amy merrickDIYdiy projectsmade with love

made with love: bookplates

by amym

Truth be told, I have a little book lending phobia. I’m happy to give books away to friends, but the lending part is hard. I once got badly burned by a beloved old copy of A Catcher in the Rye which, sob, never made it’s way home to me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on…. umm…. oh whatever….. you know where I’m going with this.

Bookplates are charming throwback and serve a very practical purpose, saying “Give me my darn book back, already.” so you don’t have to. I scoured my favorite collections of antique (copyright free) images and designed several bookplate templates for you to download and create your own bookplates with. Proof positive that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. So to that sweet boy with my Salinger slung in his book bag, I say thank you. –amy m.

CLICK HERE for the full how-to (and downloadable templates) after the jump!

What you’ll need:
– printer
– paper
– paper cutter or straight edge and scissors
– spray mount adhesive or glue stick

– Download and print the template of your choice onto high quality paper.

– Using the guide marks, cut apart plates. A paper cutter makes this much more precise, but scissors and a ruler work just fine in a pinch.

– My printer has a tendency to play with the scale when it prints, so feel free to trim up as necessary if yours does the same.

– Using spray mount (or a light coat from a glue stick) center each bookplate in the middle of the front cover page.

– Bookplates make amazingly easy (and awesomely affordable) gifts. I like to make up a little paper envelope to stash 20 or so in and glue a sample on the cover so the recipient knows what’s in store.

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  • I love these! Definitely will be a great addition to my favourite books.

  • I totally just purchased a cool bookplate stamp from an etsy seller last week. It’s sort of an art deco/peacock design.

    A great idea for sure – especially when friends er um, “forget” to return your books.

  • I have a few different bookplate designs that I have purchased, but I am definitely downloading the head template. Awesome!

  • ooooh this is my favorite one you’ve done!!!! sooo great!

  • fantastic! and best of all, free!

    I use a stamp with my name (alnormand) and stamp the spine of all of my books. Ex libris stamps don’t really prevent someone from taking your books, but stamping the outside makes it as obvious as possible to others that the book is not theirs. :-)

  • thank you so much … even if i don’t lend my books these will go perfectly with my gorgeous second hand books from the 1930s to 1960s. great idea.

  • So adorable. I’m taking advantage of the full sheet 8.5×11 labels at work and printing these pre-stickied.

    Thank you!

  • ooh la la! these are great. i never lend books because i’m so greedy about knowledge (lol jk) but either way these are so lovely that i must use them. martha stewart has some great bookplates too, but these are way more unique.

  • This is such a brilliant idea – I’ve often thought that I need one of those home library kits, but I’m just a bit too lazy – this I could manage…

  • LOVE love these. i have a terrible habit of lending out books and immediately forgetting a.) that i did and b.) who they went to.

  • Thanks, these are really great. My husband is very much like his mom and brothers, they love to read, and when she passed away and they were going through her books, these were in most of them. So now every time they open one of her books, they are reminded of their love for their mom.

  • Love these! Are the images you used from online collections of copyright free images or book collections? Any links you could share? Thanks!

  • I don’t lend books either, I gift them! I’ll just put it on my list for the next Borders run or Amazon order and get a new copy! But these are so beautiful, and great for those treasured copies that you’ll never give away.

  • Love them, they are sooo pretty. I’ll be printing the snake ones. I have started writing down in my notebook who I’ve lent a book to, just to be sure I remember.

  • this is so awesome. i love the head with the big open mouth. Just what i have been looking for. I have envied these style of bookplates on etsy for a long time but havent taken the plunge and purchased ! definetly printing off a few pages on these today! yippee

  • thanks so much. It’s my brothers birthday soon and he has quite the library this will be an awesome extra little gift!

  • I have books in every room of my house (my husband used to be a librarian!) and have been looking for an elegant way to personalize my favorites. This is perfect! xxoo.

  • I love Catcher in the Rye so much my children are named Holden & Phoebe. Suffice it to say I have never lent my copy to anyone. Perhaps now I can with these beautiful plates – thank you!

  • Oh, these are great! I am giving them as a present to a friend for sure. Love the idea with the envelope!

  • Amazing amazing amazing! I love this project, and I’m going to steal your template for sure!

  • Trust me these are invaluable. I lent a batch of books to a friend.

    One day during a visit she said oh here are your books and immediately I knew one was missing.

    So we went to her bookshelf I found the missing one and she said “oh no I purchased that one” .

    Before anything could get uncomfortable I opened the book to my label and the conversation was over.

    Mistakes can happen, people lose track so these labels truly save friendships!

  • Love your bookplates as I’m also a bookworm and yes, love “Catcher in the Rye”. I’ve been burnt by book loans so now my policy is this–if I don’t care about getting it back I will “loan it”. If I love it stays.

  • Couldnt these be printed on large size stickers (like Avery) so there would be no need for spray adhesive or glue sticks???

    • bernie

      definitely, if you don’t want to work with glue products you can work with a sticker. but amy put her bookplates on top of a pretty patterned piece of paper, which wasn’t printed out on a computer (so they needed a glue product to be attached)


  • I just purchased a book about bookplates, showing the custom designs used by the famous or wealthy throughout history to claim their books. It was interesting to see the plates used by people from Karl Marx to George Washington to H. G. Wells to Alfred Steiglitz. Not only are these items functional and aesthetically pleasing, they can be part of history by telling a story about the book’s owner. I love your templates, Amy, and I also encourage everyone to consider researching the subject and designing their own bookplates.

  • gosh, i was so excited about printing these bookplates for my weekend project! sadly, the links the templates no longer work. will they be functioning soon?

  • Hey grace!

    I really love your bookplates! Do you know where to find more patterns? Like the one with the snake? Floral ones? Would be great if you have some links for me!

  • Thanks for the ideas that sprung to mind from reading your article, I found your site from a search for (bookplate template) and I’m glad I found it. I am designing some templates for my own use and will also put some on my page at Scribd in the near future.
    Thanks again!

  • love them! I like to give books away to friends too, i absolutely loves these book plate designs. thanks so much!

  • Thank you for these, Amy! They are so beautiful and such a great gift idea. I have a million books and ZERO bookplates….I think I need to get working. :)

  • Looks like the templates aren’t working!! Any chance you could look into this? LOVE the idea! Thanks so much! :)

  • I loved the idea so much that I made a batch as a surprise gift for my husband. I used that snake template and printed them on address label stickers. I also colored the flowers and the snake in with colored pencils, which ended up taking all afternoon. They came out really cute!

  • Love this! Bookplates were something I’d had a notion to design for a long time, but never got around to. This post inspired me to finally give it a go and make some for my nieces Christmas gifts. I followed your lead and made envelopes out of patterned scrap book paper as well, and used the same paper to cover labels on glue sticks as well, to tie everything together. Great post, great idea. They were hugely appreciated gifts. Thanks!

  • I like your design. I am looking for something similar to a book plate my great grandfather had in his books. He had a very clever poem about his cherished books and cherished friends and may they both find their way back to him again…something more eleoquent. My father sold the books and now I am heart broken both for the books and for his personal touch and signature within.

  • I work for a major bookseller and often our guests inquire about bookplates. I will steer them here in the future for these are timeless and add to the romance of a personal library collection. What a fantastic addition these will make to books purchases as a gift! In love!

  • Hello,
    I know that I am late to the party but really love these bookplate templates and would love to use them for a gift for a friend. However, when I click on the link to download them, it says page not found. Am I clicking on the wrong thing? I would really really love to get the snake ones in her possession. :) Thank you!