Make Your Own Paper Bag Book Cover

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Make Your Own Paper Bag Book Cover

paper bag book cover decorated with stamps

How to Make a Paper Bag Book Cover

Over the past few years, people were reinvigorated with a desire to be kinder to the environment. As a result, paper bags are piling up around the house after grocery runs. Luckily, there are numerous different ways you can repurpose your paper bags. One of these ideas that’s slowly making a comeback? Paper bag book covers. So, let’s dive into how you can create your own, unique paper bag book cover for your textbooks this year and decorate it with your own, personalized stamps!

Materials You’ll Need

  • A Brown Paper Bag*
  • Scissors – For nice clean lines
  • Ruler – To ensure even folds
  • Tape – For some extra fold durability
  • Stamps – For style

*this can be replaced with wrapping paper or brown parcel paper

Let’s Get Started

Step 1: Paper Preparation

The first question is how big of a book you’re looking to cover. Paper bags come in all sizes from lunch bags to grocery bags. If you’re trying to cover a larger textbook, try using a larger grocery bag. If you’re planning on using a paper lunch bag, double check that it's big enough to cover your book.

To prepare the paper bag, your goal is to make it as flat as possible. Simply pull apart any seams or folds to get the largest single sheet of paper possible. If there aren’t obvious seams, make sure you’re cutting up along the side of the bag. If you cut the bottom, you’ll be left with two separate, much smaller pieces to work with.

Step 2: Book Sizing

Once you have a large sheet of paper to work with, you’ll want to cut it down to size. To do this, simply lay your book, somewhat centered, on the sheet. Now, cut the paper so that you have a three-inch border around the book. If there are weird edges on the paper, try and center the book so that those can be cut off.

Step 3: Cover Fitting

Now you have the material to work with, it’s time to begin building it around the book in question. There are two sets of folds that you need to make.

First, you’ll want to create one fold along the top and one along the bottom. These should be made so the book and the paper are the same height. You can do this by placing the book in the center of the paper and either tracing the book or creating creases where the folds will be.

The folds should be about the same length, so take your time when positioning them.

At this point in the process, you’ll be distinguishing the inside and outside of the cover. Please note that the folds will be on the inside of the cover. So if there is a logo you want to hide, now is the time.

With the cover-to-be at a good height, center the book on it once more. Now fold the paper over the front and back covers of the book. Make sure there's enough material to secure the fold in place, while not going past the book crease.

Finally, place the fitted book cover onto the book. Use tape to secure the corners so that the cover will remain in place.

Step 4: Customization

One of the biggest perks of using a brown paper bag as a book cover is that the material is extremely kind to any number of creative mediums. You could decide to use paints, markers, colored pencils, stencils, stickers or all of these! You can even print out art and glue it to the front cover or spine.

Of course, our favorite decoration is stamps. These provide crisp designs in beautiful colors on the front of the book. They can be complimented with some other embellishments for a clean final look. The possibilities are endless.

Common Questions

Can I paint or put decorations on my paper bag book cover?

Of course! This is your work of art, do what makes you smile😊

Can I decorate the book cover with the book inside?

Technically, you can. Realistically, we'd suggest you remove the book first. Ridges on the book may affect your decorations, and any sharp or wet decorating methods may (permanently) affect the book.

How long will this paper bag book cover last?

This one depends a little on you. If you’re throwing the book into a backpack every day, then the cover is doing its job and protecting the book. But it won’t last nearly as long as one destined to decorate a bookshelf.

Can I make one for any book size?

If you can find paper big enough, you can cover just about any book. Now, if you’re looking at this question wondering how small you could make the cover, at some point, you might need additional tools, like a magnifying glass. You could probably also use something like a credit card to get some nice creases. Good luck either way!

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