Recycled Bookcovers

Does anyone else remember these?

Making bookcovers out of paper shopping bags?

It's all my mom ever did when I was a kid. Of course, we didn't have the stretchy fabric ones that you can purchase now. But even though those are fairly cheap and certainly easy, I don't think they protect the book as well. And that's really the purpose of the bookcover, right?

So, just in case you never knew how, or can't remember, or are too young and simply never did it, I thought I'd do a quick tutorial today on how to do book covers out of paper shopping bags.

You'll need a paper shopping bag, scissors, and tape, and the text book you need to cover.

Begin by "flattening the shopping bag." Cut a seam from the top to bottom on one side. It doesn't really matter where unless you're trying to salvage some printing on the bag. If it's a cool design or a "noteworthy" shop, you might want the printing to be visible when finished. Otherwise, you would typically put the printing on the inside of the bookcover.

Next, remove the bottom rectangle of the bag.

Now you should have a flat piece of paper to work with. If there's printing on the bag, decide if you want it visible or not. If not, place the paper print-side-up.

The paper bag is going to wrap around the book longways. Begin by aligning the book in the center of the flattened paper bag. At the bottom edge of the book, fold in a section along the full length of one edge (long side.) A regular-sized shopping bag will allow you about 3 inches for the fold. After the fold is made, realign the book at the crease, leaving about 1/4" excess.

Next, fold back the paper against the top edge of the book and crease, providing a fold guideline. Remove the book and fold in a section along the full length of the top edge (long side,) parallel to the fold you made on the opposite side.

Realign the book. The folds should match the size of the book with a little room to spare. It's better to have a little too much room than too little, so adjust as necessary.

Fold the paper over the spine of the book, leaving about 3 inches of excess paper past the right edge of the bookcover.

Lift the cover of the book and fold under the excess length.

Trim the opposite end of the paper to about 3 inches past the edge of the book.

Tighten the paper around the book from the front to the back, then fold over the excess paper on the back cover.

Next, open the book and insert the front cover into the pocket created when you folded over the paper.

Close the front cover and repeat with the back.

The cover should fit snugly and be secured in place by the pocket folds. For additional support, use some tape to secure the folds in place.

And the last thing to do is label and decorate the cover! If it wears out before the school year is over, just grab another bag from the grocery store and whip up another one. It's a great way to recycle, encourage the artistic talents, and protect a school textbook all at one time. And best of all, it's FREE!

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

I'll be linking to some of the fabulous link parties listed on the right sidebar ... but really, that's a LOT of parties! I probably won't get to them all, but you should stop in and visit a few yourself. While you're at it, stop by my home page and add a few links there too!