How to Paint and Style a Book

5 Materials
2 Hours

How to paint an old book. Add in IOD transfers and moulds and you have a beautiful book to show off!

If you have old books lying around and wondering what to do with them, keep reading to see what I did.

The web has so many ideas for inspiration.

Here is my take on painted books.

Paint the front and back covers. I didn't bother to paint the inside.

It may take 2-4 coats of paint. The paint you use really doesn’t matter. I used Behr in Burnished Clay but you could use chalk paint or acrylic paint.

Let the paint dry in between each coat.

You can add raffia as I did.

I have seen text added on the spine.

So many ways to decorate.

I used two different pieces of transfers. One floral and one with wording.

If you are interested in IOD products, google it and from there you can find stockists to order from.

The transfers are like big stickers.

There is a backing on them so it doesn’t stick to anything.

When you are ready to use them, peel off the backing and line it up with your project and place it down slowly.

Once you have your transfer in place, take the scraper tool that came with your transfer and place it on the plastic that is on top of the transfer. You will see your transfer begin to stick to your project and release from the plastic.

You can also layer your transfers on the same project as I did here.

Once you have your transfers on, lightly go over them with a soft cloth to make sure that it is stuck to your project.

I took IOD paper-clay and put it into an IOD mould. When you pop the mould out you are left with a nice piece of shaped clay.

I used Titebond to adhere the mould to the spine of the book.

Your mould can crack but that is something I like.

It adds character to your piece.

Tape it down to keep it in place.

Your done! Stand back and enjoy your work!!

I had all of these items on hand so there was no cost for this project but I can break the items down below if you are interested.

Resources for this project:

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Cheryl / Down Sprigg Lane
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Liz Liz on Sep 27, 2020

    Oh, NO! Did you know that those Hardy Boys books are collectible? Sell for a good price on Ebay, and stores that buy used books. You did a lovely job, though.

  • Marina Gonzales Marina Gonzales on Sep 04, 2021

    What is IOD? Is it a type if transfer?


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2 of 17 comments
  • Jannel Jannel on Sep 05, 2021

    I noticed paint on the pages and drips that were not wiped off.

    Two ideas you might want to do...put tape on the pages and use as little paint as possible to prevent drips..even it it means more coats of paint.

    Also a foam roller would help with that. I did paint some books that were in the thrift store and in bad shape.....I was not a fan.

    I personally love the appeal of real book covers and I am very much a fan of old books. No painting for me.

    Preferences. You books do look lovely!!

  • Betsy Betsy on Sep 05, 2021

    Ya know, books with jackets are more collectible and expensive than books without jackets. Instead of painting the jackets, I'd make new jackets, to put over the existing ones, out of heavy white paper and do my project on that. Keeps you from painting and having it drip, ruining a collectible cover and it's easy to change out the covers if you get tired of the look or made a mistake:) Here's a site that tells about them Cheryl has some great ideas, and I'm going to try them, except on jacket covers I make, instead of ruining my covers. Thanks Cheryl, some great ideas here.