How to Make a Book Cover Look Old

    by Lane Cummings

    About the Author

    Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."


    While often newer seems better, in certain situations you might need to make a book cover look old for a film, during a play or just because you like the look. You don't need to buy a specific kit to achieve this; instead, aging a book cover is something you can do with materials around your house. The key things to remember is that when books get old, they begin to discolor, the corners of the cover begin to wear and the threads, or glue which attach the cover to the spine begin to unravel or disintegrate.

    Things You'll Need

    • Coffee
    • Paintbrush
    • Sand paper
    • Cornstarch

    Brew half a pot of coffee and pour it into a paper cup. Dip your paintbrush in the coffee and apply vertical strokes from the top to the bottom of the book cover. Apply even strokes until the entire surface area of the cover and spine are colored brown. Allow it to dry to give the cover a yellowed or simply discolored appearance.

    Rub a piece of sandpaper vertically across the front cover gently until it has a faded, worn appearance. Repeat with the back cover. Focus on the edges and spine of the cover as well.

    Open and close the book vigorously, bending it so that it's almost folded inside out. Repeat this movement until you visibly weaken the spine of the book.

    Sprinkle a small handful of cornstarch on the cover and rub it all over the front and back with your hands until it is well-distributed. This will give it a dusty look.

    • You can hold the book over a sink and burn off the top and bottom corners of the cover with a lighter -- an adult only project -- to make the book look aged. Burn one more than the other so that the corners don't look unnaturally identical. Run the lighter around the perimeter of the entire book quickly so that it looks worn. Repeat with the back cover. However, working with fire can be dangerous, so proceed with caution.


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