January 25, 2012

DIY Hardcover Book Decor

I recently found out about these beautiful books:

They are the Penguin Classics Hardcover collection and the series costs over $200 which is something I cannot afford. Granted, they are wonderful books; classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, etc. I would love to own all of these books not only for their literary value, but ESPECIALLY because of how adorable they would look on my mantle or shelf.

So this got me thinking. How can I re-create something similar to these adorable books but at an affordable price? Here you go: the DIY Hardcover Book Decor Tutorial!

These are the hardcover books I created myself. I think they look pretty good! And pretty cute on my mantle.

The great part? Each book cost me LESS THAN $2!!!! And actually, if you already have hardcover books at home this project can be absolutely free! It won't cost you anything! For that price, I could make 100 decorative books for my home and still beat the Penguin Classics Collection price.

Also, your books will truly be ONE OF A KIND! No one else will have the same decor as you because you made it and personalized it to your taste! Or, you can spend $$$ on the book series above and have the same books on your mantle as everyone else. 

Here's how you start. Get some hardcover books that you don't mind covering. I didn't have a whole bunch just lying around like some people might, so I found a whole stack of hardcover books at Savers for really cheap. And I used a 20% coupon to get them so it was even cheaper. I tried to find a variety of sizes, thicknesses, etc. so they all wouldn't look "cookie-cutter". 

You can also buy some Cardboard Book Boxes like these:

I found these at Hobby Lobby. Small size= $1.99. Large size= $2.99. If you use Hobby Lobby's weekly 40% off coupon they would cost $1.19 for the small size and $1.79 for the large size.

Here are the basic supplies you will need: 
1. Hardcover Books (whether ones you already own, or you can buy them cheap at 2nd hand stores, or at a craft store).

2. Paper- any design that you like! I would recommend cardstock paper because it bubbles up less when using Mod Podge.

3. Mod Podge- most people already own a bottle of this kind of glue. You can use either matte or glossy finish, but I would recommend the matte finish as it makes the hardcover book look more realistic. 

4. Foam brush- you can buy a pack of 4 at Walmart for 97 cents. You may already own one.

Other optional supplies: sand paper and a stamp ink pad (you'll see why later). 

Okay, now for the steps (I don't have pictures for each step since they are pretty basic).

Step 1: Clean each hardcover book using rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. This will clean the cover and spine and ensure a good bonding surface for the mod podge glue. Let each book dry for at least a few minutes.

Step 2: Measure the size of your book cover and the spine. Add on at least 1/4 inch for the book cover measurement and about 1/2 inch for the spine measurement. I liked having the paper I chose for the book spine to overlap a little onto the front and back covers.

Step 3: Apply mod podge to the book spine and slightly onto the front and back covers. Press the paper onto the spine and both book covers. Allow to dry.

*Tip- use a credit card or something flat to rub over the paper to smooth out any bubbles. 

Step 4: Apply mod podge to the front and back book covers as above and press paper onto each cover. Allow to dry. 

Step 5: One the paper on the book has dried, apply another coat of mod podge over the paper on both covers and the spine. Allow the book to dry.

The final steps are optional:

Take some sand paper and rub around the edges of the paper on the book. This gives it a more finished look.

Then, with a stamp ink pad (you can use any color you want, but I would suggest a brown or black color), gently brush the edges of the paper all around the book to give it a slightly weathered and used look. I like how it made my books look more vintage.

The final product!

As I did this project, I found that I liked using real hardcover books versus the cardboard book boxes simply because the actual hardcover books have real pages.

However, what I do like about the cardboard book boxes is that they open up and you can use them for a myriad of things. You could keep little treats inside, pencils, stationary, or best of all, give it as a gift to someone! Include a cute neighbor gift, girlfriend gift, or anything inside the cardboard book box then the box becomes the wrapping! Include some cute ribbon or any type of embellishment on the outside for an authentic and individualized look!

I LOVE how these books turned out. I am excited to try other paper combinations!

January 16, 2012


Man alive I love this girl. I am so lucky to be her mom!

These are some fabric covered button bracelets I've created! I am very proud of my work. My favorites are the vintage-looking ones!

And I made a felt wreath! It turned out great.
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