Guest blogger Laurie here. I’ve hijacked Homespun Sprout to show you guys how to make a really cool creepy book. Halloween is just around the corner and these books would be a great addition to your festive decor.

I chose the book “The Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe.” Poe is notorious for the macabre, so I thought that it would be a great fit for this type of book.

Here is what we are working towards:

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Here is the original book.

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So off we go.

First, get a game plan. I knew I wanted to make something with a tombstone on it. Growing up in Massachusetts we had tons of old creepy graves to pull inspiration from. It was popular in the 1700 and 1800s to have these creepy little angels on them. Over time they would erode which made them even more spooky. I wanted to emulate that. So I drew a tomb shape on a piece of foamcore.

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Then, print out some gothic letters with the word POE.

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And cut them out.

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I then glued those to my tombstone. I also cut out my creepy angel for the top. (Somehow I forgot to take a photo of this step. But, you should end up with this:


Next, take an exacto knife and carefully cut out each letter. I cut deep enough to go through the paper part of the foam core at first.

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And then cut out all the foam. The back layer of paper is still intact. This takes some practice if you have never worked with an exacto or foamcore.

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Cut all the letters and around the creepy angel. For the angel, I didn’t gouge out all the foam. I wanted that to be a shallower relief.  Next you cut out the tombstone shape and glue it on the front of you book. It should look something like this:

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Now the fun part. Put some Mod Podge in a dish and grab an old paint brush. Tear paper towels up into little pieces. Add a layer of Mod Podge to the book, lay a piece of paper towel down, and Mod Podge on top. Essentially you are decoupaging paper towels all over you book.

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Get into all the nooks and crannies of the tomb stone, and leave enough paper towels hanging over the edge of the book. We will tuck those under once it dries.

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Don’t forget to do the spine and back as well.

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Here is where you can get really creative. (As if we aren’t being creative enough.) Take your glue gun, and add embellishments. I wanted to give the spin and front some more texture. It is hard to see in this step, but it will pop more once it is painted.

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Once that is dry, take the excess paper towels and wrap the edges.

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Next, gesso the entire thing. For those of you who don’t know what gesso is, it is basically a primer for acrylic painting. If you stretch your own canvases, you use gesso to treat the canvas (and make it white) so you can paint on it. In this instance, the gesso seals in all the paper towel and hot glue. If you don’t use gesso, paint will roll right off the hot glue, and that’s a sad day. (Also, you can now see the hot glue elements I added.)

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And a view of the spine.

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Next, I took a T-pin and used the head of it to give my creepy angel a little more definition.

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And now it is time to paint! I choose a copper color for the base. Give the whole thing a coat.

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Then, add some dark shades and lighter shades. There really isn’t a “how-to” on this part. It is mostly by look and feel. I added a little green because I wanted that ionized copper feel.


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I wanted to give this book the illusion that the copper was attached to the book with hardware (not just glued on) so I pulled out my brads. Here is what they look like:

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And I popped them in a few places on the cover.

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So you end up with something like this.

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Now it is spine time. Paint the base color first.

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Then add a little pop of color. I wanted to go for an old painted leather look so I chose a blue to highlight some areas.

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Don’t forget about the back. For this book, I kept it simple and just did a base color and some accents around the edges to give it the dirty wear marks.

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Next, I finished off the inside. You could add a decorative paper for this part, but I chose just to paint it.

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Nothing says “old book” like discolored pages. Because this book was new, the pages were super white. So, I painted them with gold paint, and then did a second pass of brown to give it some age.

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And with that, you are done! Here are a couple shots of the final. Too much for you to do? Never fear! You can buy this one. It is for sale  here while it lasts.

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