Monday, August 4, 2014

DIY Spell Book

Still working on the pages, but I have enough done and photographed to put up a tutorial! Yay! Mmmkay, first off make sure you have time to make this. Paint takes a while to dry, I'd give yourself at least two weeks before you need it to make it (especially if you procrastinate or have all of two seconds a day to devote to this). I tried to keep this simple using what I had on hand, and most of it is easily grabbed at the local dollar store if you don't have it. It isn't one of those tutorials that has all these fabulous items that would make Martha Stewart drool, I assure you. Very slap dash.


  • A hardcover book, I picked up a library discard for free. Mine measured 5.5"x8.5" and was about an inch thick. 
  • Brown paper lunch bags. These worked pretty well for my book, but if yours is a lot bigger, you can use paper grocery sacks or even lawn bags. I only used 6, but it all depends on your choice.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Elmer's glue
  • Paint, for your cover. More if you want to paint pictures on your pages.
  • Paint brushes, I used a foam brush but if you want to add details, grab some smaller ones.
  • Old newspaper or paper ads for a drop cloth
  • Scissors, ones for paper cutting. Do not steal someones fabric shears for this, it won't end well.
  • X-acto knife, just used to gut the book, nothing fancy needed. A utility knife would work too
Optional Items
  • Decorations for your spell book. I used a flat glass stone and some plastic "gems" from a leftover project, but use whatever you like. 
  • Old nail polish. Works really well for adding splashes of colour to pages and to the cover. If you are raiding someones stash, ASK FIRST. Seriously, they probably have some they never use and will be willing to share with your crafty self.
Ready? Let the copious photos begin!
Start by slicing out the inside of your book. Try to leave the inside covers as intact as possible, but they can be covered later if you muck up (like I did)

Next (and feel free to skip this step if you want), take your Elmer's glue and glue designs on the cover. Swirls, spirals, faces, diamonds, doesn't matter. This just creates ridges for later painting. I let mine dry fully and went over them again, two coats stood up better. Entirely a personal choice here, especially if your pinched for time. If you want to add decorations to your cover, leave spaces for whatever your embellishment is. You can see in photo two there is a gap left for my stone.

The lighter swirls under are from where I tried hot glue. Made a mess and peeled it all off. 

Now we get to paint! I used an acrylic paint for mine, just what I had on hand. I used an inch wide foam brush to coat mine, worked nicely without globbing too badly in the creases. Let dry thoroughly between coats and be careful of that crease by the spine. Paint tends to settle there.

Make sure you get that inside lip too, see where the red is on the bottom side? That stuff

While all that mess is drying, you can make the pages. What I did was cut the bottom off all of my bags without slicing the rest of the bag. I snipped a thin slice from the fold and cut from there.

Excuse the mess, I was in between all kinds of projects

Save those ends, I ended up using mine to cover my mistakes. If you choose not to, you can always recycle them later or use them for something else. Now we slice the bags up each side in that crease. 

Flatten them out and fold them in half. Each of these makes two of your book pages. Stuff them in your book to make sure it's your ideal thickness. Not enough pages? Slice and dice some more!

again, hanger for other costume purposes, ignore that

Now to give my pages some texture, I crumpled each one into a ball lightly. Not tight, just enough to wrinkle and muss up the pages. Then I flattened them out again in the folded shape like before.

Once your cover is dry, you can flip it and start painting the insides. I chose to leave mine partially unpainted so I could attach the bottoms, but if you did a neat job with cutting yours, you can paint it all.

I used my bag butts to cover up my mess, I used hot glue here because I wanted those suckers to stay on. They can also be doodled on later, which was a bonus.

Now it's time to glue in your pages. You can do it the smart way, and glue one at a time, or do it my way and do it all at once making a huge mess. If you did do it my way, and you find pages sneaking out because they were only half glued, sneak in there and pile more glue on. Then smoosh the pages, be careful because it WILL be hot! Keep gluing and smooshing until you are all secured. I plan on cleaning mine up later, but I figured a spell book like mine would be beat to hell anyways.

Now, you can do a few different things. You can leave it as is, you can decorate the cover and leave it, or you can do what I did and decorate the cover and the pages. I don't have my pages done at this point, that will have to wait for a future blog post, but I can show you the cover of my book.

I decorated BEFORE gluing pages which really wasnt smart. My glue wasn't dry when I went to flip it and the little gems traveled. For the glass stone, I used hot glue to secure it. Learn from my mistakes, folks!

I hope you're happy with your book! If you make it, please leave a link in the comments or get ahold of me on deviantart. You can find me there under PriestessRaven. 

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