid the hall closet and give them your stash of gift wrap, because if you’re on a craft website right now, I’m pretty much banking that you’ve got such a stash right now. :)
Ready to get after it?
Grab the paper of your choice and let’s make some textbook covers!
Ooh, but wait a second? Did you know that you used textbooks at Amazon? Because I totally didn’t have a clue until I stumbled upon that today. Books are dang expensive for college and have been since way back in time when I went, so sharing this just might help you out! Okay, back on to the project at hand…
For this project you will need:
- Paper bags OR Kraft Paper OR Gift Wrap
- Scissors <– these are so cute and totally in my cart for my next checkout!
First thing’s first, you’ll need to trim your paper down to be about a bit bigger than your opened book. I like to shoot for 8″ to 12″ wider and taller overall (4″ to 6″ wider or taller per side).
Fold the bottom portion of your paper upward, making sure to keep the fold nice and straight. Place your book down on top of the paper and line it up with that folded edge. Push the book up approximately a quarter of an inch (0.25″) and fold the top of the paper downward. Use your fingers or a tool (a popsicle stick is fabulous for this) and press the paper against the book’s edge to make a crease. Remove the book and fold the top edge down, taking care to keep the fold nice and straight and parallel to the bottom fold.
Place the spine of your book in the center of the paper with the paper like you see above. Take just a moment to make sure you have a little bit of wiggle room with a little more length than the actual length of the book (see how we have just a smidge down there at the bottom? that’s PERFECT). If you don’t have a bit of wiggle room, undo that bottom fold and create a new crease so that you do or your covers will be too tight to actually fit.
Keeping your spine in place, and not allowing it to wiggle around, let one side of the book’s cover fall to your work surface. Bring the paper up and over the cover and lightly crease the paper where it meets.
When you remove your hand you the paper should have enough of a crease to stay put. And that part that you just folded in is going to be the flap that holds the paper onto the book. And, dude, dig that crazy textbook? It looks like it fell right out of Stranger Things 3 and onto my dresser, doesn’t it?
Gently begin to pull the paper flap up and over the cover.
Continue shimmying down the flap until you reach the crease you just created. Pull the paper cover firmly over the front of the book toward the spine. Don’t pull too hard or force anything or you run the risk of tearing your paper. Remember, even if it’s just a book corner, corners can be pointy.
With the paper comfortably taut to keep the paper nice and parallel, begin pulling the flap over the other side of the book’s cover. Fold the paper over to make a gentle crease and begin fitting it onto the cover.
As you shimmy the flap down, don’t pull too tightly because the paper will naturally tighten up when the book is closed, and too tight will just tear the paper (or keep the book from closing if you’re using strong paper like a paper bag for your DIY book covers. When in doubt, keep it a bit looser than you think you need to because you can always tighten it up if once the book closes the cover is too slack. With that second flap over the cover, gently close the book to see if it is too tight or too slack and then adjust accordingly if so.
With the book nice and flat the paper should easily stay on without a bunch of bulges or gaps. Again, this won’t protect your book if you’ve got a kid who doodles unmentionables on the pages and, in all honesty, I have no clue how to handle that situation. I’m an auntie, after all. I borrow ’em to fill them with sugar and take them to ride roller coasters and give ’em back to their parents to take care of the hard stuff like that :)
Gah! Now isn’t that banana fellow up there too cute? That’s wrapping paper from Target that I got for, like $3.50 for a nice sized roll. I’m pretty happy with the alternate uses I’m finding for that crazy awesome gift wrap. I mean, aren’t YOU just bananas for that particular book cover because I sure as heck am!