Tess's first birthday party is coming together. I am not quite sure what to call it. It has to do with vintage children's books (sound familiar?) but also other vintage motifs such as calico fabrics, embroidery, pom-poms, and even the timeless Liberty of London floral prints. If you have a good way of summing that up, let me know!
One thing I have planned is to give all our guests books to take home with them. I was thinking of covering hardbound books in fabric but after some searching (difficult to find affordable, hardbound blank books!) and experimenting I ended up covering traditional composition books in paper. This has mostly to do with the dimensions of the books, and ease (I'm trying!), as they may serve as decor too. (UPDATE: I did end up figuring this out with fabric too! See here.)
This is a very simple DIY project--no special skills required--and the customization options are endless of course. I made an extra for Audrey's kindergarten teacher (great teacher gift!) and then bought a bunch more composition books to make some to keep on hand. Christmas gifts perhaps? I can always use a notebook and the cuter the better.
I hope all the recipients will enjoy these books as much as Audrey has. She and Scarlett have been helping themselves to some of the party prep!
I will show you two ways to cover a book. The first is "old school," using Elmer's Rubber Cement. (Remember that stuff? I really liked it and still do, plus it's acid-free.) The second is new school, using Krylon Spray Adhesive (I love this stuff too--super easy, and yes, also acid-free). They both have their pros and cons and each has it's own smell so you'll have to decide which you favor!
Pick a side to start with, and positioning the book in the center of the paper, quickly (becuase this stuff dries in a blink!) cover with the rubber cement an area of the paper equal to the size of your book cover. (This doesn't have to be exact--just eyeball it. Though I suppose you could also lightly trace the dimensions of your cover on the paper to be more exact.) Be careful to use a think layer of rubber cement as the paper will absorb it if it's thick.
Brush rubber cement on the adjacent cover of your book as well.
Now lay the cover with the cement down on the area of the paper you covered with the rubber cement. It's ok if they dried a bit in the process--it will still stick. I remember we used to let the two pieces dry entirely before adhering but the can recommends that they both be wet for the firmest hold.
Press to get a good "stick."
Repeat for the second cover: brush an area of the paper and the corresponding book cover with rubber cement.
Now fold the paper tightly over the second cover. Smooth the paper into place. Looking good already!
Now for the trimming. Notch a little triangle shape from the paper at the spine of the book. This will make it possible to fold the paper inside the covers. Just trim the tip of the triangle close to the spine.
Fold the paper inside the covers of the book on both sides. These fold marks will create a guide for trimming.
Unfold and cut at a diagonal.
Glue down the flaps starting with the top and bottom.
The glue down the side.
You can trim the paper if it is extra long. It looks best if the paper overlaps the inside cover equally on all sides.
If you want to get extra fancy, you can cut another decorative paper to fit the inside front (and back if you wish) cover.
I used some paper I created for Tess' party based on this Liberty of London fabric (I drew the flowers and colored them in photoshop).
Using rubber cement (or the adhesive of your choice), glue the paper into the inside cover, overlapping the cover paper.
You can also add a bookplate to further personalize this gift.
Now, to do this with spray adhesive:
Simply spray the entire wrong side of paper you are using with the spray adhesive. Then position your book so there is enough paper margin around all sides and lay it down on one side. Press down and follow the steps above to cover it (flip the paper over to adhere to the other cover, open out and trim spine and corners, fold paper in and add paper on the side covers if you'd like).
The spray adhesive method is really much quicker but it's a product that isn't as easily attainable, so it's nice that this works with rubber cement and other options. Give it a whirl!
And to see how this is done with fabric, click here.