Making Paperback Book Covers?

I'm interested in recovering a paperback book with either fabric (stretchy knit?) or contact paper. Any hints or patterns out there?

By Jeanette Jacobs from South of San Antonio


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August 3, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am a retired school teacher and I covered books, notebooks, and anything else I got my hands on, to protect the covers. I always used clear contact paper. However, this does work with regular brown grocery bags. The only difference is that the contact paper adheres to the book, and the regular paper only covers the book but can come off.

Cut the paper so you have 1.5 inches extra on all sides.

Place the book so the back (not cover) is in the middle. Mark where all four corners of the back hit the paper. You want to cut a V out at each point. The small piece at the center back should be folded in so the fold is at the top and bottom of the book back and not interfering with the opening of the book.


Next, put the paper around the book folding the extra width inside. Now fold the top and bottom inside so you will have the corners marked.

Unfold the paper and make a 45 degree cut from the top edge of the paper (angled from back of book edge) to the corner point. DO NOT cut anything away. Repeat this for the bottom corners.

Wrap the paper all back around the book and tuck the tops in. Next, tuck the sides in. The odd shaped piece sticking out should be folded up over the top outside and then brought down and around and folded over the side to the inside. Fasten these corners down, and tape the edges of the squares on the outside to reinforce the corners.

This sounds confusing, so I would recommend trying it with a grocery bag a time or two until you get used to it. When I was in grade school we had to cover all of our books this way. Actually, once in a while they gave us "book covers" which was the large rectangular heavier paper and we still had to fold, cut and tape.


After you get used to using the paper, you can change and use clear contact paper so the covers will show through. You just have to tear off the backing in pieces and stick it tightly as you go, working from the back first, then closing the book, do the covers, and then the wrap-around corners.

Actually, it's a piece of cake!!!

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

P.S. I get my clear contact paper from the 99 Cent Store nowadays & always keep it on hand. The bonus for paperback books seems to be that the covering helps to protect the bindings, too. I have some from my highschool days still intact.

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

RE patterns: You don't need one, really if you cover with contact paper. You simply put the book you want to cover down on the un-opened plastic, on the paper grid on the back and measure enough for the front cover with an extra 1-2" around, then roll over to the spine to gauge how wide the book is - then lay down the back cover and measure 1-2" around. Then you can cut the cover to size, take off the plastic backing and putting the contact paper flat on a flat surface, with the sticky side up - press the front cover down flat, leaving enough room for the 1-2" around the 3 outer edges, then roll over the spine, and press it into the sticky on the back cover of the book.


Now you will have the book covered, with an excess of 1-2". Cut off the excess at the corners of the covers so you can cover the covers. At the spine, then cut both top and bottom edge to the edge of the book. It is a bit tricky -but easy once you get the hang of it. Then press out any bubbles there may be in the contact paper (you can even prick them with a pin). Voila. It's a great skill once you master it.

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April 17, 20110 found this helpful

I have used left over 'heavy weight' wallpaper, to make my paper back covers. It was all that was needed. I don't want to sit in a doctors office with my book cover for everyone to see,

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