Whether you want to elevate your decor by incorporating coffee table books, or you have a few books that could use a makeover, making a DIY book cover takes very little time and materials.
The not-so-pretty books you may have lying around are an easy DIY project to take on, with an immediate impact when you’re done. From neutral fabric to your favorite wallpaper, this no sew DIY book cover method works for different materials.
Follow along to learn how to cover a book with fabric.
Pretty coffee table books are my thing. I find it difficult to not put the beautiful book in my cart—real or digital. Somehow, the book—oftentimes books—just have to come home with me. After all, I do offer a very welcoming home.
At this point, I have a fairly large and growing neutral book styling collection of which I am immensely proud. Most of the books I own are related to interior design, offering inspiration as well as aspiration for various projects around our home.
Why DIY a Book Cover
The saying to never judge a book by its cover is absolutely true. What matters is what’s inside the book. Let’s be real here, though, many (many) book covers are not aesthetically pleasing, with or without the dust cover.
Oftentimes, book covers are colorful, loud and all around lacking complementary, well, anything.
Luckily, you can easily hide the ugly with a DIY book cover.
We’re going for an elevated home decor book cover. For inspiration, think “Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style” or "Presidential Residences of France" books. Both books are covered in a light, neutral linen fabric, which means the books can be styled with anything and they will look beautiful.
Given this is a no sew way to cover a book, you can use fabric or paper. I prefer a linen fabric, because it's easy to work with. Also, linen fabric comes in different colors, including a lovely neutral sand tone that goes with our decor.
Cover a book in a beautiful fabric or even your favorite wallpaper. Since you only need a small amount, you can use a more expensive fabric or wallpaper.
Supplies to Make a Book Cover
To make your own book cover you’ll need a few simple supplies:
- Fabric or paper - Depending on the style and look you’re going for, linen fabric makes a luxurious looking book cover. You can also use pretty wallpaper to cover a book.
- Scissors - Technically, if you’re cutting fabric, you should use fabric scissors. However, I found my gorgeous stainless steel blush scissors to be just as sharp. These pretty black scissors should work well or this gold dressmaker shears. Russell+Hazel’s beautiful golden acrylic scissors may also work.
- Fabric tape measure - I find a fabric tape measure to be much easier to maneuver around a book. Any fabric tape measure will work. That said, I’m extra and I try to buy aesthetically pleasing everyday items. When I came across this leather tape measure in a natural beige tone, I knew it had to become part of my life.
- Pen or Pencil - To mark the fabric or paper, you will need a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil. I used a pretty pen, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
Lastly, find a flat surface to make cutting against easier (and safer). A craft table or card table are the best surfaces for this project.
If you’re using fabric, you may want to iron the fabric first to remove any creases or wrinkles. This will ensure a smooth fabric book cover.
How to Cover a Book with Fabric
There are many different ways to make your own book cover. Some rely on gravity to hold the cover on, while others sew pockets to slip the book into. Others want a quick fix by using iron on hemming tape, and still others use a hot glue gun.
This guide assumes the book already has a dust cover, as it is the easiest method to measure for a cover.
In case I ever wanted to remove the cover, I didn’t want to permanently glue fabric to the binding. To that end, I used gravity to hold it in place, though you could also use a glue stick to glue fabric to fabric.
Start with a flat surface. A flat surface is imperative for accurate measurements. Particularly with fabric, the edges will be much cleaner, which affects the overall smoothness of the book cover.
This is the step by step guide to make your own DIY book cover.
Step 1: Measure height and width
Measure the height and width of the dust cover (or the book) with the covers open. If you are using the book to measure and not the dust cover, add at least 2-3” to the outside dimensions and mark the fabric.
To make it easier to cut in a straight line, either draw a line from point to point or make small marks along the height and width to use as a guide whilst cutting.
Step 2: Cut
Cut the fabric to size.
Step 3: Mark and cut pockets
Center the book vertically and horizontally on the fabric and mark the top, bottom and width of the spine on the fabric. Cut along vertical marks to create pockets for each cover. Fold in the two small flaps above and below the spine.
Step 4: Fold
Place the book back centered on the fabric. Open the front cover flat on the fabric and fold the top and bottom in, then the outside, to create a pocket to go around the front cover.
Carefully close the book to hold the pocket in place. Hold the book vertical again and open the back cover. Pull the fabric tight around the top, bottom, and outside to create the second pocket
Lift the back to cover the rest of the book.
That’s it! Your not-so-pretty book is now covered in a beautiful fabric, ready for console table styling, to elevate your shelf decor or placed on a coffee table.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making a homemade DIY book cover is fairly easy. You can use fabric, a pretty wallpaper, construction paper, or even a paper grocery bag. Since a book cover does not require much material, you could use a more expensive fabric or wallpaper to elevate the look.
There are many different ways to make your own book cover. Some rely on gravity to hold the cover on, while others sew pockets to slip the book into. Others want a quick fix by using iron on, no-sew hemming tape, and still others use a hot glue gun.
You can absolutely use fabric as a book cover. In fact, fabric enables you to create a cohesive design, if you plan to use the book(s) for styling around your home. Linen fabric is a great solution, though almost any type of fabric will work. Upholstery fabric may be more difficult to work with, given its heavy duty thickness, but it also means the cover may last longer than other fabrics.
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