Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tutorial: Decoupaged Memory Book Cover

Ever wondered what I do with all my digital scrapbook pages?  I have them printed as books, for myself and my family.  I started out using Shutterfly, but if you don't have a coupon code, they're pretty pricey.  Then I discovered Scrapping Simply, whose prices are more reasonable.  The only draw-back is that their covers are just boring black (or white or blue, depending on which book your order), with no options for sprucing them up.  My answer?  Decoupage.  Here's how I do it.

To do this, you'll need your book, a piece of fine-grit sand paper, 2 sheets of scrapbook paper, some Mod Podge, paint brush, exacto knife and cutting mat, a ruler and some ribbon.  Any kind of scrap paper will work.  Regular weight paper will be easier to fold over the edges, but will be more prone to wrinkles and bubbles, while card stock weight will be a bit more difficult to fold but won't wrinkle or bubble.  Personally, I like them both and choose my paper solely on the pattern.

First off, take your sand paper and use it to rub down the outside of the book.  It roughs up the glossy finish   on the cover, and helps the paper to stick and stay.  You might be able to get away with skipping this step-- but I don't know as I've never skipped it. I always ant to make sure that my pretty paper is going to stay put.

The next step is to cut your paper down to size.  You'll need to measure your book to get the appropriate dimensions.  Add two inches to the height for the vertical, then measure from where you want the paper to start to the outer edge of the width, and add one inch for the horizontal.  I used a rotary cutter to cut my paper, just because it's easier, but the exacto knife will do just fine as well.   Use your paint brush to apply the Mod Podge to the entire sanded surface, starting about 1/2" to 3/4" from the spine edge and going all the way out to the other three edges.  (Don't try to go all the way to the edge of your spine, because the paper won't hold where the book bends!)  Align the edge of your paper parallel to the spine edge, again, about 1/2" to 3/4" away from it.  Make sure the paper is aligned correctly, and centered vertically over the book.  Then carefully press it down, smoothing out any bubbles or wrinkles.  

Next, flip your book over and prop the cover open so that you can get to the bottom inside cover.  I just used my supply caddy for this, and it worked great.  As you can see, you should have about 1" of paper extending beyond the edges of your book on all three sides.  Using your exacto knife, start at the point of one corner and cut on a gentle diagonal away from the point, removing the corner of your paper.  This is kind of hard to describe, so please look at the photo to see what I mean!

Paint a 1" line of Mod Podge along the top edge of your book, then carefully fold the paper around and press it down, again smoothing any wrinkles or bubbles.  Repeat this step at the bottom, then at the side.  If you cut the corners correctly, the edges of your paper should overlap enough to create an unbroken border of the paper about 1" wide all around the outer edges of your book, without hanging off the outer edges of the cover, like this:

Once you have the front cover finished, repeat these steps to decoupage the back cover.  Once you're done, cut 2 pieces of coordinating ribbon or ricrac about 1.5" longer than the height of your book, and use the Mod Podge to glue them along the seams where the paper meets the spine.  I think this gives the books a more finished look, and just that little bit of extra pizazz.  You can also decorate the front cover with a title for your book, or the year, or whatever.  There are a lot of ways you can do this, so have fun with it!

Actually, I'm not as happy with the lettering on the pink one.  I think I am going to re-do it, the way I did the blue one.  I'd love to see what you all do with this!


  1. Great idea! I bet it would be cool with fabric too!

  2. Nice!That's a great way to add pretty to a book!