I’ve always said books make great gifts for any occasion as there is a book for everyone and the act of choosing and giving a book can be very personal. Valentine’s Day provides a wonderful occasion to give a book or a set of books to your Valentine. I created this do-it-yourself project for our friends at Design Sponge, they published it and it looks fantastic on their site: Valentine Book Collection from Juniper Books.
Valentine's Day DIY Book Jackets
Here is the complete project – this is a great way to take four books you already own and dress them up as a new gift, or you can purchase new books for the project. It only takes a couple hours to complete so you still have time to make before Valentine’s Day! For the set of books I made, I chose four classic love stories, however it can be made with any books.
Materials for DIY Valentine Book Jackets
4 Books of approximately equal size
2 large sheets of white drawing paper (approx. 19 x 25″ or larger)
2 large sheet of pink drawing paper (approx. 19 x 25″ or larger)
Note: I recommend a relatively lightweight paper for the white “inside” jacket and a thicker drawing paper for the “outside” jacket.
1 Fiskars Shape Cutter tool
1 Fiskars Hearts Template 4855
24″ Paper Cutter (or a Rotary Cutter and X-acto knife will work fine)
Double sided tape or paper glue
1. Pick out your books
You can use books from your existing collection and give them a fresh new look, or find new or used books to buy. The great thing about making these jackets is that it will turn your books into a uniform set, so they can be any color to start with. Using the tools specified, the only requirement is that the books are at least 1″ thick – if they are smaller you will have to hand draw and cut the heart shapes.
Pick Out Your Valentine's Book Set
2. Cut the book jackets to size
Like each book flat on its back with the spine facing you with both the paper and the book against a straight edge. Mark the paper at the edge of the book. You want the jacket to fit the height of the book precisely or slightly larger so that the original color of the book is covered up. If you are using the 19 x 25″ paper, cut the paper on the long side so that you end up with a sheet that is the size of the book plus about 3-4 inches for the flaps at the front and back of the book – for example 9″ tall by 19″ long. Cut one jacket of white paper and one of pink paper for each book. Do not discard the extra paper, we will use at least some of the white paper for a book band, and you can use the other scraps to practice shape cutting.
Mark Paper to Size of Books
Cut Jackets Using Paper Cutter
Alternate Paper Cutting Method
3. Fold the jackets around the books.
Before you start folding it’s helpful to pencil a number discreetly on each book and jacket so you know which jackets go with which book. Place each book in the center of the jacket you have cut in order to fold the jacket around it. Start with the white jacket. Before folding the jacket around the front and back cover, “score” the jacket along the book edges, this will help with achieving a nice clean fold. When you perform the second fold you will want to leave a little extra room, if the jacket is folded too tightly, it won’t allow the book to close completely. You may need to give the top jacket – the pink one – even more breathing room in order for the book to open and close smoothly.
Scoring the Folding Edge
Keep Track of Which Books Go on Which Jackets
4. Cut the heart shapes on the pink jackets.
Take the pink jackets off the books. There should be a nice visible fold showing the width of the spine. Now, using your using your ruler and pencil, mark a spot that is in the middle of the spine width, at the same height across for all 4 of the book jackets. I used 6″ from the bottom of the jacket to measure to the middle top of the heart. Every book may be a different height so it is important to measure from the bottom for the hearts to align. Working on one pink jacket at a time, align the smallest Fiskars Heart from the template (1″ wide) with your pencil mark. Holding the template firmly in place, use the Fiskars Shape Cutter to cut out the heart. If you do not have the Fiskars tools, you can easily draw the heart shape, then cut it out with an exacto knife. Try practicing on the paper scraps you generated earlier if desired.
Measuring Placement for the Hearts
Alternative Freehand Heart Cutting Method
5. Writing L-O-V-E letters
Once all four of the heart shapes are cut out of the jackets, put the pink jackets back on the books so that the underlying white jackets show through. Then, using your red marker, write one letter in each opening on the white paper that shows through the heart shapes. If your books are different sizes, just make sure you have the order you will want to display them in before you write the letters.
Waiting for the Love
Writing L-O-V-E Letters
L-O-V-E in the Hearts
6. Making a Book Band
Using some of the white paper scrap generated in the second step, you can make a book band to wrap around all the books in order to present them as a set along with your gift message. To wrap around 4 books, you will likely need a 25″ piece of paper that is about 1.5″ wide, depending on the paper size you started with, you may need to tape or glue two scraps together. Once you have the 1.5 x 25″ paper, line it up so that you can see where the visible portion will be on the spine – usually it’s nice to have have the paper taped or glued to itself on the back cover of the books. Write your gift message on the book band. Then attach the book band to itself with double sided tape or a few drops of glue. The book band should be nice and tight so that it holds the books together securely.
Making a Book Band
Congratulations, your book set is now complete and ready for the big day!
Valentine's Day Gift Book Set with DIY Book Jackets
Happy Valentine’s Day,
To see some of our Valentine’s Day book sets for sale, please visit our store by clicking here or on the photo below.
I Love / Heart Books