So you are going to a Re-enactment or are going to sit around some historic site for hours on end and want something to pass the time. A good book might be the answer but you just don't want to read an Army manual or dull bit of classic literature.  What you really want to read is a trashy paperback but you don't want to look out of place or well, trashy. What you need to do is hide your book in plain sight, you need to defarb your book.
  It is easy and here is a not quite authentic way to make your new book look like it belongs. If the directions are confusing just ignore them and look at the pictures and you will get the idea. It took me 1/2 an hour and I was taking photos.

   A book
   Some cloth, about twice the size of the book opened.
   Needle and thread
   Cardboard (pizza box, all re-enactors have a pizza box)
   Pencil or pen
   Duct tape (the most useful stuff ever made)
   Other stuff in the photo for people that like to measure and mark

  Find the stuff, buy what you can't find even though you know you have it some place.

  Eat the pizza.

  Lay the book on the pizza box (find a clean spot) and trace around it, twice.

  Cut out the two book sized pieces.

  Put tape on one edge of one piece of cardboard as shown in picture.

  Put book on top of this and then the second piece of cardboard on top of the book.

  Fold tape around the top as shown.

  Open this up and add more tape as shown so that when done the two pieces of cardboard are taped together and there is no sticky side of tape exposed.
The tape takes the place of the spine of a hardcover book.

Lay the cardboard on the cloth and you can measure if you want. You need about half the width and height extra around the edges.

Cut two slices top and bottom for the spine area, see the photo, this is the only tricky part and it isn't that tricky if you look at the photo.

Fold these two narrow bits down and lay the book on the cardboard. When done the narrow bits will be between the book and cardboard in the spine of the book area.

Fold the rest of the cloth over the book and cardboard so it is inside the book cover like a dust jacket on a better book.

I did it like the photo but you can do it how you want as you can see in the photos of the old books there is no right way.

Sew the cloth up tight enough to hold but not so tight as to bend the book.

I had to flatten the book under a heavy dictionary to get it to lay flat.

Enjoy your book and ignore people that ask what you are reading.

Historical examples:

  The three books shown have been covered in this way (no pizza box as they are hard cover books) only one of the three is neatly done. You don't have to be very good at this to get usable results and still be correct.

Copyright 2009 Boyd Miles


Defarbing a Book

In a Farby Way
All the photos are below so you can read the directions while they are loading.

If you want to reprint this you must give me credit and a link to email me.
The photos should be in order with a few at the end of old books that had this type of cover.
You can use about any fabric, I had some very close to one of the antique books but you can use whatever you have. As this is forgiving or error it is a good first sewing project.
Stuff you might need, I didn't use it all but you might.
Trace around the book, twice, one for front and one for back, that makes two.
Cut out the cardboard but don't use good sewing scissors. You should have two (2) pieces about the same size as the book.
The first bits of tape
Place the book on the bit of cardboard you just taped.
Put the other piece of cardboard on top of the book, you did cut out two didn't you?
Fold the tape over the cardboard but try not to tape the book. Unless you are a blind monkey you should be able to do this without a lot of effort but if you can't just go ahead and quit now as this is not the tricky part.
Set your book out of the way so you can do some more taping without getting the book stuck.
A bit of tape going up and down.
Flip it all over, Pizza Hut only prints one side of the box top so it makes it easier to follow these directions.
Another up and down strip but this one is longer than you would need but there is a reason so just do it like the photo.
Flip it back over and fold the extra tape down. This makes it nice and neat with no sticky bits.
Place the cover on the cloth, youcan measure at this point or just kind of guess. You need to be about half (1/2) again as wide and tall so when you fold it in most of the inside cover is covered.
Cloth is cut to size and if I had ironed it there would have been less trouble doing the next steps.
The tricky bit, you might need a helper monky for this.
Cut strips down to the cardboard (well at this point it would be tape not cardboard) the width of the spine of the book. Then fold them down. You could sew or tape them in place if you are really bothered but it isn't needed.
The book is back and here to stay.
Open the book but try not to break it, old paper back books will break very easily.
Fold the cloth in over the inside cover, I didn't like this fold so I did it more like the next photo.
Both sides folded and ready to sew.
Sew it up, you can google how to sew if you don't know how. The stiches are very long and not very well done but for this project that is fine.
Done but won't lay flat.
I do have a book press but you might not so I did it like this to make you feel better.
Old books with old covers. one is a light canvas the other two are like the cloth I used.
Not even done as well as mine.
Very long stiches and closer stiches up the edge but not the kind of work you would want to show off. You rarely see stiching this bad outside of uberkewl kit worn by sutler row rangers.
This one was done by some little priss that was showing off, the edges have worn off as the fabric is thin but it was well done when new.
As it is a custom fit you could use the same method to do any size book, Civil War for Dummies or a Sudoku book come to mind. If made for an average sized paperback novel then you can slip it off one and use it on another.
A hard back book of course is the same without having to cut up a pizza box so you can read "Where's My Cow" in camp with nobody knowing what you have unless they are lip readers.

Will you use these instructions?