September 28, 2009

Book Covers: 1918 Inspiration

    On closer examination of  the book "How I Did It," I realized that what I thought was the cover was actually a beautifully crafted book cover. Now back in the day, when I had to cover my school books, we used brown paper bags and newspapers and clumsily made origami folds and crinkles which ended up looking like dingy elephant-skin covered blocks or  newly wrapped pieces of meat.
    In High School, people stopped covering their books with paper products altogether, they used the newly minted "Booksoxs." The beauty of the booksox was that it was stretchy, almost like tights for your book. It only took a few seconds to put on and some people used this to their advantage by rotating one sox on all five of their textbooks in time for the "Did you cover your textbook check?" To my knowledge, these sox didn't actually protect anything, they were made of cloth and spilled juice would sink right through it.
    Anyway, the book cover on "How I Did It," is probably common knowledge to a lot of people, I had never thought of wrapping a book so simply. I decided that this type of cover would be perfect for when I go to reenactments and have to bring my homework and school books. It doesn't damage the books either. I've seen people bring wrapped books which looked just like those wrapped-piece-of-meat books, with visible tape. They are distracting and could be made more discrete.

To Make a Book Cover:

  • Book ( Soft cover are easiest to work with) 
  • Ruler
  • Cardstock, paper ( use a thicker paper.)
  • Pencils
  • Glue (I used Nori Glue, If you can't find this a homemade rice glue would work.) 
First I measured my book and marked where the book corners would be. For a hardcover book, be sure to add a little extra to each dimension for when you wrap the paper over. Make sure when you are measuring the book you open the book so that the pages are evenly divided on both sides. Make sure that the measurements fit when the book is closed too.
Then I drew out the rest of the dimensions based on this drawing. The dotted lines are folds and the red bits are where you will later add the glue. Cut out your cover on the outer solid lines. (The cover should look like the picture.) I should have used a bigger piece of paper to get adequate flaps.

Fold the side flaps in first and make sure you crease it well. Then fold the top and bottom flaps in and crease them. close the book and try to see where the top and side flaps meet, that's where you will put the glue. Make sure that you don't get any glue on the book, and that you wipe off any excess glue.

Rice glue is especially nice to use with paper products because it dries practically clear. Once you try it you will love it, it dries slow so you have time to adjust what you are gluing before it sets. You don't get the wrinkled paper that you get with school glue and it sticks better than a glue stick. *If you made your own rice glue, be sure to store it in the refrigerator. Paintbrushes, popsicle sticks and cotton  swabs work nicely for distributing the glue. Rice glue will completely dissolve off of the paintbrush when you wash it.

For a final step I used ink to draw on similar markings as the original 1918 book had. The original is drawn in crayon and mimics the lines on the real cover of the book. The finished product looks really great. I hope other reenactors start to add the covers to their books. Enjoy, I know I made a really simple project, overly complicated. You can see the inside cover of the original book in my post "How I Did It."

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