InHome Décor

How To Make Easy & Non-Permanent DIY Book Covers

I’ll show you how to make DIY Book Covers to get a uniform look on your bookshelves.

We all love books, and sometimes there can be nothing prettier than a beautifully styled bookshelf.  But shat do you do if all your books look different?  Of course, they will look different – various colours, sizes and fonts, because we don’t often buy books in sets.  This makes a bookshelf look messy as with my recipe bookshelf in the kitchen.  I’ve removed the books I use less often, but it still did not help. 

Bookshelf before |

Now, you can do as some bloggers do, and take the covers off or paint the coats.  I’ve also seen people turn the books around not to display the covers.  Although it looks pretty, it makes it harder to find what you are looking for.  And even though I love the look of a stamped book stack, I was not ready to alter my recipe books permanently.  So, I decided to make non-permanent DIY book covers from brown paper.

This is also one of the final posts before I get to our Kitchen reveal!  Be sure to look at the other Retro Kitchen Revamp posts.

Before we go further, please remember to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you never miss a post.  

DIY Book Covers |

Step 1:  Gather Books & Supplies

The supplies for these DIY book covers are very basic.  I used the following:

  • Brown-paper – I got a couple of meters from my local craft store
  • Craft knife, or scissors, a pencil and a ruler
  • A printer and double-sided tape if you are printing your book titles or your favourite pen if you are hand-lettering
DIY Book Covers - book before |

Step 2:  Measure and Cut your Paper

Firstly, you need to determine how big to cut the paper you are using.  Measure the height of your book that is your first measurement.  Write down this number as well as the spine width, together with the book title as you will use it later on as well. 

Next, you will measure, as shown in the image.  You measure the front and back widths, the spine width, and then you add about 10cm to each side.  That is the total of your second measurement.  Now go ahead and cut your rectangle, but be sure to measure each book carefully.

How to Measure your Book |

Step 3:  Fold the Paper around your Books

Now we are folding the brown paper around your book, to make the DIY book covers.  Place the book cover around your book as shown, be sure to centre the book in the cover.  Make a soft fold at the front cover to act as a guide, then take it off, and make a sharp fold.  Put it back onto the book, turn your book around and make the back fold in the same manner.  Be sure to make the folds nice and snug – we are not attaching the covers to the books, so they need to sit tight.

Now take a look at the spine, and run your fingers along the edges to create folds on the spine as well.

DIY Book Covers - Folds at spine |

Step 4:  Print out Book Titles and attach to your Book Covers

If you choose to hand letter the titles of your books, go ahead and do that.  I’m not always too fond of my own handwriting, so I decided to print out my book titles.  Now you might wonder why I could not print them directly onto the cover I just made?  I only have a small A4 printer at home, and it is of course very limited in terms of paper size it can print on.  So, I had to devise a plan where I could still print the titles at home, without printing at a print shop and adding cost to the project. 

Take the measurements of your book height and spine width and plan out how you can print it out, on, as in my case an A4 page.  I added 2cm to each side of the spine width measurement to allow for this add-on piece to wrap around the edges.  I typed out all my book titles and printed them on my home printer, straight onto A4 sheets of my brown-paper. 

Cut out your book titles, and attach the double-sided tape to the long edges.  Make a fold at the 2cm line from the edge to act as your guide, and attach the first edge to your book cover.  Then turn the book over and attach the other end, making sure it sits tight.  And that is all there is to it.  This double layer at the spine will also ensure that these DIY book covers stay in good shape for longer.

Recipe book covers |


You don’t have to spend a lot to make your own book covers.  And you also don’t need to alter your books permanently if you can’t get it over your heart.  But this method of DIY book covers from brown paper allows you to get a more uniform look on your bookshelf, and I’m sure you will love the outcome as much as I did.

Brown-paper book covers |
DIY Book Covers -After |

If you love book stacks, you can take a look at my friend Sara-Lynn’s book stacks over at The Inspired Decorator.  I love her play of words that she stamped on the spines.  I think her book stacks look perfect for side-table décor.

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How to Make Easy Book Covers with Paper to Update your Shelves |
Make Brown-paper Book Covers for a more Uniform Look |
DIY Brown-Paper Book Covers |

I’ll be back soon with more Kitchen Updates!  Until then, take care!

Junette |

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  • Nina

    Hi, do you maybe know how thick the paper is?
    I’m trying to order it online, but I’m not sure which one to pick – it’s difficult to estimate which ones would be thick enough.
    Great idea, thank you!

    February 8, 2023 at 12:36 pm Reply
    • Junette

      Hi Nina

      Any thickness paper will work; I’ve also used 80g paper for other book covers. But I would not suggest using thicker than 200g as folding becomes more difficult.

      March 9, 2023 at 12:53 pm Reply

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