How to Make a Spooky Halloween Book

Updated on March 4, 2020
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Loraine enjoys making crafts and sharing the projects she’s developed. Her crafts include pictured, step-by-step tutorials and templates.

I enjoy making Halloween crafts, and these spooky books were especially fun to make. To make it easy for you to follow the directions, I've included pictures to show you the steps.

This spooky book craft will be an inexpensive Halloween decoration if you have paperback books that you are willing to use for crafts. You can get inexpensive used books at garage sales, at Goodwill, or by asking your friends. Everyone I know has books that they no longer want.

I purchased the skeletons and spiders at the Dollar Store. The imitation leather look for the covers is achieved by using brown paper grocery bags.

Supplies Needed:

  • Old paperback books
  • Old hard cover book
  • Brown grocery bags
  • Cardboard (I used cereal boxes)
  • Elmer's white glue
  • Duct tape (if hard cover book has indented letters on spine)
  • Scissors, paint brush
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Gold paint

How-to in Nine Steps:

  1. Make imitation leather using brown paper bags
  2. Painting the imitation leather
  3. Prepare the book pages
  4. Reinforce paperback book covers with cardboard
  5. Cover paperback books
  6. Painting page edges
  7. Paint hard cover books
  8. Give your books spooky titles
  9. Glue books to each other and add spooky accessories

1. Prepare Brown Paper Bags

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to prepare the brown grocery bag paper. Tear off the handles, cut down the seam and remove the bottom of the bag. (I used three grocery bags to cover three paperback books.) Then scrunch the paper together and dip the paper in a sink of warm water.

When the paper is wet, squeeze the paper to remove as much water as possible. Don’t try to wring the water out because it will tear. Spread the paper out on a flat surface and let it dry. If you want to hurry the drying process, you can press the paper with an iron. This will also flatten the wrinkles a bit and make it easier when trying to write titles on the spines of the books.

2. Painting the Imitation Leather

When the paper is dry, paint it with black, gold, red or purple acrylic paint. I tried spray painting the paper, but even though I used a flat paint, the finish was too shiny to get good photos of the finished books, so I repainted them with acrylic paint. I painted one sheet of the paper with gold paint for one of the books.

3. Prepare the Books (Glue the Pages Together)

Pour some white glue onto a lid or saucer and slightly dilute it with water. This will make it easier to apply the glue, with a brush, to the edges of the book pages. Hold the book pages together while you apply the glue to the top, front and bottom of the book pages. Keep the book cover away from the pages while the glue dries.

4. Reinforce Paperback Book Covers with Cardboard

Paperback books need their covers reinforced with cardboard before covering them with our imitation leather. Cereal box cardboard works great for this purpose.

Flatten the cereal box by loosening the bottom and seam of the box. When measuring the cardboard, the bottom of the paperback book and the cardboard will be even, but add 1/4” to the top and to the sides of the book. The spine of the paperback is the measurement of the cardboard spine.

I used one side fold of the cereal box to form the spine of the book cover. The other side of the cover is then taped to the other side of the spine.

5. Cover the Paperback Book

Fit tightly, turn the book over and glue the other cardboard cover to the paperback book. The glued together pages of the paperback will stay separate from the cover of the book.

Fit the paperback book inside the cardboard cover with the bottom of the two covers even. Then glue the spine and one side of the cardboard cover to the paperback cover.

Lay the book on a piece of the prepared paper. Cut the paper about 6” wider and 6” longer than the book. Center the book over the leather paper and draw a line across the top and bottom of the spine. Cut a slit from the edge of the paper to about 1/8” of the drawn lines. Fold the strip made toward the inside.

Fold the paper over the book cover at the the sides. Then, fold the top and bottom paper and pleat it so it fits under the book cover. Apply glue to the spine and the cover of one side and glue the cover to the glued together pages. Repeat on the opposite side. Place under a heavy object until the glue is dry.

6. Painting Book Edges

Dry brush the edges of the books with gold paint.

7. Paint Hard Covered Books

Choose a deep color to paint a hard covered book. If the title of the book is written on the spine of the book and the letters are indented, cover the spine with a strip of duct tape before painting.

8. Give Your Books Spooky Titles

With gold paint or colored Painters, write the titles on the books.

Some examples are:

  • "Spooks" by Kryan Shaym,
  • "Witch's Brews" by Poizn Teez,
  • "Spells & Hexes" by Hekstan Spelz ,
  • and "Bumps in the Night" by Purevil Noizuz.

9. Glue Books Together and Accessorize

With a hot glue gun, apply glue between two of the books and glue them together. Be sure the flat even bottom sides of the books are on the down side. Glue a spider on top of one of the books. Glue skeletons on the sides of the outer books. (Use other accessories instead of skeletons like witches, frogs, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, etc.)

© 2012 Loraine Brummer

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm planning to make a mini-book and this lens is very informative, thank you!


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