'08 Halloween #12: Making Creepy Books


I love old dusty books that look like they came from another time containing forgotten knowledge or secrets. I thought I'd make a few to accent some of the interior decorating this year.

Here's how I make a fun, stylized one. As usual, it's my "instant creative gratification" fast and cheap method. The same process can be expanded on using a variety of different materials. A general note, you could remove the cover for this project and glue back on once done, but I just chose to mask off the interior pages. Click on images to enlarge.

1) I like recycling materials so I used a old water damaged book I had. I traced it's size onto cardboard which was the back of a drawing paper pad. I then sketched out the design.



2) Using a craft knife, I cut out the pieces and simply glued them on the book. I didn't stress over poor cutting, gaps or excess glue as it would all disappear in the next step. Besides, imperfections add to the aged look.



3) For a "old world" bound feel, I cut 4 short strips and wrapped the edge. To create the leather feel, I decoupaged on paper towel sheets (I was lucky here that one sheet perfectly fit). I used a thinned mixture of Mod Podge but white glue and water works great too. I started in the center and over saturating the paper towel worked outwards, mushing into all the nooks and crannies. I wrapped the edges like a present.


4) While it was still wet, I went ahead and painted my base coat and shading so it would bleed and have a washed out look.



5) Once dry, I added highlights with dry brush and colored pencil. I made a title label on the computer and glued it on. The label and page edges were aged using watercolor.



While at it, I thought my sketchbook could use a makeover...

51 comments:

  1. megan Jeffery9/09/2008 9:15 AM

    Great technique and wow! cool results --thanks for showing the steps.
    Your sketchbook: I'm positively PLOTZING over here!

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  2. Saw this over at Pumpkin Rot - and may I just say, three cheers for you. I've been really into book-binding and cover design lately and this is simply wonderful.

    Thank you!

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  3. Absolutely fantastic. I am definitely going to try something like this for Halloween this year.

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  4. Hello again, Dave !!
    WOW...And I thought the tree 'make-up' was good. These are excellent. What did you use to make the 'rivets' on your sketch book? Some sort of paper fasteners through the cardboard strips?? Maybe you could share with us a more detailed breakdown of how you made the cover. I'm sure there's a few people who'd like to know more about it, other than me - judging by the comments so far, at least.
    Anyway, thanks a lot. Your blog is VERY inspiring.
    Keep it up!!

    JJ

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  5. Thanks all for the nice comments on this one.

    JJ,
    This is going to sound crazy but I used small glued on "googly eyes" I had left over from a project for the rivets. Once painted and decoupaged they work OK.

    I'm a big fan of rivets on stuff. In the past I've used wood plugs (osh, home depot, lowes) and fancy metal upholstery thumbtacks work great too.

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  6. This tutorial is so hellaciously cool. And you know what? It works!

    I didn't manage to get as much wrinkle in my "faux leather" as you did, alas, but it still looks pretty cool. I'm especially proud of the big brimstone symbol. It just works so beautifully.

    More pics. Having a black cat is a big plus when taking Halloweeny pictures, I have to say.

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  7. This is FABULOUS! I'm so excited to have found this blog! I'll be linking to this project.

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  8. Found this via stumbleupon and I hardly ever comment blogs.. but this is awesome.. I will definitely use this. Thanks!

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  9. man you are super talented and looking at your creations is a privelige!

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  10. I love these books! I am a Chemistry teacher that puts on a Halloween show and was looking for something for my book of alchemical recipes / spells / what-have-you and I think this is it. Where do you get the designs for the bat and all? Hand-done or are there templates somewhere? I love the straight lines and geometry of the bat!

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  11. wow. this is amazing! Your blog and ideas will make our Halloween very memorable this year. Thank you so much!

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  12. What a Great idea! My Son Mike and his wife Maria's wedding anniversary is Halloween.They have always love the holiday,so every year I come up with something different to give them .That ALWAYS have a party so this will add to the decor.Thanks for the wonderful idea!!!And it won't take me all year to do it!Great going!

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  13. I just found your blog. I think you're my Halloween soulmate! This year will be my 4th annual Halloween Party. Our theme is Vampyres through the Ages. Thanks for giving me some fresh, inexpensive ideas.

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  14. Why Hello there,
    MY my my..... I was just given this site by a friend and am I ever glad he gave it to me!!!!! I love it!!
    I am going to try the Mummified Fairy and now looking at these books...I will certainly be doing this. I want to thank you very much for all the hard work you put into keeping this site going and can not wait to see more.

    I love everything and anything to do with HALLOWEEN!! thanks again. keep up the great work.
    XoxO Cyn

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  15. Very cool! I will need to try this! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. This made me feel weirded out...but I've been currently been writing something for at least 3 months, and there is a book about Vampires in it. But i dont spell it like that. I spell it "Vampyres" just like yours. and that is exactly how i pictured it.

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  17. This looks amazing! It's a must do project and a very cheap gift to make for any horror/halloween lover.

