Have you ever saved an interesting box because it was too pretty to throw out? Here's a great way to turn these boxes into beautiful "books" to hold your favorite things. Using traditional bookmaking techniques, and incorporating your own unique ideas and inspiration, the finished books will look beautiful sitting on a bookcase, shelf or coffee table. Perfect for holding small photos, keepsakes or collections, they also make great gifts!

Preparation

  1. Collect a few jewelry or gift boxes. They can be as small as 2" × 3", or as large as 5" × 7".
  2. Decide on an exterior design for your first book box, taking into consideration the types of objects you'll be storing in it.
  3. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with bookbinding techniques. Take a book off the shelf and examine how it's put together. The internet is a great source for this.

Process

  1. The cover will be created with two Blick Economy Canvas Panels. Trim the panels as needed with a utility knife so they are 1/2" bigger than the box dimensions. When attached, the panels should extend 1/4" beyond the box edges on the front, top and bottom. The edge opposite the back binding will extend a little more to the front. The back three sides will also be a little larger but the difference will not be obvious. The cut panel edges will be covered with decorative paper.
  2. To wrap the front and back covers, trim two pieces of decorative paper 1-1/2" larger than the two cover panels. Brush glue onto one side of each panel, all the way to the edges.
  3. Line up the paper edge with the back panel edge. The excess paper should extend over the other three sides. Rub the paper in a circular motion with the palm of your hand to adhere it to the panel. Set it aside to dry.
  4. Paint the inside of the box and the box edges with acrylic paint. Gold or dark red are great for imitating fine and rare collector editions. When the paint is dry, use a black marker to draw slightly wavy lines around three sides (top, bottom and front) to simulate page edges.
  5. Return to the front and back covers of the book. Place the paper side down on the table. Apply glue to the edges of the board and the uncovered side. Wrap the paper around the edge and secure the excess paper to the uncovered board. Fold over the two corners. Add a little bit of glue to secure the fold.
  6. Brush glue onto the box top. Place the back unpainted edge on the inside unfinished piece of the panel. Leave 1/4" around the open three book edges. Push the box to the unfinished edge at the "spine." This should make the box look finished except for the spine. Glue the other two parts - box and book panel - together. Allow to dry.
  7. Place the book box together. Measure the space at the back spine of the book and select a felt color for the binding. The length of felt from the top to the bottom of the book should be cut exactly. The part to bind from the front and back can vary and should cover at least 1/2" of the front and the back covers - add 1" to the difference between the two colors.
  8. Place glue on the 1/2" of the cover at the spine. Gently apply the felt. Turn the book box over, add glue to the book edges and wrap the felt over the back of each book. The felt is stretchy and can be adjust a little if needed.
  9. Finish the book box by adding designs to the binding or the cover of the book box.

Options

  1. Look for unusual boxes such as a small round cheese box.
  2. Use different cover materials such as two CDs or any two flat items.
  3. Add a latch to the book or a ribbon bookmark. Embellish as desired.
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