Most of the home schoolers I know, both in real life and through the Internet, have an extensive home library. Our collection of books range from reference and how-to books to favorite, often read children’s fiction. If you’re a military home school family like ours, the school principal, also known as Dad, also has a stash of military history books.
My children love books. They love them. As in, they wear them out in a way that makes the perfectionist in me cringe. The covers have fallen off our Curious George books and the dust jackets of other books have seen much better days.
Recently I discovered a way to protect our home library using the same materials that the public libraries do. I purchased dust jacket covers for hard cover books and “Redi-Roll” covers for paperbacks at Vernon Library Supply. Not being a librarian, the site was overwhelming to me at first. I wasn’t sure exactly what I needed and I wanted to be able to cover as many books as possible without having to buy lots of different products.
Hardcover Books with Dust Jackets
The first thing I purchased was Easy Fit Covers for 12” high books in a set of 25. These covers fit all of our hardcover books except two. The books which didn’t fit were actually too wide for the pre-sized covers. The next time I place an order, I think I will purchase the same covers on a roll, which I believe you can cut to the correct width. Let me show you how easy it is to cover a book with Easy Fit Covers:
Here is the book I want to cover, the Easy Fit Cover and a bone folder. If you don’t have a bone folder, you can use a butter knife or a ruler. You will also need some kind of double sided tape, any brand will do. I grabbed my Tombow Mono Adhesive from my scrapbook supplies. You can see the cover is a transparent sheet of polyester attached to a white piece of paper.
Remove the dust jacket from your book and place it face down in between the clear film and the white paper. In this picture you can see the white paper has perforations so you can fit the cover to the height of your book.
Fold the white paper at the perforation that is closest to the height of your dust jacket. Choose the perforation that is the same height or shorter. Tear off the excess paper.
Make sure that your dust jacket is aligned with the bottom of the Easy Fit Cover. It’s easy for it to slide up and you want to have a nice fit. Fold the transparent piece down over the dust jacket. Crease it with your hand first…
…then use your bone folder, dull edge of a butter knife or a ruler to crease it again, giving it a nice crisp edge. Using the bone folder or other tool may seem unnecessary, but believe me, you’ll be happier with your results if you do this step.
Remove the backing off the adhesive on the transparent piece and stick it down to the white paper. I found I needed additional adhesive on the corners of the transparent cover. I just used my double stick tape. It’s important to note that you are sticking the transparent cover to the attached white paper, not the dust cover.
You can see in the above picture that my cover is smaller in width than the dust jacket. That’s ok, as long as you have at least an inch or two of the dust jacket flap extending past the transparent cover. You can see what I mean in the picture below.
Your dust cover is now protected. Place it on your book and fold the flaps over.
Use your hand to crease the cover around the edge of the book, following the crease from the dust jacket. You want more of a rounded fold this time, so use just your hand, not the bone folder.
I stopped at this point, however you will notice that library books have actually taped their protected dust covers to the book. You can do this by using double stick adhesive to tape the flap to the inside cover of the book. I didn’t do this because I don’t mind if the dust jacket comes off the book. Also, I liked the thought of being able to remove the Easy-Fit Cover, because up until this point, no adhesive has touched either the dust cover or the book.
So now your dust covers are protected from the enthusiasm of the readers in your home.
You can also cover your paperback books using Reddi-Roll Covers. I bought 12” high in 200’. Of course you can also cover your books using Contact Paper which is cheaper, but Reddi-Roll covers are thicker and are repositionable before becoming permanent. If you’re looking for library quality protection, Reddi-Rolls are the way to go.
So here I am covering my children’s favorite joke book. Lay the book on the roll of laminate, leaving 3-4 inches extending past the width of the book on both the front and back. Cut the laminate to that size.
Peel the backing off the laminate, then place the spine of the book down, centering it but up and down and left and right. Flip the book to the front (don’t worry about the laminate sticking to the back of the book) and using your bone folder or other tool, slowly smooth down the laminate. Take your time and get out all the air bubbles. Peel the laminate back if you need to and try again to get rid of the air bubbles. Repeat with the other side of the book.
Trim the laminate even with the top and bottom edges of the book.
Open one cover the book and trim the laminate at a slight angle. In the picture below, I’ve actually cut it at too steep an angle. For best results start your cut just a little in from the edge (about ¼ of an inch in) and end at the corner of the book. Cut the other side of the flap in the same way. Fold the trimmed flap to the inside of the cover and use the bone folder to get a crisp edge and to press out the air bubbles. Repeat with the opposite cover.
This was the first book I covered with Reddi-Roll and for future books I will not trim off the bottom piece of laminate. Instead I will trim it like I did the left and right edges and fold the top and bottom flaps inward. I think this will give better protection to the book cover.
The last step is to take a good look at your cover. If you have any stubborn air bubbles, you can pop them with a pin, then smooth them out. You’ll never notice the tiny pin hole.
I did not attempt to cover all of our books. There’s just not enough time in the day to even try! I covered all of our hard cover books that have dust covers and the paper back books that get a lot of use.
I love our books and I hated to see them getting so beat up, but there were so many choices at the library supply websites that I just didn’t know how to get started. When the supplies arrived, there were no instructions! Hopefully this article will be helpful to the other bibliophiles out there who want to protect their investment in books.
When Lorri isn’t obsessively protecting her books with library supplies, she can be found at The Mac and Cheese Chronicles.