This was a project I did with other people so not all of the photos are of the same book but they should do good enough for illustrative purposes. The original instructions can be found here: Creepy Books.
We were making books for Halloween so I chose to make a new cover for the first Harry Potter book and a second smaller book, intending to serve as "Tom Riddle's Diary," which I plan to make into a sketchbook. I decided to make a dust cover instead of working directly on the cover.
-Cardboard or bristol board.
-Paint: I used a cheap glossy acrylic.
-Paper Towels or Tissue Paper. I used paper towels with a lot of texture to give it a snakeskin look.
-Craft Glue that dries clear.
1. Open your book, making sure there are an even number of pages on each side to ensure the spine lays flat. Trace around your book leaving a 1/4 inch border around it at the top and bottom and 2-3 inches extra on the sides to make the flaps.
2. Cut out cardboard shapes and glue them to your cover. I used a tacky glue designed for use on t-shirts so the glue/water mixture in the next step wouldn't dissolve it.
3. Mix your glue with an equal amount of water. Tear up your paper towel into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Make sure you overlap your pieces and paint over them with the glue mixture.
4. Place a piece of paper towel on your cover and use a large paintbrush to brush your glue mixture over the paper towel piece. Overlap paper towel pieces and work until the cover is filled, making sure to leave 1/2 inch around the outside to overlap to the inside of the cover. If you want wrinkles in you book make sure to scrunch the paper towel pieces a little. Dry with a hairdryer or leave to dry overnight.
5. Turn your cover over and use the glue/water mixture to wrap the extra paper towel over the top and secure it to the inside. Let dry again.
6. Apply your paint. The original instructions stated to paint while the paper towel was still wet. I had much better luck letting it dry and applying a glossy paint to mimic a leather shine. Let your paint dry. If you want to include gold or silver elements, spray paint can be sprayed on plastic plate and applied with a cotton swab.
7. When dry, you can use something pointy to trace gently around your cutouts to make them stand out more against the background.
I'll do a separate post when I finish the Harry Potter book. This is an incredibly easy project and looks great. This also might have reenacting uses an alternative to the covers I normally use while reenacting.