I keep a lot of things white, because it gives an illusion of “blankness” that is space-giving but not dark void. It’s high maintenance, yes sir. But I've always considered it worth it (my boyfriend hears that a lot about me, from me).
And now once again, white served me well in my latest house bum project. Once again, it proved to be so much more than just RGB 255 255 255 to me. It was able to turn my chaos of a bookshelf to a neat, docile set like a herd of white sheep but not without a character. The overall effect is a character in its own right.
It looks pretty straightforward but we could always use one more how-to page to add to the millions of how-to pages online. No?
Still, anyway... you will need:
Paper or material for book cover*
The following could be really useful, too:
Printer and text software/application
*For the paper, you'd want something that is thin enough to fold neatly but thick enough to be durable and provide protection.
I didn’t want to tape, mark or paste anything directly on the book, or deface it in anyway, so I decided on a jacket-type cover cut to size. This way, I need only fold the flaps. The book is left as it is, only better protected against dust, dirt and the regular soda spill.
This is a layout of a basic book jacket, regardless of book size.
Easy step #1: Determine the size of your book jacket.
A book jacket in its purest form is two-dimensional and only needs two measurements – the length/height of one cover and the width of both covers including the spine. Important: Do not measure the latter with the book in an open, prone position. It won't work. There are other methods of making a book jacket but this is one of the simplest and easiest to do.
Knowing the thickness of your spine would be useful, but for minimal text (like my jackets) and with the proper software, it may not even be required. Remember to add to your width measurement the desired allowance for your flaps, one for each side. In my case, I used a default 6cm for each flap, but this is by no means a book jacket expert decree.
Easy step #2: Design the book title for your spine.
If you look at the book jackets I made, “design” obviously is a strong word. But hey, this time, it’s your book and it’s your book cover and you can do with it as you please. Create a design for your book spine and even the front cover – add illustrations, photos, use stickers, make it as you imagine it! Wear your heart on your book cover and have fun with it.
I have my trusty Photoshop for my design needs, but for most things basic, I use my Labels & Addresses application. I print a lot of my home and organization labels using this app, and at the risk of this sounding like a plug, I love how easy it is to use. For this purpose, you may also employ any application or software specifically for making book jackets. Yes, they exist, fancy that. Today, there is an app for everything.
For something particularly like my jackets, Microsoft Word and similar programs will also do.
Basic Text and Formatting:
With Labels & Addresses, I only had to
- Adjust the document size (width and height), set orientation to Portrait.
- Insert text or book title, “Center Vertically” and “Center Horizontally” (*MS Word commands counterpart: "Align Middle", "Align Center")
- Print. Rinse and repeat.
In contrast to the modern, minimalist intention, I used Copperplate Gothic Lite as font. Serif. To give it a very tiny hint of that old-style, antique feel I love to associate with books.
Easy step #3: Print and make a jacket.
Cut paper to required size. Mark cleanly or invisibly the area or line where the folds of your flaps are supposed to be. Make sure the book title is set at the center of the spine area, fold and presto!
There, wasn’t that easy?
If you want personalized design, knowing the exact dimensions of your spine would be useful. After that, determine the front cover area and the back cover area and go wild.
On the extreme opposite end of the stick, you can totally forego the use of printers and handwrite the book titles. Style it the intimate way like this charming kraft-covered books by calligrapher Mara Zepeda.
My simple mini project also has a couple of neat features. I can’t help it.
Fun extra #1: International Standard Book Number code.
Labels & Addresses allows me to add an ISBN 13 barcode to my book jackets. I only had to type in the book’s official ISBN and it will create the standard barcode for me.
Fun extra #2: Ribbons as bookmarks.
For my smaller books, I used coated glossy paper (roughly 8.25”x11.75”, at least 148 gsm) that I have at hand. As they were remnants of a different project from months ago, some of them even already have prints on one side. But I didn’t want them to go to waste and they fit the project perfectly and prettily from book one that there was no more changing my mind.
Sometimes, however, a single sheet of A4 could only do so much. For the bigger books, I had to paste together two sheets to fit a jacket. It did not look that bad but I didn’t care much for the obvious vertical break that marked where the two sheets meet, so I pulled out my prettiest ribbons and fabric-pasted them over the breaks.