I’ve been in the process of updating the open shelves in my office. I have several reference books to store on the shelves, but I wanted a neutral, cohesive look. After doing some research and a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a quick way to cover your books in a neat and tidy manner that will last.
How To Make Removable (No-Sew) Fabric Book Covers With Labels
Are you looking to give your open shelving a cohesive look? These removable fabric book covers are a great option if you want to cover your books without damaging them. Fabric book covers are best for text books, school books or reference books. Hardcover books are easier to work with, but I did use them for several paperback books as well.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR BOOK COVERS FLAT AND SMOOTH
The traditional method of making these book covers would be to fold over the edge of the fabric to make a hem. I tried this on the first book cover I made and wasn’t happy with the results. It left a lot of bulk fabric and the book covers didn’t lay flat.
The top book, in the image above, has a folded over hem. The bottom book has a flat edge, no hem. You can see how much smoother the bottom book is. I’ll show you how to keep the raw edge from fraying further down.
COMPLETE SUPPLY LIST
- BULAP OR DROP CLOTH
- HEAT N’ BOND
- FABRIC SCISSORS
- ROTARY CUTTER WITH MAT
- FABRIC TAPE RULER
- FABRIC CLIPS OR PINS
- HEAT PRESS OR IRON
- HEAT RESISTANT MAT
- MARKING PEN OR PENCIL
- METAL RULER (OPTIONAL)
- SILHOUETTE OR CRICUT CUTTING MACHINE (IF ADDING LABELS)
- HEAT TRANSFER VINYL (FOR LABELS)
MEASURE YOUR BOOK
Start out by measuring the width of your book. You want to measure from the edge of the front cover, around the spine, to the front edge of the back cover. Then add 8 inches to your measurement.
Next, measure from the top edge to the bottom edge of your book. Add 2 inches to your measurement. I found it helpful to write the measurements down. Especially if you’re doing multiple books.
CUT YOUR FABRIC
Cut a piece of fabric a little larger than your book measurements (including the extra 8 inches for width and 2 inches for height). I did a rough cut and then folded the long side of the fabric in half. Line up the fold on one of the lines on your cutting mat. Then you can square up the edges, using your fold line as a guide.
For instance, the fold line in the image above is at the top. I lined up the fold line on the mat line. Then I used the clear plastic ruler to cut a strait edge down the right side of the fabric. Then the bottom edge of fabric.
For the final cut, I trimmed off the fabric to match the height measurement (plus 2 inches) of the book.
CUT YOUR HEAT N’ BOND
You can purchase Heat N’ Bond in a 3/4″ roll, so you don’t need to cut it. I already had a large roll of the regular (bulk) material. So, I just decided to use my rotary cutter and mat to cut the Heat N’ Bond into 3/4 inch strips.
PREVENT YOUR FABRIC FROM FRAYING
I didn’t want to leave a raw edge, because I knew it would fray over time. So, I came up with a solution. I put the 3/4″ strip of heat and bond on the edges and pressed them for 3 seconds. This prevented the fabric from fraying along the edge and also allowed the covers to lay flat.
Lay a piece of parchment paper under the fabric. If you are working with a pattern, be sure to put the Heat N’ Bond on the backside of the fabric. Line your 3/4 inch strip up along the edge and press it for 3 seconds. You could peel off the backing after it cools, but I just left it in place. You won’t see it when the book cover is done.
To create a really strait edge, trim it slightly after applying the Heat N’ Bond.
Look how nice the edge turns out.
ALIGN YOUR BOOK AND MARK YOUR FABRIC
Lay your fabric right side up. Then place your book in the middle and center it. I used book ends to support the book, so my hands were free.
Fold the end of your fabric up and secure it with a clip. Then, using a marking pen or pencil, mark the edge of the fabric and the edge of the book.
Repeat this step for all four corners and then remove the book.
Using your iron or heat press, crease the fabric at the folds.
SECURE THE POCKETS FOR YOUR BOOK COVER
Remove the clips and open the two flaps. Measure from the fold to your pencil line. Cut one of your strips of heat and bond and lay it in place. Repeat this step for all four corners. The strips should be 3/4 inches in width. If you line it up along the edge of your fabric, it will allow just enough wiggle room for your book cover.
Press each of the strips for 3 seconds and let cool. Then remove the paper backing.
Fold your flaps back in and press each of the four corners for 25 seconds. The time and temperature will vary based on the type of fabric you are using. Refer the instructions on the Heat N’ Bond for your fabric.
Important: Let the Heat N’ Bond cool before moving on to the next step. When the glue is warm, it is not as durable.
FLIP FABRIC RIGHT SIDE OUT AND PRESS WITH HEAT
Working on one side at a time, flip the pocket right side out.
Then press the fabric flat. Once cool, slide your book into the cover. Now you can move on to labeling the books.
Heat Transfer Vinyl needs to be cut on an electronic cutting machine (e.g. Silhouette or Cricut). I created a Silhouette and SVG template for my subscribers over at my blog. The template goes from 1/2" deep book spine to a 1 1/2" size. The length of each row/book is approximately 9 inches.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LABELS
I used Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) to make the labels for my books. It adheres well to most fabrics. HTV varies by different manufacturers. You will want to refer to the instruction sheet that comes with your vinyl for the cut and temperature settings.
Open the file in your Silhouette software. You will be working in the Design tab of your software. Click on each of the titles and enter your own title in the box. When you're done, save the file again.
The cut side of your HTV is covered with a white plastic film. This side should be facing up when you place your material on the cutting mat. The bottom of the HTV has a clear carrier sheet. Peel off the white film (top of vinyl), before sending it to cut. Load the mat into the machine.
Go to the Send tab in the upper right corner. Your cut settings for the Silhouette Cameo are Blade: 3, Speed: 8, Force: 4, Passes: 2, Material Heat Transfer Vinyl, Smooth. Always do a test cut to make sure your vinyl is loaded right side up. When you select send, it will ask if you want to mirror your image. Select yes.
When your cut job is done, weed out the perimeter of your vinyl, so it looks like the image above. Then you can go back and weed one box at a time until your words are the only thing left. Don’t forget to remove the extra vinyl on the inside of your letters.
APPLY HEAT TRANSFER VINYL
I used book ends to hold the books, to keep my hands free. Make sure your book is facing in the direction you want, so your vinyl placement is facing the right direction.
Position your words so the sticky side of the clear transfer sheet is facing the fabric. I measured an inch from the top of the book. That way, all of my titles were in the same position.
Next, place the Teflon cover sheet or a piece of parchment paper over the book spine. Then press it with your preheated heat press or iron. The instructions for the vinyl say to preheat your heat press to 305 degrees. Press with light to medium pressure for 10-15 seconds.
Let the fabric cool. Then peel the carrier sheet cold.
Fabric comes in so many colors and patterns. Hopefully these book covers gave you some inspiration to get started on your own.
If you'd like to snag your free SVG book titles template, visit my blog. You will need to subscribe at the top sidebar or at the bottom of any post. Then you will be emailed a welcome letter and the password to my free library of resources.
I'm in the process of refreshing the decor in my home office. Check out the before pictures and see how we added a .
Hey, thanks for taking the time to read my post. Wonderful readers like you are what keeps me creating. Have a blessed day!
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