Back-to-school season means renting - or sometimes buying - those extraordinarily expensive and heavy textbooks for your children. Book covers are an easy way to prevent spills and stray pens from damaging textbooks, but your kids are probably tired of using plain brown paper bags. In lieu of buying premade covers, use these five ingenious ideas to create your own fun and refreshing textbook covers that your kids will love.
1. Fabric covers
If you've never used a brown bag to cover a textbook, it's beyond simple. In Martha Stewart's guide, there's just a little bit of cutting involved and no tape required. Once you've mastered the basic technique, it's easy to adapt the design to your own ideas. If you're handy with a sewing machine, you can make fabric covers from the same template. Let your kids pick their favorite fabrics and cut them into the proper shape, then you can hem the edges and secure the end-flaps for them.
2. Retail bags
Another awesome variation is to use the paper bags from your kids' favorite stores. The tutorial on the In My Own Style blog uses cool bags from the Gap and American Eagle Outfitters to create stylish textbook covers. Those bags were probably getting tossed anyway, so this project is a great way to recycle them. Girls will love covers from Lilly Pulitzer or American Apparel, and boys can use bags from their favorite sporting goods stores.
3. Old maps
A map would make a unique and appropriate cover for a geography or language textbook. You can use the same basic template, but make sure the paper is thick enough to withstand some wear and tear. If the map is too thin, you may want to use spray adhesive to attach it onto a brown bag first.
4. Chalk paint
You can transform brown bag covers into art canvases with the help of a little chalkboard paint. All you need is a jar of the paint and a sponge brush. Your kids will love that they can decorate each cover and change it up daily. You can also use this technique on notebook covers.
5. Plastic pockets
Another cool idea from Martha Stewart is to dress up book covers with self-adhesive plastic pockets. Grab a few plastic business card or schedule holders from your favorite office supply store and put them on the front of homemade covers. Your kids can use them to store a homework list, index cards or sticky notes.
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