Today I’m sharing how to create your own custom Halloween Spell Book (Plus it’s a box – bonus storage!). My kids are on a major Harry Potter kick so I named mine after one of the spell books in the movie, but you can give yours any name or title you want. Here’s the techniques I used to create a realistic “old” book.
Halloween Spell Book Box Tutorial
- Paper mache book box. These are available at most major crafting stores.
- Paint. I recommend using all purpose craft paint for the best results. I used silver, rose gold, cranberry red, dark brown, and navy blue.
- Paintbrushes. Flat and stipple.
- Letter Stickers. Find stickers in a font that fits with your book title, or print out your font of choice on sticker paper and cut out the letters.
- Tweezers. Pointy ones are best, but any kind will work.
Note: When painting paper mache, use multiple thin coats and let it dry well in between. A thick coat will cause the paper to soak up too much paint and bubble or warp.
Start by figuring out where you want your title/words. I only wanted my title to be on the front at the top and bottom, but you can also put a title there too. I used silver paint and painted two coats anywhere I wanted to lay letters down on. Let the paint dry completely.
Then I used the ruler to lay out horizontal lines to keep the letters straight, and marked the center of the book so the title would be centered as well.
Take the letters you want to use and place them where you marked for the titles to go. Press them down firmly to help prevent paint leaking under them in a later step.
Here I’m putting the first coat of silver on the spine decorations.
Now is the point where you’ll be jumping back and forth a bit. All the metallics need two coats, and the standard paints need about three, depending on the paint and the color. So you’ll want to put one coat on one part, then jump to another and put a coat on that while the first one dries.
Start painting the front and spine of the book. It took me three coats of the cranberry color to get a solid shade.
I used rose gold to paint what would be the “pages” of the book. A candle worked perfectly to hold the top up, but you can use anything you have on hand.
Don’t forget to paint the underside edges of the cover with the same paint you used for the front. You’ll need several coats here as well. Paper mache likes to soak up paint.
Once the front is fully dry, it’s time to give it some texture. I took a stipple brush and dabbed on a layer of brown mixed with rose gold. I dabbed the paint with a paper towel to blur it out a bit. Then I repeated that with a layer of dark brown, and then a layer of cranberry. Let it dry.
If you wanted, you could leave the stickers on for an embossed look, and even paint them gold or silver with a fine brush. However, the reason we originally painted a layer of silver was to create a debossed look. All you have to do is carefully peel the stickers off with your tweezers. These came off fairly easily, but if a little bit of paint leaked under, you can scratch it off or leave it for an aged look. If the paint starts to come up with the stickers, use a craft knife to gently cut the paint around the sticker.
Here’s the finished top! You can add extra embellishments if you wish, or leave it simple for a classic book effect.
Go ahead and do the stippling effect on the spine. You’ll cover up the first layer of silver detailing, but just go over that with one more coat and it covers fantastically.
When the front and spine are completely dry, don’t forget to paint the back of your book.
You can use any color you like on the inside, and I loved this dark navy blue. This also took 3 coats to cover completely. This is only one coat, but they dry very quickly.
That’s your finished book! I hope you enjoyed making it, and keep in mind you can make different variations these for all kinds of events or decoration! These are great for storing treat, little trinkets, or even things like tissues or remotes!