How to Make a Paper Bag Book Cover

A quick craft project for making a paper bag book cover, perfect for protecting your book while it lives in your purse/backpack/whatever!

paper bag book cover

Whether you want an inexpensive way to protect your books from everyday wear, an eco-friendly use for those paper grocery bags you’ve accumulated, or just a quick weekend project, this is the project for you!

Using paper bags to cover your books is a quick and easy way to add a rustic touch or a simple disguise. It’s also a great way to give school textbooks a temporary, but personal touch, so you never grab someone else’s.

I’ve put together a short, step-by-step guide for making a paper bag book cover below, as well as some extra ideas at the end for those of you with extra creative juices.

How to Make a Paper Bag Book Cover: The Overview

Here are the steps for making a paper bag book cover, with more information on each step below:

  • Get your paper bag ready.
  • The paper should be cut to size.
  • The top and bottom edges should be folded.
  • Wrap the jacket around the book evenly.
  • Insert the book securely into the paper bag book cover.
  • Let your creativity run wild with decorating ideas!

1. Get Your Paper Bag Ready

You can use a paper grocery bag (usually enough paper for two standard hardcovers, maybe a textbook) or a brown paper lunch bag, depending on the size of the book you want to cover (good for one smaller hardcover).

To get the most out of a single bag, instead of cutting out flat pieces, look for a glued seam on the back face of the bag that you can gently pull apart.

On the bottom of the bag, there will be some glued seams and folds that can be removed. You will have one large, flat piece of brown paper at the end.

2. Paper Should be Cut to Size

Using the book you want to cover as a size guideline, cut out a rectangular piece of paper that is slightly larger than the book itself.

When the book is opened flat, there should be about two inches of excess at the top and bottom and about three inches on each side.

3. The top and Bottom Edges Should be Folded

Center the book to be covered on the paper and create creases along the top and bottom edges of the book.

Fold the paper down along these creases across the entire length of the paper so that it now matches the book in height, and place the book on top.

Make sure you position the paper so that any grocery store logo faces inward and will be hidden once the jacket is complete.

4. Wrap the Jacket around the Book Evenly

Gently wrap the paper around your book, ensuring that the book is centered so that there is an even amount of excess paper on each side.

Fold the excess paper around the front and back covers to create gentle creases. The jacket should appear complete.

5. Insert the Book Securely into the Paper Bag Book Cover

Due to the folded edges from Step 3, small flaps should have been created at the top and bottom of your new paper jacket.

Tuck your book’s back cover into these flaps and slide the jacket onto the cover until you reach the crease made in Step 4. Repeat with the front cover, and your book should be securely covered with a new brown paper jacket!

Note: Be careful using this method to create a cover for a paperback. It is absolutely possible, but the flimsier book might cause the jacket to slip off fairly easily.

Additional Ideas

  • Decorate, of course! Allow your imagination to run wild as you decorate your jacket with drawings, stickers, and other embellishments.
  • You are not restricted to brown paper bags. Have fun with leftover wrapping paper, colored paper, or any other type of paper!
  • Attach a ribbon (with tape or glue) right at the center of the top folded edge of your paper jacket for a custom marker!
  • Use brown paper as a backing for some fabric to create a whole new feel. I used double-sided tape to attach the fabric to the paper so that it could be easily removed and replaced in case the fabric gets dirty or I want to change things up without completely starting over with a new bag.
Insert the Book Securely into the Paper Bag Book Cover

That’s all there is to it! I hope this guide can serve as a good jumping-off point for all you crafty readers out there, whether you want to keep your paper bag book cover simple or come up with all kinds of creative ways to make it your own. If you have any cool ideas to share with other readers, please leave them in the comments!

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