Textbooks can be very expensive, in fact, at some colleges, students end up spending more than $ 1,200 a year on books alone. Why risk hurting or ruining these expensive investments when you can make a quick and easy cover out of sheets of paper, paper bags, or electrical tape? The pennies you spend on a simple paper cover can save you a lot of money in the long run, so don't wait, line your books today for long-lasting protection.
Method 1 of 3: Use a Sheet of Paper
Step 1. Get the paper you need to cover the book with a single sheet
With this method, a sheet of paper will be used to create a quick, easy, and affordable cover for your textbook. To get started, spread the paper out on a flat surface, then open the book and place it cover side down on the paper. This should extend beyond the edges of the book. If not, the paper is not the required size.
- There are a wide variety of papers that work well as a cover. In general, thicker papers (like cardstock) will provide more protection, although decorative ones (like wrapping paper) can be more visually appealing. Decorating and reinforcing paper covers will be covered later in the article.
- You can also use materials that are paper-like, such as wallpaper, Tyvek (often used for packaging), and electrical tape (see below in the article).
Step 2. Cut out the paper so that it is slightly larger than the book
Using a ruler, cut the paper so that it extends over the long edges by 1 to 2 inches (2.5 cm) and the short edges by 2 to 3 inches (5 cm). Thus, the cover will have enough material to stay fixed around the book, but not so much that it is uncomfortable to work with.
Step 3. Make wedge-shaped grooves near the spine
The "spine" is the hard part of the book in the middle of the cover where all the pages meet. Make two wedge or triangle cuts in the middle of the long edges of the sheet of paper that extend to the edge of the book. These cuts should line up with both ends of the spine.
If you don't, you will have trouble in the next step when you fold the extra material over the edges of the cover. It is physically impossible to fold the paper on top of the pages, so the paper cover will wrinkle and eventually break when opening and closing the book
Step 4. Fold the edges inward
Choose the front or back cover of the book to start making the cover. First, fold the longer edges of the paper over the cover of the book so that they fit snugly over it. Then fold the four corners of the paper inward so they line up with the edges of the folds you just made. Finally, fold the short edge of the paper inward to complete the cover.
Use pieces of masking tape to secure the work as you go along and secure the cover when you're done lining
Step 5. Close the book and repeat the steps for the other cover
When you've finished taping the side of the new cover, close the book so it is in place, open the opposite cover, and repeat the folding process exactly as before. Tape each fold down as you go.
- Congratulations! The book cover will be complete. Anything you add to the deck after this point is totally optional.
- One thing that would be nice for you to experiment with is putting a strip of masking tape along the spine while the book is closed. The spine is usually the part of the deck that receives most of the wear and tear, so protecting it with tape can prevent premature wear.
- Taping the corners together also helps eliminate a common point of wear. It also has the advantage of keeping the cover more securely on the book.
- Sturdy tapes like packing tape or electrical tape are best, although multiple layers of scotch tape or masking tape can work very well.
Step 6. Decorate the deck
Before taking the textbook to class, you'd better fix your plain old boring cover. How you do it will be up to you, as long as it doesn't mark or hurt the book, it will probably be enough. Here are some ideas, although feel free to use your own.
- drawings and scribbles (be careful not to use pens or markers that go through the cover)
- duct tape designs
- Negative space designs (for example, cut a bit of the cover into a decorative shape)
- magazine clippings, advertisements, and more, just cut and paste them
Step 7. Label your textbook
Label it both on the front and on the spine. Make each cover different in some way, like with different colors or decorations, or whatever works for you. When you're in a rush, it's easier to mistake one textbook for another in your locker, backpack, or at home.
- Write down how someone could reach you if the book is lost, such as your school's name, your phone number, or an email. If you left the textbook somewhere, it is very likely that it will get to you or the school if the well-meaning person who finds it knows how to get to you.
- Just make sure you don't include any sensitive information that identifies information like an address or a student ID number.
Method 2 of 3: Use a paper bag
Step 1. Get kraft paper (also known as brown paper)
The material you should choose is a thick, brown paper known as kraft or brown paper. Paper bags are made from this material, like those delivered in some supermarkets. This paper comes in rolls and can be found anywhere that sells packing supplies. Also, it is a bit easier to work with. However, it is obviously not free.
Make sure the bag is large enough to cover both sides of the book before you begin
Step 2. Cut the bag into a single sheet
To start, cut the bottom of the bag following the folds and remove any handles. Make a single vertical cut in one corner of the bag. The result should be a single rectangular sheet of paper.
