Over the summer I spoke a lot about wrapping books for the library on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, here, church, the supermarket…anywhere there was an ear and a platform, basically.
It didn’t occur to me that some people wouldn’t know what I meant when I said I was wrapping hundreds of books. A few people thought I was setting up a blind date with a book program, one friend, who gives me way too much credit, thought I was wrapping them up for a giant “Christmas in August” book party with the students. Still other people thought I was wrapping everything in brown paper like regular textbooks.
In reality, I was wrapping new paperbacks with laminate so they last longer. I mentioned that in a comment somewhere (the problem with whining in so many venues), and then moved on to complain about something that was more inclusive and allowed everyone to coddle me like a baby koala bear with a broken paw.
Only yesterday did it occur to me that wrapping books with laminate is someone everyone should try, especially if you have little ones. The books I could have saved from Nico’s gummy mouth!
Here is how I taught myself to do it last year, when one too many Goosebumps books crumbled into a fine dust in my hands. There may be other, better tutorials out there, but this is my method.
Lots of pictures with this one! Let’s get started.
Grab a book you want to wrap. It’s okay if it looks tattered beyond repair! The laminate won’t make it look new, but it will keep it from breaking down more and it will look slightly more presentable. In this case, I’m wrapping a book I read at the pool all summer (Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran). It has water damage and a minimally frayed cover.
The first thing you will need is book laminate. For the library, I use Demco CircExtender Laminate. It creates a permanent bond 6-24 hours after application.
PROS: permanent, strong, matte finish, rolls come in multiple sizes
CONS: may be difficult to work with (you get used to it), bubbles are difficult to remove, extremely tacky, requires trial and error, cost, availability
This is the laminate I prefer, but I’ve wrapped enough books that I can do it in my sleep. I rarely have to reposition a book once I set it on the laminate, and that’s key with this brand. They say you can reposition it, but they are liars. I can only find this laminate online, so that’s an issue.
While I was still figuring out my technique, I used clear Contact paper, which is far more user friendly and available in small rolls at Staples and Target.
- PROS: price, availability, easy to apply and forgiving of mistakes, completely reposition-able, matte finish.
CONS: not permanent, may require taped ends for secure application, not as sturdy, more expensive in store unless you buy it in bulk online or through business catalogs
Cut out the laminate.
Most chapter books will require between 12″-14″ of wrap (12-14 squares). You want an inch or more of laminate all around your book.
I remove all the paper backing and place the book on top, but in the beginning I removed only half of it, like you see in the pictures. I removed the paper as I went, almost like applying a band-aid.
Roll Book Onto Laminate
This is the best way I can explain it, but I had Mikey take a million pictures of the process for reference. Keeping in mind your 1″ border, you place the edge of the book down onto the laminate and then roll the rest of the book on. You do this to avoid air bubbles. If you place the book down flat, air bubbles are guaranteed. Once I roll on the book, I put pressure on it and smooth it out like you would a tablecloth. I have no idea if this prevents air bubbles, but it’s habit now.
Note that I have removed only 1/2 of the paper backing.
At this point, before I move on to the next step, I flip the book over once and check for air bubbles. I smooth out those I see, just like I would if applying wallpaper.
Apply Laminate to Back
Remove the rest of the paper backing (if you haven’t already), flip the book over, and firmly tug the laminate over the spine of the book. Then beginning smoothing the laminate onto the backside of the book, almost like a reverse of the “roll” step above. Watch for air bubbles.
Smooth down laminate.
Using a bone folder, squeegee, credit card, ruler, etc., smooth out the laminate. In some cases, you’ll be smoothing out air bubbles. In this case, I was just making sure the laminate had a nice, strong bond to the book.
Cut the corners off the laminate, including those by the spine. This is the part some people find confusing. Even at the spine, you are cutting at an angle to create mitered corners. You can use straight cuts, but it will make wrapping the book harder. Also, your end product won’t look as nice.
Wrap laminate around book.
Hopefully these last two pictures show why mitered corners will make your life easier as you wrap the interior of the book with laminate. Tug firmly so that the laminate is flush with the edges of the cover, then smooth onto book.
That’s it! Done! I should have done this before I read it for two months at swim practice, but there you go.