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Project

Waterproof Book Covers

Protect your summer reading at the beach or pool with these stylish covers. Use oilcloth or vinyl to repel water and lotion.

Materials

  • Oilcloth
  • Scissors
  • Sewing kit

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Place fabric, wrong side up, on work surface; lay opened book on top. Mark around book; add 1/2 inch beyond top and bottom and 3 inches on each side.

  2. Step 2

    Cut out. Turn under and stitch 1/4-inch hem along top and bottom edges.

  3. Step 3

    Center opened book horizontally, and mark fold lines for left and right flaps 1/4 inch beyond book covers. Fold flaps over, and sew in place along top and bottom edges in line with hems.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, July 2004

Reviews (32)

  • MD99 6 Aug, 2012

    Wal-Mart carries a very thick, clear vinyl in their fabric dept. that is ideal for this project! You can see the covers of the books and not have to somehow label them, especially for school books!

  • PEGGYBW 1 Aug, 2012

    I wanted to save this, but couldn not find the "save". Could someone tell me how? I feel so dumb.

  • twinfox 4 Jun, 2012

    Cut your ribbon about two to three inches longer than the height of your book cover. Tack the ribbon top and bottom to the book cover, about an inch-and-a-half in from the center seam. Then when you drop your book (which often happens) your ribbon doesn't fall completely out.

  • twinfox 4 Jun, 2012

    Cut your ribbon about two to three inches longer than the height of your book cover. Tack the ribbon top and bottom to the book cover, about an inch-and-a-half in from the center seam. Then when you drop your book (which often happens) your ribbon doesn't fall completely out.

  • Alysyn 11 Aug, 2011

    We save out-grown or worn out denim jeans and make these book covers for back-to-school. The kids love having the pocket on the book cover. It is great for sticking in pens or pencils, or even a secret note being passed in class ;)

  • LentoMom 22 Jul, 2010

    Great Project for the kids like mine who are now required to cover their school books to protect them.
    We used brown paper bags when we were kids. Decorated them with doodling all year round. The bags usually lasted from Sept to Christmas break,
    they had to be done again to last till April vacation, then once more till the end of the school year. Vinyl, contact paper or oil cloth will certainly be longer lasting.

  • eland 22 Jul, 2010

    We should be thankful for jmpag's heads up on carcinogens even if we choose not to follow it. We need such watchdogs to bring awareness regarding the dangers we are exposed to, especially in these times when environmental protections are a low priority. (See meebzilla's comment.)

  • meebzilla 9 Jun, 2010

    {sigh} It's Eyore again. Hits every single project that Martha does with the carcinogen warning. Never fails.

  • rediamond56 8 Jun, 2010

    I think it's a GREAT idea! You can also cover round seats, outside tables, make covers for fishing poles, umbrellas, floppy rain hats, window dressings, armrests on couches pockets, diaper disposal bags...the list is endless!
    And if you have enough shower curtains, make a tent or awning for picnics! Koo-EL.

  • jmpag 7 Jun, 2010

    Carcinogens - chemicals that outgas from new vinyl, oilcloth

  • jmpag 7 Jun, 2010

    The last part of my response was omited - New vinyl, oilcloth

  • jmpag 7 Jun, 2010

    If I were doing this I'd recycle a shower curtain or tablecloth because new vinyl, oilcloth

  • malibujd44 7 Jun, 2010

    I am a TOTAL visual person...please show pictures of how to do this. The written instructions mean nothing to me, well just one thing...frustration!

  • Dozeedo 7 Jun, 2010

    What a great idea! I am in a book club, and I think we'll make these at our next meeting!

  • cathyray 9 Jul, 2008

    With all the great plastic covered fabrics in the small quilt shops I plan to cover my daily journal. They aren't as heavy as the oil cloth.

  • tigersmoke 9 Jul, 2008

    You could use gold leaf for your title down the spine if putting it on the bookcase. I have made both fabric, fabric

  • craftypattyc 9 Jul, 2008

    We did this in the 50's for all of our books and I did it for my children. They loved the idea and so did their teachers! For paperbacks, use a heavy iron on interfacing and cut it smaller than the pettern. This way it will not be bulky for the fold over flaps. Love the idea of clear vinyl and ribbon for bookmark. Patty

  • agrammie 9 Jul, 2008

    I am 60 years old and my father covered all our school books in oil cloth. We were the envy of all our classmates.and they lasted the entire school year. I'm glad someone else thought of it. Annie

  • JSmall 8 Jul, 2008

    Stitching a length of narrow ribbon to the 'top' edge where it would fold around the spine of the book could provide an easy bookmark that would not fall out - add about 2 extra inches to the height of the bookcover so it will extend. Even better - add some beads or a cute charm to the bookmark ribbon! Have fun!

  • Waverly 8 Jul, 2008

    I intended to say for PAPERBACKS you would need to reinforce this... :)

  • fasawasa 8 Jul, 2008

    This is the same pattern we used to cover our public school books in junior high and high school in the 50's

  • Waverly 8 Jul, 2008

    For hardbacks you would probably need to reinforce this with cardboard or something...

  • Mackfever 8 Jul, 2008

    Great idea.. Clear contact paper would also work great for this. Thanks for the tip.

  • BeccaCreates 8 Jul, 2008

    What a great idea! I'm going to make these in several sizes for hardback

  • PinkGranny 8 Jul, 2008

    This will be a good project to do with my granddaughter.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • ludy 8 Jul, 2008

    You can do the same thing with clear contact paper..

  • sewhappy 8 Jul, 2008

    We made these in camp years ago using glue instead of sewing. We didn't hem them either. I still have one.

  • jeanettekappen 8 Jul, 2008

    Great suggestion for protecting those LIBRARY books or books that are borrowed from friends.

  • omall004 8 Jul, 2008

    To add a title, you could buy fabric that can go through the inkjet printer--you could have all-sorts of fun with crazy fonts--then stitch or iron it on to the spine of your book cover.

  • mddepersio 8 Jul, 2008

    If the fabric is a solid color, you could use a permanent maker and your best penmanship.

  • mgejee 8 Jul, 2008

    I love this idea andI was thinking about doing some bookcovers in fabric for a bookshelf in my living room. Any ideas about how to add an attractive title?

  • mgejee 8 Jul, 2008

    I love this idea andI was thinking about doing some bookcovers in fabric for a bookshelf in my living room. Any ideas about how to add an attractive title?