I began a new sketchbook recently, starting by creating a custom fabric cover for it. I found a really great set of visual instructions on creating fabric book covers here on this awesome guy’s youtube page (The Post Apoc).
The instructions say it better than I can, but if you’re too lazy to watch the video then I’ll say it’s much like wrapping a gift, where you lay your shirt out, cutting it into a rectangle, leaving a few extra inches on each side to fold in.
For my cover, I went a bit of a different route, using a thicker t-shirt than the one in the video (this definitely adds a challenge). I used an old favorite, a Cramps t-shirt that sadly didn’t fit anymore. I loved The Post Apoc’s suggestion to use a ribbon to create a book-marker. This is especially handy for anyone using their covered book as a sketchbook or writing journal. In addition I decided to add a little flair with a piece of scrap leather I had lying around. I used this to cover the spine. Pieces of leather can be found at a craft store like Michael’s or AC Moore or probably a fabric store like JoAnn’s or maybe your local mom and pop shop.
I also included some studs I had in my stash as well (it pays to never throw anything out) these are the very same as the kind you buy for leather jackets and such. If you don’t have a local source I recommend this store, I have history there, Angry, Young and Poor. The studs were a real mess and a half to get in, but if you’re careful it’s do-able. Use a hammer, a steady hand and some patience. And something to hold your book in place, I used my legs but a vice may have worked too however I didn’t want to risk compromise to the book in any way.
Mine isn’t perfect by any means. It’s a bit crooked in spaces (because I’m impatient and do things in a rush) and the corners were pretty tough to tuck in and glue in place. That’s what happens when you use a thick, cotton shirt – but I wouldn’t let that deter you. I wound up just making a few slits and cutting the extra material out. Honestly, if you use the first page of your book and the last page of your book to create ‘end papers‘ by gluing them to the inside front cover and inside back cover, you won’t see any corner folding imperfections anyway.
The end papers are a great place to get really creative. I decided to draw on mine – ’cause I’m an artist. But you could decoupage on yours, scrapbook, or write messages. On my back end papers I pasted in some funky fortunes I’ve collected from Chinese cookies over the years.
Have fun and enjoy your own project!