DIY designer books & a tutorial

If you follow us on Instagram, you saw I went on a mad book-covering mission last week.

We’re finishing up Ava’s bookcases for her room, and I wanted to use the opportunity to add color & pattern into her space.  I love covering our books to create a unified look…you can see other examples here, here, and here.

DIY designer books | covered books | perfectly imperfect

Ava’s room is in need of natural textures to finish up her space, and adding some beauty to the bookshelves is an easy and super cheap way to infuse style & texture.

Aren’t they just beautiful??  All that color & pattern…I’m in love & will officially be covering more for every room in the house.

This is the simplest tutorial ever, but I figure, hey, I didn’t always cover books with such prowess, so we could use a tutorial.

In all seriousness, a few folks asked on Instagram, so here we go.

DIY designer books | covered books | perfectly imperfect

Unless you want to go bananas, you need a cutting board…not scissors.  Waay too much wiggle room with those suckers.  In a nutshell, you’ll need:

  • old or inexpensive books (hardbacks work best, but you can use soft covers, too)
  • papers (I like to use 12×12, and grabbed mine at Hobby Lobby at 50% off)
  • cutting tool
  • tape (this may seem silly, but it’s gotta be the good stuff–no dollar store version)

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1.  Lay your book on top of one sheet of paper, lining up the corners of the paper with the back side of the book.

DIY Covered Books | perfectly imperfect

2.  Fold the other half of the paper over the cover of your book. (Keep in mind the paper won’t totally cover the book–we’ll fix that in a minute.)

DIY Covered Books | perfectly imperfect


3.  Keeping the paper wrapped tight around the book, sit it upright so that the excess of the paper is coming off the top.

DIY Covered Books | perfectly imperfect

4.  Making sure your paper is in the correct position, make a crease in your paper at the overhang.

5.  Now line your crease up with the blade in your cutting tool & trim the paper to size.

DIY Covered Books | perfectly imperfect

6.  Start covering the front of the book first.  Use Scotch tape to attach the paper to the front right side first.

DIY Covered Books | perfectly imperfect

7.  Work your way around the book, pulling the paper tightly as you go and holding the book as straight as possible.


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8.  Finish covering the back of your book.  If you want the book completely covered, trim another piece of paper and apply to the back of your book.  (I typically don’t worry about this since our books are stacked upright or lying face up.)

9.  Flip the book back over and run something along the spine to create a crease so the paper will “hug” the book.  (I used a rounded end of a craft paint brush.)


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And that’s it!

Aren’t the simplest projects are the BEST!

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And don’t worry about perfection…you know how I feel about that anyway.

These covers are more forgiving than using mod-podge (which I’ve done and love, too) because you can start over, realign, or remove the covers whenever you feel like it.

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Another quick tip…if tape isn’t holding (I find this especially on cloth-covered books), use Tacky putty instead.

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Until Ava’s bookcases are ready, I’ll happily house these beauties in my writing room, a.k.a. my office.  And yes, I’m still coo coo for coco puffs over that plank wall.

Have an inspired Monday you guys!

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9 Responses to DIY designer books & a tutorial

  1. Cheryl @ Living Design March 25, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Do you read the books that are covered this way? How well does it hold up to use?
    I’ve covered some books using the old method for paper bag book covers for school textbooks–it’s not quite as crisp and fitted, but does well for reading. I will have to post some photos when I show my office on my blog!

  2. kelly thompson March 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I like that idea!

  3. Luci@BungalowAtHome March 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    My husband will think I’m crazy but I like this and might just have to do it too!

  4. Kimm at REINVENTED March 26, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    Love the patterns, especially the wood grain. Another great project to add to my to do list. :). Our bookcases could definitely use some unifying pattern.

  5. Barbara Clark April 16, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Loved the idea. Also loved seeing Gabaldon’s book. (I have tried with little success to interest my friends in reading the series.) Feel as though I have found a soul mate!

  6. Tamara April 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Those are soooo cute. The colors are some of my favorites. I’m new here and am really enjoying looking around. Your approach to perfect is so easy-going and re-freshing. Congratulations on all your success and thank you for sharing.

    Blessings to you,

  7. Love your paper choices!

  8. Megan T July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I decorate with books all the time in my home and if they don’t match the decor the way I want them to I turn them around so the spine faces the wall and you see the white of the pages. NOW I have an alternative to making my books go with the rest of my decor! This is awesome and I am (seriously) going to go out today and grab some fun paper to try this. Fantastic idea and I love the papers you chose!

  9. Traci September 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    These covered books look precious! I love your taste in patterns. I started covering books like this about a year ago and just love what an impact something so inexpensive can make! I’m glad you shared this idea.

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