How to cover a papier mache book box

I had a very boring Kraft papier mache book box that I keep my unmounted alphabet stamps in. It's so boring, I decided to do something with it! Then I thought it might be a good idea to share....

Boring plain Kraft papier mache box

I prepped the box inside and out with burgundy acrylic paint. I lined it with Khadi paper (heavily textured, handmade) in a strong pink which I overstamped with more burgundy paint and my toys: hand carved wooden blocks from Colouricious.

Heavily textured Khadi handmade paper
The paint was applied to the block with a sponge brush, and you can see the very simple repeat pattern: from the left, just stamped from top to bottom. 2nd from left, pattern dropped half a repeat down, 3rd from left starting at the top again, etc. Due to the heavy texture of the paper, the pattern didn't stamp perfectly - enhancing the handmade effect. (If you want a perfect repeat, use smooth paper).

I sprayed the hinges for my other book green, using the inside of this box to keep the spray away from the table, sorry! If you want to see the book, scroll down to the post before this one.

The box is painted inside and out, the small piece is the left side lining paper and the larger ones are for the top and inside the box part - all in one piece, sides and bottom.

Side paper glued in. You'll notice a slight overlap at the bottom - making sure there are no gaps. I used ordinary PVA gle (white glue, dries clear).

The inside of the finished box. You'll note I didn't glue paper over the hinge as this is a tight-fitting lid.

A heavy application of gesso on the stamp and more repeat patterning
The outside of the box - a different stamp. I used gesso (again, applied with a sponge brush).

I didn't like the gesso - too stark. So I overstamped with Lumiere's Crimson (pearlised deep red) using the first block (the one I stamped on the paper for the inside of the box).

I did two rows of stamping, then blended in with a soft cloth before the acrylic was completely dry. This blended the paint a little, but still left a very dimensional broken texture.

The finished book. Possibly still a little too floral on the cover for my taste, so I'll probably go ahead with some collage at some point. Or maybe it needs some text. Or not. I'll see how I feel in a day or so.

Showing the fastening and 'page edges' detail

Detail of the 'pages' I drew in with a dark grey Copic market. I overdrew with an opaque white pen (Ranger). The fastening is a piece of Grungeboard, cut to size and the corners rounded, then painted and stamped to match. I made two holes right at the top and applied eyelets (too thick to crunch, so I cheated with two sets applied from top and bottom to meet in the middle, with an application of Diamond Glaze glue and a whack with a hammer).

This meant there was a little too much movement of the Grungeboard just at the fore edge, so I made another hole and added two more eyelets in the same way (you can see there's an overhanging lip, so that's where I made the hole). To finish the fastening, I punched a large hole at the end of the Grungboard, and a small hole in the side of the box - then screwed in a hitch fastener. The Grungeboard hooks over beautifully.

Why bother? I carry the box (and contents) to classes, so this stops everything falling out. Nice, neat and secure - and now a lot more interesting to look at.


  1. Awesome! I love the book box. I see them and cannot decide what to do with them! Thanks! Your books are great too!
    Hugs, Lisa

  2. Hi there! I haven't been to see you in a while and I've been missing out! You've been creating a lot! Your canvases below are so unique! Love them! And your albums are always amazing. Thanks for the tutorial too, and I love the thick gesso with the stamped in designs! Thanks for the giveaway too! Suzie

  3. I've just been having a bit of a catch up with your blog, Susie - great fun! Your book box certainly isn't boring now, it looks great - a lot of work but worth it!
    Diane x

  4. Queen of Dreamsz7 August 2010 at 08:24

    Happy Pink to you, Susie

    You've been a busy bee. I love what you do. I wish you lived near so I could take a class with you. :0)

    Happy Day,
    Stephanie ♥

  5. Happy Pink Saturday, Susie! Thank you for visiting me!

    You are ONE VERY TALENTED GAL my friend! Oh my gosh...I'm going back to peruse your site for even more great finds!


  6. Happy pink Saturday Susie, love the books you have made and your box is gorgeous

  7. Catharina Maria7 August 2010 at 11:46

    Happy Pink saturday Susie !
    I hope you will give me a place on your give-awya list ;o)
    love the books you have made !
    Love from the Netherlands ♥RINI♥

  8. Happy Pink Saturday Susie! Love how you transformed that book box...I love those hidden books to tuck things away in and hid amongst my regular books. Have a great week, fondly, Roberta


  10. Country Wings in Phoenix7 August 2010 at 20:02

    Happy Pink Saturday Susie Sweetie...
    Another beautiful share today sweetie. I love seeing what you create. You are so talented indeed.

    I love the Japanese stab bound albums. They are so beautiful. I will have to research a little on these. I so wish you lived closer, as I can never get in on any of the wonderful classes that folks teach. What fun this looks like.

    Your book is awesome. Totally awesome. I love the use of a paper mache book box. You made it look just like a real book, and I love the closure. You are so creative sweet friend.

    Thank you for sharing today. Have a gorgeous Pink Saturday. Many hugs...Sherry

  11. Love your background! I've got a circus theme too! Happy PS!

  12. someplace in thyme7 August 2010 at 22:01

    I love what you did with the book. Great idea. You are so talented and it shows each time I pop in here to see you. Happy Pink Saturday, Char

  13. Someone with you talent and creative mind, I am sure is a great teacher. All your things are so nice. I would love having anything you giveaway. I,also, need that image on your post for my upcoming birthday.

  14. Couture de Papier8 August 2010 at 00:17

    Beautiful pink treasures Thank you for sharing..Happy Pink Saturday! I have to check out your utube blog your so generous!

  15. It's been a while - life is so busy isn't it Susie? I feel like I've been on the go since Spring - and I have! Africa was so awesome and quickly followed by New England and Canada. Now I'm off to California so just a quick hello to tell you I do stop by even when there's too little time to comment....and always so enjoy your wonderful projects and appreciate you always sharing so much great creative info with us.

    Hope life is good dear.....I'm missing coming home this year but hope to make it over next Spring!

    Take care - hugs, Mary.
    A Breath of Fresh Air

  16. Oh I was going to comment on the wonderful bookbinding class and how I wish I could get to one but then I had a look in your etsy store.
    Sounds very comprehensive, I am off to buy one

  17. Oh such a pretty book! I love what you did! I've got to check your etsy shop to see what's there!

    Sorry for the late PS visit; yesterday just got away from me! Happy belated Pink Saturday!
    Maggie @
    "Do these shoes match this purse?"

  18. Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents9 August 2010 at 03:59

    Happy PS on Sunday, dear Susie! Love your book box ~~ you always make the most creative things! The Japanese stab bound album looks pretty, too! Woo hoo, another chance at the great giveaway!!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  19. Oh, you have just the prettiest things up since I last visited! Glad you didn't get flooded. I waaaaaaannnnnt to live in YOUR quaint neighborhood. Love pics of the ancestors' island. Keep them coming! :-)


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