Creating colorful bookcovers for Back to School!

by Susan Myers on August 2, 2012

With school time just around the corner, I came up with a school craft project that incorporates brightly colored paper.  After all, a long school day could certainly use some sunshine!  I created fun book covers using the technique called Iris Folding!

iris folded bookcovers / suzys artsy craftsy sitcom

The plan was to revamp the old version of the book cover.  You know, the one that is made from a grocery bag?  I used to make them all the time for my kids when they were in school.  Anyway, I decided to use a technique called Iris Folding with the bright colored papers to make those boring bookcovers exciting.

For this project I used:

Several sheets of different colors of colored paper
A paper grocery bag
Glue Stick
Tacky Glue

Begin by cutting your paper bag open as shown, and then cut off the bottom flap, so that you have one large sheet of paper.

With printed side of the grocery bag up, place the book on top and fold down the top and bottom edges of the paper to match the top and bottom of the book.  Fold one end of the paper and slide the front cover of the book into the open end until the edge of the cover meets your fold.

Close the book and crease the other end of the paper where the edge of back cover meets it.  Slide the back cover into the open fold.  Your book cover is now complete.  Well, your boring bookcover is complete.  Now let’s spice it up some with colorful paper!

This is the Iris Folding Pattern that I am using for this project.  You can download a pdf version from my free pattern page.

Choose a color and cut a strip of paper that is wider than your numbered section when folded.  Fold it lengthwise and place over the section, starting with section number one.  Be sure the fold is towards the center and is facing up.  (We are working from the backside of the project).  Cut another color strip and fold lengthwise, placing it over section number two, tacking the two strips together with glue stick.  Repeat this process going around, being sure to do the sections in numerical order.

Continue around, in numerical order, using a glue stick to glue each strip in place.

The final piece is a simple square glued to cover the center.

Flip your project over and you will be thrilled at the effect!

For the heart cover, I drew a heart on the cover of the book that is just a bit smaller than the finished Iris Fold.   Unwrap the book and cut the shape of the heart out of the cover.

Glue the Iris Fold onto the inside of the cover using tacky glue with the front side of the Iris Fold against the inside of the front cover.

paper crafts iris folded book covers 2

Not so boring now, is it? Let your colorful creative ideas go wild!

If you would like more paper craft ideas, check out the following tutorials from the Sitcom:

Cut Paper Art
Quilled Monogram

For a full listing of the Sitcom’s Paper Crafts – click here!

suzys sitcom facebook page

Are you new to the Sitcom?  Be sure to check out my Frequently Asked Questions Page!

For over 150 crafty tutorials for all ages, visit my Tutorial Page! 


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimi March 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm

So cool. :D


2 Fiffie December 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

This is so creative,it’ll be quite nice to change from my usual covering with brown and black covers


3 John October 25, 2014 at 1:45 am

That’s the same algebra textbook I used almost 10 years ago! I cannot believe we still haven’t made any advances in mathematics.


4 Doris September 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Used this design for the cover of my art book and my teacher loved it! I am so happy with it!


5 Naznin Azeez September 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Extremely creative!!


6 Tracey Mallaghan June 19, 2014 at 9:30 am

I just love this, so vibrant and happy and a great project for all my leftover trimmings :)


7 maryam May 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm

thank you suzy….i will visit you every day…your ideas are wonderful


8 michelle August 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

This is amazing I’m going to have to show my students how to do this :)


9 Heather - Dollar Store Crafts August 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Wow, these are really impressive… but then, all of your crafts are impressive! Great use of the neon paper!


10 Tracey August 29, 2012 at 8:42 am

WOW, those came out great. And what an awesome idea to brighten up boring old book covers. I would love for you to share this on our made for or by kids linky


11 Ruff House Art August 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

How neat! I wish I could’ve spiced my bag books more when I was in high school!


12 Alyssa August 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm

These notebooks are awesome! I’m featuring them on my blog today, Clever Nest. It’s part of a Back to School DIY roundup. Come on over to check it out, and say hey :).



13 ToniK August 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Neat idea and I love the colors, but I would have to put a layer of clear Contact type material over the front to keep the folds from getting caught and torn by other book edges when placed in the backpack. I loved the patterns and am want to use them for an inspiration board for a quilting project.


14 Suzy August 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hi Toni!

The clear protectant might be a good idea for this project. I love the texture of the paper layers and just hated covering it up with anything. I’d love to see your quilt project when it is complete! Thanks so much for stopping by!


15 Heather @ Life as we know it... August 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

I recently featured this on my blog, such a great idea! I sited you, but recently fixed it to feature you a little better. Hope this works for you, sorry about any confusion it caused!


16 Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I love Iris folding but what really caught my attention was the sweet little face on the
“BIG BAD GUARD DOGGY!” Probably would lick you to death. LOL. D*


17 Steph @ The Silly Pearl August 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I love this! Forget the kids, I want this for myself! Thanks for the diagram!


18 Debra August 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Those are bright and pretty.


19 Megan August 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

That is really cool!


20 Summer August 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

That is awesome – great job!


21 katie August 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

gorgeous and creative project!!!


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