    I'm curious though, how did you get the wrinkles in the paper towels? Is there a folding or placement method? I know I get them when I don't want them, but I never get wrinkles when I do. XD

    Thanks so much for this tutorial!

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  18. WOW...this is just amazing :)
    Good job!

    But just one question: what kind of paint did you use?

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  19. Thanks Michael

    I used acrylic. Not any fancy brand, just $1.50 a bottle craft paint.

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  20. I love your tutorial. I have used a similar technique in painting on canvas, to create texture and depth. But this has inspired me to try something new with it! Absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing it.

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  21. I can't wait to add some of these books to my displays!! Time to hit the garage sales!!

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  22. This is amazing!!! thnx 4 sharing!!!

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  23. I made my own book using your technique. turned out great! thank you!

    check it out here!
    http://craftymommyandme.blogspot.com/2010/09/bubble-bubble-toil-and-no-trouble-at.html

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  24. wow i really found this to be interesting. thanks for sharing



    Cheers,

    Baby Lion Costumes

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  25. this is amazing, defo going to try this out

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  26. this is awesome !!! I loved it. it is exactly what i was looking for and I still don't even know how I got to your blog but I am surely happy I did.

    Thanks so very much for this tutorial. You are very creative.

    xoxo

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  27. OMG!!!! This is crazy awesome! Creepy too... :)

    Thanks for sharing :)

    www.TheKenHudnallShow.com

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  28. You are too cool! Thanks for the school!

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  29. Dave! You inspire me so much! I love looking at your prop tutorials and eventually get around to trying them myself. I made this one today and I LOVE how it turned out. Thanks for always posting great ideas and how to make them. I want to be as cool as you someday!

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  30. I first stumbled across your site via a Google search for apothecary jar labels and am so happy that I found your blog. It's amazing! You're super talented & I can't wait to follow your tutorials for some of my own Halloween projects this year!

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  31. Love this idea. It would be great for other holidays as well.

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  32. Hi,

    I wrote an article about recycled book Halloween projects. I linked to this post on my blog. Love your idea!

    -Nora

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  33. Hey Dave,

    I gotta say I love this technique! Thanks for sharing this great idea!

    I will be trying this out soon and will post the results on my blog, and I will of course link to you site and give credit where it is due!

    Awesome job!

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  34. I found a link to this tutorial on HalloweenForum. I cannot wait to revamp my books using your methods. Thank you for so generously sharing them. You do amazing work.

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  35. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your talents. I came across this by accident and am looking forward to adding a book to our Halloween collection. Its so nice to have the instructions rather than try to guess. The kids LOVE it! Again, thank you.

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  36. brokenshadows6/17/2012 8:24 AM

    These look awesome, but how well do they hold up to use? You did the cover of your sketch book, but does the seam at the binding crack when you open it up?

    i'm supposed to be making Lore books for a LARP, and while this would look amazing, i'm curious to know if they are usable afterwards...

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    1. So far they hold up great,and this is almost 4 years ago. Yes, there is a little cracking along the seam from use, but nothing that doesn't look too terrible (actually adds more character and age to the book.

      Since the treatment is over an existing bookbinding you can predict where the fold will be and work with it.

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  37. Hi Dave! I want to thank you for doing this tutorial! I found you on Pinterest and am currently on my 3rd composition notebook make over! My kids and I love this look! Super simple but sooo awesome looking! Here is my blog if you want to check out the one I posted so far (am new to the blogging thing) :) createmes.com I am currently working on a necronomicon replica (well, its a look -a- like from a distance..lol)from the Evil Dead movie! Thanks again!Amy

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  38. This technique is simply amazing ~ wow! I am a HUGE fan of all things Halloween, so I am very excited to try this! Thank you so much for sharing. I know my kids will love it just as much. =)

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  39. This is one of the coolest crafts ever. I will have to try this.

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  40. This is amazing! I can't wait to try this. I would have never thought to use paper towels as a texture form!! Thank you for sharing this! <3

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  41. I do love this - thank you for posting the tutorial. I ended up making a Harry Potter text book with this technique for a craft swap.

    Here are photos of what I came up with:

    http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd122/kimmerv2/Blog%20pics/2e0a24ee.jpg

    http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd122/kimmerv2/Blog%20pics/eed22927.jpg

    http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd122/kimmerv2/Blog%20pics/d754b1ef.jpg

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  42. Dave I have a couple questions if you don't mind... I would like to cover some old hard cover books to make them look old. LIke Kimberly S. I would like to cover some books to resemble old Harry Potter books. I love your technique! What sort of paint did you use? And after you put on the label for the book title, did you put a second layer of decoupage on it? Thanks for your time and sharing your creativity!

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  43. When I put the paper towel on the book, should I keep it tight around the book or should it be a little loose?

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  44. This was really great! I ended up making "Tom Riddle's Diary," and posted a tutorial too.

    http://worldturndupsidedown.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-to-make-faux-leather-book-covers.html

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  45. Did you use a sealent or a fixative when you were done?

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  46. I want to do this to my dungeons and dragons books. so epic.

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