Remember covering your textbooks with brown paper in high school? And how cool it felt to be able to protect your borrowed books in such a resourceful and stylish way?
I hated covering my books with paper sacks! I wanted the fabric kind from a store that came in different colors, which makes today’s post a bit ironic.
I’m a bookworm, but a color-phobic one. I have a lot of books, especially home books, and I love keeping them accessible. I don’t, however, like a rainbow of book jackets. Covering your books in brown paper is a great way to display them without letting them take over the room.
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Books – hardbacks are easiest to cover, but you can cover paper backs as well.
Paper shopping bags
Remove the bottom of the bag and cut it so that it is in one long strip.
Place your book in the center, then fold the paper over so that the ends meet.
Crease along the sides so that you’ll know where to fold the paper after removing the book.
Do the same at the ends of the book.
Remove the book and finish folding the long sides of the paper. This will form the little pockets on the ends for the book cover to slip into. Give yourself the smallest bit of extra room so that the books will slip in easily. If it is too tight, the paper will tear.
Stick the ends of the cover into the pockets, sliding it in until it reaches the crease you made.
They might need some tweaking and fine tuning, but that’s basically it! You can also add a bit of tape inside the folds to keep the edges from puckering.
Look how pretty they are, stacked neatly!
I wrote the title of each book on the binding with fine tip Sharpie, but you could fancy them up a little bit if you wanted to. A metallic marker would add a fun touch, too.
Now, with no fancy organizing system, I can throw my books up on the shelf and they’ll always look great.
You could take it a step further and cover them with fabric instead of paper. That would let you really customize the books to fit the rest of your style, but that would involve glue. I’ve seen them covered in linen, and that looks beautiful too.
But paper is temporary and free, which works for me!
In case you’re wondering about the practicality of paper covered books, I should mention that I don’t cover them until I’ve read them for the first time. I carry books around with me (yes, even the big hardback ones), and the paper isn’t all that practical in a purse.
I love that, by neutralizing the colorful covers of the books, I can keep the focus on the things I want to highlight.
It looks a little sparse right now, but I’ll be adding more to this little built-in spot as time goes on. I’m trying really hard to be patient and intentional about decorating. It’s not easy to hold back, but ideas come much more freely when there is more or less a blank slate. If you fill up a space mindlessly, it can be hard to see past what’s there when you want a change.
So what do you think? Covered books or colorful spines?