Leave a Trail

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Follow the paint trail! Learn to create a custom hand-painted book cover in half the time. This project is inspired Henri Matisse’s vibrant colors and many patterns that seem to add extra energy to everyday objects. To create a cover that makes your book special, start with brightly colored felt, us...



  1. Start with a blank journal, sketchbook, or textbook in need of a new cover. Lay the book open on the felt, and trace around it lightly. Be sure to include the width of the spine in the size. Add a 3'' border to all sides. Cut out the felt.
  2. To know where the spine of the book will fall, lay the book on the felt again, align it to the right, and make a registration mark.
  3. Lightly sketch a design on the right side of the felt. Using the Marabu Fashion Liner Fabric Paint, “trail” the paint onto the felt piece. Carefully fold the felt, aligning the registration marks. Press front to back to transfer the paint to the other half of the felt. Open the felt and continue by repeating this step. NOTE: Be sure to fold the fabric before the paint has dried. Work in small sections at a time if the paint dries too quickly.
  4. Add details, patterning, and bright colors. Use the process in Step 3 to add a pattern to a particular area. Fold the felt, aligning the registration marks, and press on the area to be transferred. Paint can be allowed to dry between colors.
  5. When dry, the paint should be heat-set for permanence.
  6. To make the book cover, lay the book on top of the felt book cover with the top and bottom sides already folded in. Fold the right end over the right cover of the book. At the top and bottom edge of the cover, at the outside of the corner, add a few stiches with embroidery floss to secure. Repeat on the left side, pulling snugly, for a custom fit.