Make Canvas Board Book Covers

By Jenn Mason

Using canvas boards for sturdy book covers is probably the easiest, conceptually different use to imagine. It’s not a far stretch from chip board and possibly sturdier too. The ability to paint directly on a prepared, gessoed surface is even more appealing for the mixed-media artist. I decided to create a pocket journal for keeping all of my unique bits and pieces, so each page is actually an envelope. I could easily substitute finished or unfinished journal pages, fabric or quilted pages, or a collection of all of the above. The following directions will walk you through the basics and you can choose your own “pages” to insert when the time comes.

Materials

  • Canvas boards (I used 5″ x 7″ boards.)
  • Painting and collage supplies
  • Fabric book tape (width varies based on size of insert and desired look)
  • Sturdy art paper (I used a piece of leftover printing paper, but watercolor paper would do as well.)
  • Bone folder
  • Metal-edge ruler
  • Glue stick
  • Binder clips or other clamps for holding the book together
  • Decorative paper (cut to fit the backs of the canvas boards)
  • Chosen pages

Directions

  1. Paint, embellish, and decorate the canvas boards, making sure to wrap the paint around to the back, covering all the exposed canvas.
  2. Use the ruler to tear your art paper. I used a piece that was 6 3/4″ x 22″. Using the ruler will give the paper a soft edge.
  3. Accordion-fold the paper to create the inside spine. The more folds, the more pages your book can hold.
  4. Insert the spine into the book and clamp the book together. Cut a piece of fabric book tape approximately 2″ longer than the book and adhere it to the outer spine side of the book. Use a bone folder to help get the tape to adhere well.
  5. Open the book up and remove the accordion spine. Fold in the top and bottom edge of the fabric tape. Cut a second piece of tape slightly shorter than the height of the book and adhere it over the inside of the spine.
  6. Glue in the accordion spine and cover the front and back canvas board insides with the decorative paper.
  7. Insert your desired pages.

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