Cover Up: Paper Book Covers that Inspire All Year
Back when I was in elementary and high school (you know, when people walked five miles in the snow, uphill both ways), we basically “rented” our textbooks each year. They were given to us on the first day, our name was added to the list on the inside front cover, and we spent the last week of school assessing the condition of each book and receiving our fines. Bent corners were a quarter each, scratches on the cover were a dime, and marks or tears on the pages inside were a dollar. You couldn’t move to the next grade or go to Field Day until you had paid your book fines!
My classmates and I always covered our textbooks to avoid the damages that had the potential to keep us from Field Day on the last day of school. But when we made them way back when, they we no fun – no fun whatsoever! Covering our books meant taking a brown paper grocery bag apart at the seams and putting the store logo inside (facing the book) so there was a big, blank, brown space to draw on the cover. It sure wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
Times have changed, for sure, but I suspect that those textbooks still take a beating throughout the school year and need to be covered. But I think making your own, with your own personal stamp, is far superior to the drab grocery bag method. As summer winds down, consider making this craft with your kids so they can go back to school in (well-protected) style!
You can do this project using regular 8.5” x 11” paper, or larger legal-sized paper. Simply create any design you like using stickers, rubber stamps or marker. I recommend doing it in black and white because it’s much more cost-effective and gives you space for coloring or doodling throughout the year. I found that geometric patterns and designs work really well. You can download a template of sample designs I created here. Be sure to fill all the space when you’re decorating! Then, take your paper to FedEx Office and have it printed using their oversized printer (you can also e-mail a scan of the drawing or take it in on a jump drive – whatever’s easiest). Next, have it printed to a sheet of paper that measures about 17” x 36” (This is the size of those torn-apart grocery bags. You can add folds later to size the cover to your specific book. If you’re using the large-format printer in the self-serve area, the setting you want is 17 inches.) The cost for printing is around 75 cents a square foot for black and white printing. I made 4 book covers for around $4 – you’ll have a great looking cover for practically nothing! And if budget is of no concern, consider printing them in color.
Here’s how you can cover the book, once you have your custom printed cover made (instructions provided by eHow.com):
- Set the book beside the cover and fold the top and bottom edges toward the center of the paper to make it the same height as your book.
- Open the book and center it on top of the paper, aligned with the top and bottom folds. Then, fold the left and right edges of the paper cover over the front and back covers of the book.
- Here’s where you may have to trim a bit. Check to make sure the left edge of the paper reaches halfway across the inside front cover and that the right edge covers the same distance on the back cover when the book is closed. Trim the right and left edges of the paper if necessary.
- Tape each fold in place at the top and bottom of the paper to form pockets for the front and back covers of the book. Affix the tape to paper, not to the book itself.