The thrill of going back to school still seizes me every Fall. Even though I am no longer a student, I still itch for new pens and pencils and I LOVE wandering the back to school section seeing what’s new for the season. As a child I used to meticulously label all my new markers and even into high school I covered all of my books and notebook covers, which is why I thought it would be fun to revisit the DIY book cover.
Here are 3 ways you and the kids in your life can have fun covering books for the new school year.
What you’ll need: School books, grocery bags or large construction paper, scissors, artist tape, ink pads, pencils, bubble wrap and chalk board spray paint and chalk
Prepare your grocery bag. Cut out the bottom of the bag. Start by selecting one corner of the bag, cutting down along the seam toward the bottom, then working along the bottom seam. Continue cutting, removing the entire bottom panel of the bag. This will give you a large sheet of paper to use for covering your book.
Making the basic cover. Using the grocery bag or a sheet of blank construction paper, place your book in the middle of your paper with the wrong side of the paper facing you to determine the size your cover needs to be. Fold the paper up against the top edge of your book and crease. Repeat for the bottom. Finish off the top and bottom edge by folding along the crease.
With your book to the right of center, determine where the front and back flaps will be. These will tuck into your book and should be around 1-2″ wide. Trim away any excess paper and fold over front and back cover.
There are two ways too attach the cover to the book. You can tuck the cover into the flaps you’ve just created securing the cover in place, or you can fold the flaps over the cover and secure in place with tape.
Making a Chalkboard Cover: With the cover on the book, place artists tape one inch from each edge to create a frame. Remove cover from book and open flat. Working outside, spray cover with chalkboard spray paint and let dry. Carefully remove artist tape to reveal a neat and tidy frame ready for a new equation.
Making the Polka Dot Cover: Using your grocery bag book cover or a large piece of construction paper, place book cover right side up without the book inside. You’ll use a pencil eraser as a stamp to create a polk dot. Starting with your lightest color of ink, tap the eraser onto the surface of the ink pad several times then place on cover and press down. Re-ink you eraser with every stamp. Stamp polka dots over the surface of your paper randomly. When you want to switch colors, simply erase on a scrap piece of paper. Keep your eraser as flat as possible when erasing so you don’t distort your polka dot. Continue stamping, switching colors as desired until you reach a pattern you like. Place book cover back on book and secure. if using a sheet of paper, trim or fold paper to size to create a cover in the same way you would with a grocery bag (see above)
Making a Bubble Wrap Print Cover: Place your bubble wrap on a protected surface with the bubbles facing up. Using the lightest color stamp pad first, tap ink over the surface of the bubble wrap until coated with ink. Bring a large sheet of construction paper (11×17 works nicely) and place it over the bubble wrap and press to create the print. You won’t be able to see exactly where you’re printing which I love (its part of the magic), but if you want a more precise method, place paper face up and bring the inky bubble wrap to the paper surface instead. Creating the print removes most of the ink from the bubble wrap but if you’re afraid of damaging your ink pads you can make a ghost print with scrap paper to remove and inky residue left on the bubble wrap. Re-ink you bubble wrap in the next color and repeat the printing process. Continue printing until you have the entire surface of your paper covered. I used Yellow Owl Workshop’s ink which dries almost immediately, but if you use paint or another type of ink, make sure your paper is dry before creating the cover. Trim or fold paper down to your book size and make a cover in the same way you did with the grocery bag.
Making book covers is a great way to get kids excited about going back to school after a summer break. You can also use thees techniques for making book covers for any occasion or even for making gift wrap for a book.