Waste Not, Want Not

Repurposed Book Jackets – Still full of good information!

Each year the school (insert here: preschool, elementary school, middle school) holds a book fair to raise funds.  And many times people buy books for the classroom, and the teachers don’t want the paper dust jackets on the hardback books.  Looking at all those beautiful covers go to the trash got me thinking.  What could be made with them?  The paper is high quality, and the colors are bright and happy.  And it was free!  So I could experiment without guilt.

(Do you get a lot of guilt when you cut your paper?  I sure do.)

I made envelopes.   I gave these out as holiday gifts to elementary through teens last year, and to my surprise, all age groups thought they were   “really cool and a little weird” as one tween put it.  So I’d say it was a go.

Multiple Envelopes from the same dust cover

Make a simple pattern modified from another envelope.  Using simple shapes, you can quickly build this in your software.  Take the envelope and unfolded it so it is flat.  Take the measurements and draw the outside edges that will be cut all the way through.    This becames layer one (or color 1).  Next  create another layer (or color 2) for the folds where you will score.  Once this basic design is created, it can be scaled to make any size envelope you want.  Since the inside card size (in my case a plain piece of card stock) is controlled by you as well, you can make any size envelope you want as dictated by the size of your dust jacket paper.

Now to the cutter.  Cut and score using the same knife blade at the same depth.  This saves time and makes the project easy.  Change the force or pressure depending upon if the cut will be a through cut or a score cut.

Place your paper print side up.  Your score cuts should be on the outside when the fold is made.  You will find that cutting the score lines first keeps your paper anchored in place.  So cut score lines (layer 2 or color 2) first, using about ¼ the normal pressure needed to do a through cut.  That means, if you set your pressure or knife force at 80 for a through cut, set it at 20 to do your score cut.  You can play around from there and make more pressure if you need to.  Once your score cuts are done, disable your layer 2 or color 2; and make your through cuts from layer1/color 1.

To assemble your envelope, use some double sided tape.  For the top flap of the envelope, again use double sided tape, but leave the paper on one side (see photo).

Back of Envelope showing tape

Cut your card to fit inside, and include some peel off labels that can be affixed to the envelope for the address.

You’ve most likely thought of four or five things that you could make from dust jackets by now.  Leave a note below and share your thoughts on what you’d make.  I’ve still got a lot more dust jackets to play with and could use your thoughtful creativity!

22 thoughts on “Waste Not, Want Not

  1. I love your project, I am always looking for ways to recycle things. There is so much waste out there. Your project has definitely inspired me!!!

  2. NOW you think of this! As a former elementary school librarian, I have thrown away many dust jackets. If only I had been as creative as you! I gave many to the teachers to use on their bulletin boards. But this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a nifty idea…I wonder if you could use old cards similarily (made up my own word)….

  4. This is very clever. I don’t get to do stuff like this as my children are all above school age, but I have grandkids and it won’t be long until they will be school age.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Very very cool idea. I just love to repurpose paper, especially colorful good looking stuff. My eyes will be on the lookout for this source of colorful paper.

  6. What a great way to recycle book jackets. I’m sure anyone would appreciate the envelopes. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing.

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