Let’s make our own shabby books!
All you need are some unloved, discarded books; some chalky finish paints, and stencils!
Here’s my unloved, discarded books. Remove the dust jackets and you’re left with some hardcover books that are a perfect blank canvas!
Step One: Stick a piece of scrap paper inside the book cover and paint the cover (both front and back) with brown chalky finish paint. I painted on two quick coats, applying the paint thicker in some areas than others. Let dry.
Step Two: Apply ivory chalky finish paint in a rough way, thicker in some areas than others, and leave some of the brown paint showing through.
Step Three: While the paint is still wet, take a paper towel and wipe off the paint from top to bottom. You can also continue wiping from side to side, in circles – whatever way you want to do it is fine!
Step Four: Paint another rough coat of ivory paint, wipe back if desired in sections. Once you’re happy with the shabby look, let the paint dry.
Step Five: Add a stencil to the front cover, in a chalky finish paint shade that is slightly darker than the ivory. You want the stencil to look faded, which is why it’s better to use a similar shade.
I used a leaf and vine design on this book:
On the smaller book, I used a brocade design, and repeated it in the lower left and upper right corners to make it look like it’s running off the cover:
Once the stencils dried, it was time to add some words to my book covers.
Step Six: Stencil words onto the books, using a dark gray chalky finish paint. For the larger book with the leaf and vine stencil, I added the French word for flowers: Fleurs. For the smaller book, I added a No. 1 in the lower right corner.
You’ll notice that I used a lighter hand when stenciling on the left (above), and a much heavier hand when stenciling the numbers. There’s no particular reason for it, I just wanted to do something different!
And now I have my own set of shabby books to display!