Here’s how to make a paper bag book cover! This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
I have vivid memories of my mom making paper bag book covers every year. The first day of school, I would lug all of my hard cover books home in my backpack. She would get to work right after dinner, covering them with brown paper bags that she had been hoarding all summer.
My favorite part was decorating. After she finished each one, I would use stickers and pens and anything else I could find to place my own personal brand on the book cover. It was all part of the back to school fun!
Over the years, we did try a few other book covering options. We tried making a book cover out of construction paper and wrapping paper, but they never lasted more than a few months. Paper bags, though? They would last the entire school year, even longer than my friends who had store bough book covers.
Paper bag book covers are a good way to repurpose those brown bags, and their durability make them good options for covering those important hard cover school textbooks. Making one is simple, and decorating them is fun! Let your (or your kiddo’s) creativity run wild with this practical DIY.
- Brown paper bag (grocery store size)
- Clear tape
- Optional: washi tape, stickers, etc.
Please keep in mind that you will need the textbook on hand to make the cover.
How to Make a Paper Bag Book Cover
If the bag has handles, begin by removing them.
Cut down one of the bag folds on the side. Cut all the way to the bottom of the bag.
Cut out the bottom of the bag.
Now, open the bag so that it lays flat.
Place the textbook in the center of the bag.
Fold the bottom and top of the bag to where it reaches the top and bottom of the book, as seen below. Make a crease as best as you can, working around the book as needed.
Remove the book. Crease firmly along the fold lines that you made.
Place the book back into the center of the bag. Look at the top and the bottom. The folds should be approximately equal to the top and bottom of the book. If not, remove the book and re-fold. If they are close, leave the book and continue to the next step.
Fold the left side of the bag over the front cover of the book. If there is a significant amount of excess past the front cover, cut it down a bit. However, keep in mind that you will need at least a few inches to fold into the front of the book so do not cut the paper down too much.
Fold the bag into the front cover of the book, inserting the corners of the book into the paper bag flaps as shown below.
Repeat with the back cover, tightening the cover as needed by adjusting the front and the back cover sections.
Secure the top and bottom edges with tape, being careful not to apply tape to the book itself (only taping the cover to itself). Not much tape is needed. I only used four pieces– one at the top and bottom corners of the front and the back.
Now, it’s time to decorate!