DIYdiy projects

diy project: valentine book collection from juniper books

by Kate Pruitt

There’s a strong link between romance and the written word, making literary gifts — love letters, novels, poetry — a fitting choice for Valentine’s Day. We’re big fans of Juniper Books and its creative founder, Thatcher Wine, and we were excited to see that he has released several new book collections just in time for Valentine’s Day. We featured a few last week, but there are many more to browse here.

In addition, Thatcher was kind enough to create this easy personalized book collection project just for us. There are many great ways to adapt this idea: adding photos behind the heart-shaped windows; choosing pretty patterns or two coordinating shades of paper; cutting out different shapes, etc. No matter how you customize this project, you can be sure your literary love will be thrilled to receive this thoughtful gift. Thanks for sharing, Thatcher! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!

One of the main reasons I started making custom book jackets a few years ago was to bring some order to the inherent disorder of bookshelves and all their different colors, shapes and sizes. This project is an elegant way to transform a few select books into a pretty book set to give on Valentine’s Day. For the set of books I made, I chose four classic love stories; however, it can be made with any books. — Thatcher


  • 4 books of approximately equal size
  • 2 large sheets of white drawing paper (approx. 19″ x 25″ or larger)
  • 2 large sheets of pink drawing paper (approx. 19″ x 25″ or larger) I recommend a relatively lightweight paper for the white “inside” jacket and a thicker drawing paper for the “outside” jacket.
  • 1 Fiskars Shape Cutter tool
  • 1 Fiskars Hearts Template 4855
  • pencil
  • red marker
  • 24″ paper cutter (or a rotary cutter and X-Acto knife will work fine)
  • 24″ ruler
  • double-sided tape or paper glue


1. Pick out your books.

You can use books from your existing collection and give them a fresh new look, or find new or used books to buy. The great thing about making these jackets is that it will turn your books into a uniform set, so they can be any color to start with. Using the tools specified, the only requirement is that the books are at least 1″ thick — if they are smaller, you will have to hand draw and cut the heart shapes.

2. Cut the book jackets to size.

Lay each book flat on its back with the spine facing you with both the paper and the book against a straight edge. Mark the paper at the edge of the book. You want the jacket to fit the height of the book precisely or slightly larger so that the original book color is covered up. If you are using the 19″ x 25″ paper, cut the paper on the long side so that you end up with a sheet that is the size of the book plus about 3″ to 4″ for the flaps at the front and back of the book — for example, 9″ tall by 19″ long. Cut one jacket of white paper and one of pink paper for each book. Do not discard the extra paper; we will use at least some of the white paper for a book band, and you can use the other scraps to practice shape cutting.

3. Fold the jackets around the books.

Before you start folding, it’s helpful to pencil a number discreetly on each book and jacket so you know which jackets go with which book. Place each book in the center of the jacket you have cut in order to fold the jacket around it. Start with the white jacket. Before folding the jacket around the front and back cover, “score” the jacket along the book edges; this will help with achieving a nice clean fold. When you make the second fold, you will want to leave a little extra room. If the jacket is folded too tightly, it won’t allow the book to close completely. You may need to give the top jacket — the pink one — even more breathing room to allow the book to open and close smoothly.

4. Cut the heart shapes on the pink jackets.

Take the pink jackets off the books. There should be a nice visible fold showing the width of the spine. Now, using your ruler and pencil, mark a spot that is in the middle of the spine width, at the same height across for all four of the book jackets. I used 6″ from the bottom of the jacket to measure to the middle top of the heart. Every book may be a different height, so it is important to measure from the bottom for the hearts to align. Working on one pink jacket at a time, align the smallest Fiskars Heart from the template (1″ wide) with your pencil mark. Holding the template firmly in place, use the Fiskars Shape Cutter to cut out the heart. If you do not have the Fiskars tools, you can easily draw the heart shape, then cut it out with an X-Acto knife. Try practicing on the paper scraps you generated earlier if desired.

5. Write L-O-V-E letters.

Once all four of the heart shapes are cut out of the jackets, put the pink jackets back on the books so that the underlying white jackets show through. Then, using your red marker, write one letter in each opening on the white paper that shows through the heart shapes. If your books are different sizes, just make sure you have the order you will want to display them in before you write the letters.

6. Make the book band.

Using some of the white paper scraps generated in the second step, you can make a book band to wrap around all four books and present them as a set along with your gift message. To wrap around four books, you will likely need a 25″ piece of paper that is about 1.5″ wide. Depending on the paper size you started with, you may need to tape or glue two scraps together. Once you have the 1.5″ x 25″ paper, line it up so that you can see where the visible portion will be on the spine — usually it’s nice to have the paper taped or glued to itself on the back cover of the books. Write your gift message on the book band. Then attach the book band to itself with double-sided tape or a few drops of glue. The book band should be nice and tight so that it holds the books together securely.

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