Step 3. Fold the cover as you would a regular sheet of paper
Now that you've more or less turned the paper bag into a single sheet, the rest of the process is easy. Just follow the steps in the previous section with a cutout paper bag instead of the specified sheet.
- Ignore the folds that could be left in the sheet of paper that you have cut out of the bag, make your own folds.
- Ironing the paper on medium power will remove any crease marks that could confuse you or just make a neat and nice piece of paper.
Method 3 of 3: Use electrical tape
Make a “sheet” of electrical tape
Step 1. Spread a single strip of electrical tape with the sticky side up
When it comes to long-term durability, it's hard to beat a textbook cover made only of electrical tape.
- However, since gluing duct tape directly to the book can be detrimental on its own, you will need to make a "sheet" of duct tape first that does not have any adhesive sides. It is not as difficult as it sounds, although it can sometimes take a long time. To start, take out a long strip of tape and spread it across the work area face up.
- The strip of tape should be 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) longer than the height of the book. For the rest of this section, use strips of tape that are roughly the same length as the first one, but keep in mind that they don't have to be exactly the same.
Step 2. Spread a strip of tape on top, sticky side down
Take a second strip of tape and "very carefully" spread it sticky side down over the first so that it covers about half of the first piece. Press it so that there are no wrinkles.
Step 3. Fold the first strip of tape over itself
Take the first piece of tape (the one with the sticky side up) and fold it over the top of the second. Press it down for a clean, even fold. This will be an "edge" of the sheet, as you will continue to apply more tape in the opposite direction.
Step 4. Flip it over and repeat
Spread a third piece of tape over the one that is now sticky side up. Make sure you don't leave any gaps where the sticky adhesive can be seen, as if it lands on the cover of your book, it could tear it.
It would be good to overlap the tape a bit to make sure no adhesive parts are exposed
Step 5. Follow this pattern until you have a "leaf" larger than the book
Keep turning the tape and putting on new strips. Before long, you'll have a "sheet" that is sticky side down on both sides. When it is large enough to have a few inches left on each side of the book, make the second edge by folding the final piece of tape over itself to hide the sticky part.
Step 6. Cut the "leaf" into a uniform rectangle
Open the book and place it cover side down on the sheet. Use a ruler to mark straight lines along the edges of the sheet that cut off all the uneven ends of tape. Use a pair of scissors, a razor, or a precision razor to cut along these lines.
When you are done, you should have a sheet that is perfectly rectangular (and extends beyond the edges of the book by a few inches)
Put the cover on the book
Step 1. Cut wedge-shaped holes for the spine of the book
Compared to making the sheet of duct tape, the rest of the job is easy. To get started, open the book and lay it cover down on the sheet of electrical tape. Use diagonal cuts to make wedge-shaped grooves above and below the spine of the book. When you're done, there will be small gaps at the top and bottom of the page that line up with the spine of the book.
This procedure is done for the same reason as the paper method mentioned above. Without it, opening the book will put stress on the part of the cover near the spine, causing it to bend strangely and eventually wear out
Step 2. Mark the fold lines for the duct tape covering
Fold the short edges over the covers of the book and mark the lines where the sheet folds. Repeat this folding and scoring process for the long edges.
Step 3. Press the folds
Take the book off the sheet. Fold it again along the lines you just marked. Press down on the folds to make creases more pronounced. Put a heavy object (like your textbook) over each crease for a few minutes to flatten the folds.
Step 4. Tape the cover around the entire book
When you have gotten neat, flat folds, place the book back on the sheet and fold the cover on all sides. First fold the long edges of the sheet around the cover and then the short ones on top with the help of diagonal folds. Use thin strips of electrical tape to secure each fold.
Step 5. One option is to decorate the cover
Congratulations, the cover is ready and you can decorate it however you want. Although the pen and marker do not show well on the dark colored electrical tape, you can still try creating designs with different colors of tape, adhesive ornaments (such as stones), and so on.
- As previously recommended, label textbooks and make it easier for a lost book to find you.
- It would also be a good idea to place strips of masking tape on the front cover and spine to use as labels. This is a good idea to record the subject of each book.
- One decorating idea is to draw covers that have an appropriate "theme" for the book, such as a world map for a geography textbook, a pen and inkwell for a language book, and so on.
- Note that you could also buy book covers at department stores like Target, Walmart, and others (especially in the "back to school" season).
- For maximum durability, you can try "laminating" the cover by covering it with a layer of clear packing tape when you are done drawing pictures on it.