Jun 14

Book Cover from a Vintage Painting DIY

Here is a project I put together where you can make a journal or sketchbook out of a thrift store painting. It is a really simple process and gives a big payoff–a really special journal or sketchbook. It’s one of those projects that the first time will take you 25 minutes and then every time after will take about 10 minutes. These make very special gifts to give friends or just keep to yourself. In college I learned some bookbinding and the actual sewing of the pages can take a whole afternoon. I was so excited when I found you could buy book kits ready-made so you just make the covers. You can find all the directions below.

Materials Needed: Painting on canvas (I get mine from thrift stores), Paper Source book kit (I used this one), pencil, bone folder, exacto knife, a large brush, archival glue, ruler, and a cutting mat. All of these supplies can be purchased in the bookbinding section of an art store.

Step 1: Remove the canvas from the stretchers by cutting along the border with an exacto knife.
Step 2: Lay the canvas down on your work table. Place one piece of book board down on the section of canvas you would like to be on the cover.
Step 3: Next measure 7/8″ from the edge of the book board and mark it.
Step 4: Make the cut along the marks.

More instruction after the jump.

Step 5: Turn the canvas over (if it is easier) and measure out 7/8″ from the top of the book board and the bottom, then cut along your marks.
Step 6: Next it’s time to measure the spine. To determine a spine measurement: measure the thickness of the book and then add 1/4″ for each of the gutters, the total of these equal the spine width.
Step 7: Lay down the other book board on the other side of the spine, then measure 7/8″ border to find the last cutting line.
Step 8: Cut the last line and remove the cut book cover from the canvas.
Step 9: Lay the book cover painting side down. Make three lines for the spine, they will be your glueing marks. Line 1 is in the exact center of the canvas. Lines 2 and 3 mark the edges of the spine where you will glue the book boards.
Step 10: Take your brush and lightly brush glue onto the book board. Turn it over and place it along the glue marks. Make sure the book board is straight and lined up to the marks. Repeat this with the second book board on the other side.
Step 11: Cut the corners off all four sides, see photo for reference.

Step 12: Next lightly brush glue onto the top flap and tightly fold it over. Use the bone folder to ensure the canvas is glued tight, especially go over the spine where the canvas is glued to itself. Repeat this on the other three sides.
Step 13: Once the book cover is glued down its time to glue the pages in. Line the text block up exactly where it should be glued, then using the brush lightly brush glue onto the top page of the text block. Be careful not to apply too much glue or problems with pages sticking together can arise.
Step 14: Open the book to make sure the pages are straight and make slight adjustments while the glue is still wet if needed. Repeat steps 13 and 14 on the other side.
Step 15: Once your book is glued together make sure there is no extra glue on the pages. If there is glue, carefully separate the pages before it dries. Place your book under a pile of very heavy books and let it dry for 24 hours. Voila!! It’s done!

Thanks to Alexis Birkmeyer for assisting and Paul Ferney for the photos.


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