How to Spray Book Edges: 7 Easy Steps

Books

I’m a sucker for a beautiful book, and one of the key things that makes a beautiful book is sprayed or painted edges. These special editions can go for hundreds of dollars. No shade if you’ve done this; I’m also guilty. Today, I will tell you how to spray book edges on your own. It’s time to flex your creative muscles and save some money by making your own painted edges.

It’s all fair game: hardcover, paperback, journals, coffee table books.

If this is your first-time spray painting your book edges, you may want to start with a book you wouldn’t mind “screwing up.” It also may be wise to keep it simple. Ombre and stencils are bomb but can be tricky if it’s your first time.

Let’s talk supplies.

Obviously, there is more than one way to do this. But some of the baseline items you’ll need are:

  • Paint of choice: You can either use paintbrushes with acrylic paint (Apple Barrel is frequently mentioned as a top choice) or spray paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Tape + Scrap Paper
  • Weight or clamp
  • And any materials to protect your working area

Okay — let’s get started!

Step 1: Remove the Dust Jacket (from Hardcovers)

Self-explanatory, but this will keep your covers clean!

Step 2: Wrap Book

Use scrap paper and tape to wrap your book like a present. If you’re using the paintbrush method, you may only need to tape the edges of the covers to protect your book. Preferably something easy to remove, like painter’s tape or washi tape.

STEP 3: WEIGH BOOK DOWN

To avoid paint dripping into the book, you’ll need something that will keep your pages tightly bound. You can use anything from a heavier book, a book press, handheld weights, wood blocks — the sky’s the limit.

STEP 4: PAINT

If you’re using paint + paintbrushes…go in using dry brushes! Any water will cause your book pages to buckle. You’re likely going to be doing several thin layers of paint, so don’t use paintbrushes that you have attachments to. Allow each layer to completely dry before starting a new one.

Pro Tip: You’ll use less paint than expected, so tread lightly.

If you’re using spray paint…go in short, quick bursts vs. holding down the nozzle and going to town. You don’t want to drench your book in the paint. You’ll want to be outside or in a very well-ventilated area.

STEP 5: LET DRY COMPLETELY, waiting AT LEAST 30 MINUTES.

STEP 6: UNWRAP + SEPARATE

Carefully release your book from its protective wrap and/or tape. To prevent pages from sticking together, slightly bend your pages (as pictured) to naturally separate them. You’ll also want to flip through the entire book to check for stuck pages — you can do this while reading the book, or you can do it at your leisure. This will also help ensure large blocks of pages aren’t stuck together.

It pretty much goes without saying, but a light hand is best here.

STEP 7: REPLACE DUST JACKET + ENJOY!

You’ve done it! Show off your beautiful new books.


If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these ideas and these stunning books for sale on Etsy.

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