It’s day three of Paper Calliope’s 13 Days of October

It’s day three of Paper Calliope’s 13 Days of October



How good are you at faking it? Are you good enough to fool that special someone in your life? Of course, experiencing the real thing always gives the best Wow!, but maybe you have been in a situation where you felt the need for some harmless deception.

Ok, I admit it. I am not talking about anything more scintillating than books. But hey, don’t you find altered books the sexiest? Day three of Paper Calliope’s 13 Days of October is all about faking it–specifically creating aged leather book covers.

This faux book may not be old, but the technique to make it is, and it is definitely a keeper. All you need is a used hardcover book, some paper bags or kraft paper, precut chipboard shapes, ink and matte medium.

Pssst—make sure you stick around until the end to find out this book’s secret surprise.

 Tutorial–How to make a faux leather book

Step One

Open the book so that the two covers lay flat and measure the length and width of the entire book, including spine. Add two inches to the length and two inches to the width and cut a piece of brown paper bag or kraft paper of this size.


Step Two

Crumple the bag up. Unfold and smooth it out and ink one side of the paper using Vintage Photo Distress Ink or Tea Dye Distress Ink.


Step Three

Using matte medium, adhere two chipboard skeletons together. Then using matte medium adhere the layered skeletons to the cover of the book.Let dry.

Step Four

Heavily coat the uninked side of your paper with matte medium. Lay over the book’s cover and smooth the paper. Using your fingers work the paper around the chipboard to help define the raised edges. Don’t worry if raised image does not have much definition.

Fold the edges over the book and using matte medium adhere to  the inside cover. Let dry.

Step Five

After the book has dried, ink the raised skeleton with Tea Dye Distressed Ink. Emphasize the edges with a heaver inking.

Step Six

Apply matte medium over the entire cover. Use this opportunity to further work the paper around the skeleton and into its crevices. The matte medium will also enhance the leather look and protect the paper.

Now for the secret surprise….

The faux has a super secret hidden compartment!



Tutorial–How to make a hidden compartment



Step Seven

Wrap the cover, plus two additional pages of the book in plastic cling wrap. Apply matte medium to the edges of the remaining pages. Place under a heavy object to press the pages together and let dry. This will turn the pages into a solid block.


Step Eight

On the top page of the page block, mark a rectangle. Use an X-acto knife and a straight edge to carve out the pages. Leave a few pages on the bottom to create the base of the compartment.

Step Nine

Apply matte medium to the inside of the compartment walls. Let dry.


Step Ten

Remove the cling wrap and use the matte medium to adhere the closest free page on top of the compartment. Let dry. This will cover the marks you made to create the compartment. After it is dry, cut out this page of the compartment hole.

Step Eleven

On the inside front and back covers adhere cardstock to give the book a finished look.

Pre CAD era--I am the lucky recipient of these old rub-ons. My dad gave them to me when he retired from the architecture firm he created.

Pre CAD–I am the lucky recipient of these old rub-ons. My dad gave them to me many years ago when he retired from the architecture firm he owned.

Step Twelve

To complete the book, use rub-on letters to create a title to the book’s spine. You want to intentionally do a poor job applying the letters so that the letters look more distressed.

 Stuff I used




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