Posts Tagged ‘Paper Craft’

DIY Book Covers

The largest project my husband and I have done in our house is the built in entertainment center for our first floor. It took lots of brainstorming and planning to make this from scratch, but we are beyond thrilled with the results.

After it went up, we quickly filled it with books and some baubles that went with our sailing/nautical-lite theme.  As the months went by, I found myself tinkering with the items on the shelves as well as the layout… I was just not pleased with how it looked.


Here’s a close up of the shelves— they were too cluttered/a bit too full for my liking. We used a textured wallpaper (similar to grass cloth) for the back of the bookshelves—I wish it photographed more like it actually looks! Forgive the TV wires… we haven’t put them through the cabinets yet!

Optimized-before up close


After de-cluttering and shifting some things around, I found a layout that I could live with.


Now that I liked how the shelves were more open, I wanted to make the whole thing blend together. I was not a fan of the mishmash of cover colors and wanted to do a subtle theme of blues, greens, and creams—this would match much better with the rest of the décor in the room.

My husband thought I was insane when I told him I was going to recover the books. When I removed the paper cover, some of the hardcover books were already blue or cream, so that worked to my advantage. It was mostly the paperbacks that I had to deal with.

As I wanted to print on the covers, I referenced/modified this in depth tutorial from the blog The Precious Little Things in Life.

Here’s how I covered my books.


What you need:


Paper (I found some large paper at Hobby Lobby and used brown shipping paper that I  

             already had leftover from Christmas)



Measuring Tape



Microsoft Word

photo 1 


Step 1:

First I had to determine what color I wanted each book to be. I did a rough sketch of our books in the layout that I liked and then assigned each book that was getting covered a color.

Step 2:

Line up your books and group those of the same height together. Under each category of height, I listed the individual measurements for those titles.

Step 3:

Measure your books. You need two measurements, the height of the book, which you already measured, and the book’s circumference. Find the book’s circumference by placing the lip of your measuring tape on the backside of the book, wrap around the spine, and across the front cover.


When you have all of these written down, you are ready to start covering your books. It would have been lovely if I had books that were the same height and circumferences, but alas every book was slightly different. This would have saved me some time cutting out the paper (I could have cut multiple sheets at once). Maybe you will be luckier than I was.

Step 4:

These directions might vary ever so slightly for you, as I was using Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac. In Microsoft Word, navigate to Page Set Up.

file page setup

In the Page Set Up box, find Paper Size, and go to Manage Custom Sizes—this is where you will type in your measurements to ensure a perfect fit.

In the Manage Custom Sizes box, the Width box is where you will type the height of the book. The Height box is where you will then type the circumference  measurement. You can see this in the picture below, as well as the fact that I chose to make my top, bottom, left, and right margins 0.

page setup

Your page will now look tall and narrow—this is what you want in order to print the title.

Step 5:

Now that you know your page dimensions, you’re ready to cut your paper. Cut your paper to the same measurements that you typed in the Width and Height boxes. Once your paper is cut, put it in your printer (I had to use the manual feed tray in the back of mine).


Step 6:

You’re almost ready to type your book title onto the spine of your book cover.

You can vary the fonts and sizes to your liking—I chose to keep my font the same for every book. The only thing I changed was the font size. Some of my book spines were 2 inches while others were ¼ inch, therefore I used size 30 font for the bigger titles and size 14 font for the smaller. I printed out one regular old page of a few titles with font sizes of 14, 18, 22, 26, 30. I then held up this sheet to the books when I was ready to type the titles in order to eyeball which size was the best fit.

Step 7:

Remember where you typed the circumference of the book into the Height box? In my earlier photo it was 16.25. In order to type your title perfectly centered on your book cover, you need to take your circumference measurement and divide it by 2.

For example, 16.25/2 = 8.125.  Hit enter until you bring your cursor down to roughly 8.125. So long as you are in the ballpark of that number, you will be fine.

Center your cursor, and type in your title and author.

centered text

Step 8:

With your paper in the printer and title typed up, go ahead and print.

Lay your book on the printed paper and pull until the title is centered on the spine. 

photo 3

Make a crease where the front/back covers end so you know where to fold your paper. Tape the cover in place.


Step 9: (Optional)

I decided to lightly pinch/crease the spine so there was more definition around the edges.

covered books 

So there you have it– freshly covered books to go with the color scheme of your choice. Here are a few shots of the books on the shelves. (Pardon the wonky lighting in a few of the photos).


P1030503 P1030498



Although it took a while, I enjoyed doing this project. It was kind of like a grown up version of covering your textbooks back in middle school! 



Heat Embossing 101

Embossing is fabulous—it’s the perfect way to embellish paper and turn it into something special. Have invitations to send out? Place cards to make for that fancy get-together? Gift tags to stick on those carefully selected presents? Why not emboss all of these things and add a little glamour to what you do!

You’ve all seen embossed items—today I’m going to describe heat embossing so your design is upraised from the paper. It is a very easy process that anyone can do. The following tutorial shows my mother-in-law and I making the tags for a Wishing Tree at a recent bridal shower. We got our goodies at Paper Source– be warned you will buy everything you see– I love this place!


What you need:

Paper—whatever you are creating (tags, invites, etc.)

Ink—in the colors you would like your design to be

**Pigment ink is what you need- it dries slower so you can apply the powder. VersaMark

Watermark is clear ink and is the brand that I’ve used- found at craft stores.**

Embossing Powder—in the colors you would like your design to be

Embossing Heat Tool—sold in craft stores—Walmart has one for $15

Rubber Stamp/Design of your choose

Paper/Folder- as a work surface to catch overflow powder


Step 1:

Choose your color(s) and corresponding stamps. We had a border stamp which would be black and a letter ‘G’ which would be gold.

With this in mind, we planned to use a black ink pad for the border coupled with clear embossing powder. For the ‘G’ we would use the VersaMark clear ink pad and gold embossing powder on top of the clear stamped ‘G’.

Step 2:

After stamping each paper with the border in black ink we were ready to start the embossing.


Step 3:

Using the clear ink pad we stamped the ‘G’ in the center of each oval. As it’s a clear stamp, be sure to take note of what you’ve stamped—if you lose track, you can see it if you look closely.

emboss step 2

Step 4:

After the clear ‘G’ is on the paper, sprinkle the embossing powder on top. You’ll see that it sticks to the stamp. Shake off the excess powder.

This is where it’s crucial to have a manila folder or a slightly folded piece of paper underneath. The excess powder will fall onto the paper and you can then refill your powder container every once in a while. You do not want to waste this stuff!

powdered G

Step 5:

Use your heat tool to melt the grains of powder into a smooth surface. It’s nerdy, but I think it’s kind of cool to see just how quickly it melts into your upraised design.

If you’re doing a large project (we did about 50 cards) and you have a helper, it is best to get an assembly line going. My mother-in-law stamped and passed them off to me for sprinkling/heating.

Just a note- If you don’t have a heat tool, I’ve seen online that it works with some hairdryers, but you need it to be super hot and it takes longer to do. I haven’t personally known anyone to use this method.

emboss step 6

Step 6:

Your newly embossed products are good to go! You can do really neat things with embossing, such as tone on tone, or emboss the design and then color the background only with a contrasting ink color. The possibilities are vast and it is an easy craft with a great impact.

picture1Don’t these tags look great on the Wishing Tree at the bridal shower?!

Here’s a picture of my bridal shower invitation and our seed paper wedding favors, both created by embossing:

bridal shower and wedding favorHappy Embossing!