I’m still exploring ways of reusing and deconstructing old books. I shudder to think how many old books I’ve forced my husband to send to charity shops–if I had only known what fun it was to remake them!
I’ve showed you two book projects already–the drilled paper back stack and faux French antique books. This technique is equally simple and looks wonderful with the other two styles. It’s a lot like wrapping a box.
First, measure the book you want to recover. Try to keep the final cover sheet size within the confines of printing 8.5″ x 11″ or 8.5″ x 14″. Then you can avoid going to a copy shop. Be sure to add an inch to the width and 2″ to the height so you’ll have something to fold over to the inside covers.)
Next, find a great piece of antique script handwriting (free source) online–there are tons on my Pinterest board (Printables–alpha, backgrounds). I love French script, but there are other languages and of course, lots of English. Save it as a jpeg file and through your computers desktop publishing program, then enlarge it to the size you need (try to keep roughly the same file proportions so the script looks good, but sometimes you may need to stretch it a bit one direction or another). This example is an old farm letter.
Remember to add the extra inches you’ll need for the wrapping. When figuring exactly how many inches to add to the size of the cover, you an decide to handle the spine two different ways. You can add three inches to the cover size width (more if you have a really fat book) to cover the spine with one of the sheets. Or you can simple stop the sheets where the cover meets the spine and add a spine from another script or another color paper. I’ve done that one one of the ones I’ve shown, and I really like the look. If you chose the other method, just cut off the back side right where the spine meets the back cover and wrap the extra 2 inches of the front cover over the spine. Cut it where it the seam is least noticeable.
Print two identical cover sheets (and the additional spine if you’re printing the spine on separate paper) on a nice paper–something with some tooth. I like paper that is a natural color–cream or tan or even the kind that’s the color of paper bags. Sometimes the script you will have a slight background color, which I love. It really adds an aged look when you print it.
Once you’ve got the paper printed, use Mod Podge to attach it to the covers. Make sure you are getting the script right side up vis a vis the book’s interior pages. (Yup, I learned the hard way.) Just glue the covers first, Smooth from the center outward to remove any air bubbles so the cover sheet is nice and smooth. Then make little clips with a scissors at the outer corners to cut away a tiny square of the cover sheet on each cover, and fold the excess paper over onto the inside cover on all three sides. Try to do this as evenly and neatly as possible, making the corners smooth. Then tackle the spine. You’ll have to trim the spine at the top and bottom, an inch is too much to fold over here. More like 1/8 of an inch will have to do here. If you’re doing a separate spine, make sure the paper straddles the spine evenly on both side–nice to leave about 1/2″ on both side of the spine.
This process goes really fast. In no time at all you can do three or four books, and your collection is started!
Next I’m trying all white books!