This post is sponsored by HarperCollins. DIY book cover tutorial and all opinions are mine.

Make DIY book covers from party bags

First grade is such an exciting year! For all my kids, it’s been that year that they REALLY GET IT when it comes to reading. All the pre-work we did finally clicks and they get excited about books! I think that’s why I always get excited for friends and team members who have first graders.

I always recommend the I Can Read! series from HarperCollins for new readers. They are organized into easy levels (Level 1 works particularly well for incoming first graders!) and they feature familiar characters to make reading extra fun – like Amelia Bedelia, Fancy Nancy, and Biscuit!

My kids adored these books and gobbled them up and I have had so much fun sharing them with our team members. They are easy to digest for the kids and great stories that I don’t mind reading for all those read-out-loud evening hours you are about to commit to hearing.

Why do you need book covers on little kids books?

First grade is also that last year before my kids really started to think about things like washing the brownies off their hands before grabbing their books. Which is why I made an entire bookcase worth of decorative book covers to cover all their favorite reading books.

Using DIY book covers allows me to encourage all the excitement of reading whenever we have young readers around, without leaving a mess on all the books. They are like book jackets from the rain of 1st graders messy hands. ;)

So we took our new I Can Read! books and created decorative covers to keep them clean. Check out the tutorial below, and don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post for your chance to win to your own I Can Read! collection.

Decorate book jacket paper
DIY book cover from a party bag supply list

To make the DIY book covers you will need:

  • Left over gift/party bags
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Ruler

How to make an old fashion book cover

How to make decorative book cover paper from a party bag

Step 1. Cut the gift bag so it can lay flat. Any gift bag will do here and if you’re gift bag is smaller than the DIY book cover you are wanting to make, simply cut down one side and lay the entire thing out flat before beginning.

Step 2. On the back side of the bag (inside), lay the cover of your book toward the left side of the bag and trace around all four sides, then the spine, then the back side of the book.

Step 3. Using a ruler, draw an 1” outline around the traces book outline.

DIY Book Cover Step 1

Step 4. Using a ruler, draw a 90 degree line at each corner and at each point of the spine.

Step 5. Cut along the outlines.

Step 6. Fold along the inner pencil lines.

To finish off your DIY book cover from a party bag, place the book on the cover and tape at the inside corners.

*Tip: Because we are covering a few books at once that are the same size we used a paper bag to create a template that we then traced onto each gift bag so we didn’t have to measure multiple times.

DIY book cover step by step instructions

Why I’ve always loved I Can Read! Leveled Books

Widely recognized as the premier line of beginning readers, I Can Read! books are organized into color-coded levels. With hundreds of titles featuring award-winning authors and illustrators, and the most beloved character friends in the history of children’s literature, you can find books at every stage to engage and excite your child. Introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

HarperCollins also has so many resources on their website to make it even more fun for your emerging reader. Check out all the printable activities, and see 100 tips for beginning readers.

DIY book cover tutorial

I Can Read! Giveaway

We are hosting a giveaway so everyone can have fun reading without the mess! Be ready for school to start with this exciting prize! One (1) winner with a U.S. mailing address will receive:

  • A sampling of five I Can Read! books;
  • Plus a State Bags backpack!

To enter, leave a comment here or over on Instagram telling me what your favorite I Can Read! book is.

PS. For more party repurposing try making these wrapping paper envelopes.

(Photography ©A Subtle Revelry by Ashlyn Savannah Photo).