Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh with DIY Paper Book Covers

Refresh your bookshelf in an afternoon with easy and inexpensive DIY paper book covers. This way you can have your favorite books, even worn an tattered, while still having a beautifully styled bookshelf! Details from Lemon Thistle on Remodelaholic.com

Hello Remodelaholic readers! I’m Colleen from Lemon Thistle, home to DIY, home decor, hand lettering and printables, and today I’m excited to share with  you this easy afternoon project – a bookshelf refresh! I’m not sure about you, but when I see all these beautiful bookshelves on Pinterest full of decorative objects and expensive coffee table design books, I get all the heart eyes… and then I start to roll my eyes. I actually have books. And they’re not that pretty (although for my birthday the only thing on my list was those fancy design books, so slooowly). We recently built a wall to wall built in shelving unit in our basement for storage, and left the top half open shelving for those books. I was so excited for it, but as I got all my books up there, it was looking less than pretty. 

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

I decided that instead of trying to hide away all these books (some we use fairly regularly), or make do with how messy they looked (some were pretty beat up), I’d give them a refresh in the form of kraft paper dust jackets. Since we do use them, I wanted to know what each book was so having a title was a must. I’ve seen some lovely dust jackets using ribbons and such but I know my husband would tear them off looking for that one elusive book he needed. I love how quickly this pulled together the shelves for a less cluttered look! And it only cost me $5 and an afternoon. 

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

How to Update Your Bookshelf with Kraft Paper Book Covers
by Colleen from Lemon Thistle

diy-book-covers-before-and-after-remodelaholic

To give your own bookshelf this update, you’ll need:

  • Kraft paper parcel wrap
  • Cutting mat and craft knife
  • Square
  • Scoring tool 
  • Black marker

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Start by laying out your cutting mat with the parcel wrap. Just like you’re wrapping a gift, pop the book on there and measure the size. For the book dust covers, you’d like them to be fairly evenly sized with the book covers (not much excess) which will make them easier to stand up if you wish. If I had a proper square (#wishlist), I totally would have used that. I tried a makeshift square paper cutter which worked pretty well, but by the time I hit book 5, I was just using the edge of the book to guide my knife (risky, I know, and I’m okay with it). Cut a piece of paper long enough to fold inside each cover, and around the spine. 

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

When your paper is cut, centre the book so the tabs that will fold inside the covers are about equal. Use your scoring tool to score against the spine and the edge of the book (where it will fold). This goes really quick and it helps give neater folds. I used my scoring tool from my Cricut, but if you have something similar, that would work. 

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Flip the book over and do the same on the other side, then pop the jacket off to write the title between the spine score lines. I chose to use all caps and wasn’t all that careful with my writing. I really like the way  it looks! I have boxes of books, you guys so this only shows some of them, but if you’re doing as many as I did, you may want to skip popping the cover off to write, and just write directly on the spine (I ended up doing that). 

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Simple Afternoon Bookshelf Refresh- I want to try this!

Then, stack ’em however you like! Pretty simple, huh?! I’m really happy with how it pulls together this shelving space. I can’t wait to fill the rest of the shelves with books and pretty things now that I’m not discouraged about my tatty book collection now! Would you try this? How do you style your bookshelves that house real books?

Product Sources:

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 in Raspberry (before) and Blue (after)
  • Tarnished Silver- Vintage sugar and creamer
  • Dried lavender and vase- Michaels
  • Gold tealight holders- Target
  • Faux Succulents- Make it Fun Crafts
  • Make a Splash Sign- DIY here

Other Posts You Might Like:

Styling a Bookcase (when you have kids!) / DIY Built In Shelving  / Books on Hooks Storage Solution

Tips for styling a bookcase (when you have kids!)     DIY Built In Cabinets- such a storage beast!    Books on Hooks- such a clever storage solution for a useless corner!

Refresh your bookshelf in an afternoon with easy and inexpensive DIY paper book covers. This way you can have your favorite books, even worn an tattered, while still having a beautifully styled bookshelf! Details from Lemon Thistle on Remodelaholic.com


Need a bookshelf to beautify?

We can help! Try one of these DIY bookcases:

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bookcase + storage hutch combo

DIY Bookcase Hutch - Home Made by Carmona for Remodelaholic

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3 Comments

  1. Colleen, I was just thinking of doing something like this in my family room. I love the hand written titles! I love how it totally ties the book shelves together having them all covered. Love it!

  2. This is a great idea! I did it on my office bookshelf and It looks so much better and neat now. Thank you for sharing the idea, your blog is just amazing as always <3

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