Learn how to make vintage-style book covers using Cricut Foil Transfer Kit and Cricut Maker with this easy tutorial.
I love to buy books, especially home decor books, but I also love the look of a clean neutral color palette. When I recently remodeled our primary bedroom, I wanted to make sure I had a good stash of books near my seating area so I could pick one up to flip through during Tech Free Afternoon Tea.
I lined them all up on the shelf, but the various colors of spines were really throwing off the neutral vibe of the bookshelf. So I put them in a basket to tone down the color clash, but it still just didn’t feel right. But then a vintage book in my living room sparked some major inspiration, and I raced to my studio to create something amazing.
I had the idea to use textured cardstock paper and Cricut foil to recreate the look of those gorgeous minimal fabric book covers from way back in the 1920s. I had never used the Cricut Foil Transfer Kit before, so I was a little intimidated. But after a few test runs, I got the hang of it really quickly. Here’s how I gave modern books a classic vibe with just an hour in my craft room.
Supplies For Vintage-Inspired Book Covers
- Cricut Maker (original or Maker 3) or Explore (Air 2 or Explore 3) *this project will not work with Cricut Joy
- Cricut Foil Transfer Kit
- Gold Cricut Foil Transfer Sheets in 12×12 (tape is included)
- Cricut Cardstock Neutral Sampler in 12×24
- Light Grip Mat 12×24
- Cricut True Control Knife (or other cutting knife)
- Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- Cricut Scoring Stylus Tool (or a rounded pen)
Creating Your Book Spine Titles In Cricut Design Space
First, measure the spine of the books you’ll be covering. Then hop into Design Space and add a text box. Type the title of the book, and the author if you’d like. I wanted to keep mine pretty minimal so I only added the author’s last name.
Adjust the sizing to complement the book spine. I wanted all mine to be uniform, so I typed the longest title first, adjusted it to fit the longest book spine, and made all other titles the same font size.
Since this is a vintage-inspired book spine, I chose a classic font to fit the look. Any serif font (letters with little feet on them) will work well. I used William Normal font.
Now highlight your text box, open the Operation drop-down menu in the top toolbar, and choose Foil (under the Draw section). Then select Medium.
To save you a little time with formatting, you can snag my template here and just edit the titles and authors as needed.
Setting Up The Mat And Machine
Start by putting a sheet of 12×24 textured cardstock on a LightGrip mat. Cut a strip of Foil Transfer Sheet and tape it down the middle of the cardstock. Pull the foil tightly when taping it down so it’s nice and taut. If it’s too loose, the transfer will be jagged. Note where the strip is on the mat. You’ll need that measurement for the next step.
Place the Medium Foil Transfer Tool into clamp B. (The Medium size has two rings around the bottom)
Adjusting Text In Design Space Pre-Cut Preview
Once you click Make It, you’ll see the Mat Preview page. We need to make a few adjustments in order to get the titles to transfer where you want them.
Start by changing the mat size to 12×24.
Click a title on the mat, then click the three dots in the left corner of the text box. Choose “Move”, then select “New”. You’ll need to pick a material color; just check the “current” box.
Now that title has its own separate mat. Don’t forget to change that mat to 12×24 size, then repeat to get all titles onto their own separate mats.
The last step is moving the book titles to the exact locations you placed your foil strips on the mat. Just drag it to the grid measurements that match up with your mat.
Do A Few Test Runs First
If you’ve never used Cricut’s Foil Transfer Kit before, I highly recommend doing a couple of test projects on the small pieces that come with the toolkit. I did this and messed up on the first two, so it was super smart to test it out and get in the swing of things before making my actual project and ruining materials.
How The Cricut Foil Transfer Process Works
The Cricut Foil Transfer Tool presses down on the foil sheet to imprint it onto your paper. After the transfer process, you just peel the foil off and the words are magically on your cardstock.
You can even reuse the tape for another foil transfer. I got three uses out of the tape and made five books, so I didn’t have to go through a ton of tape.
Flip the mat over and pull it away from the paper, keeping the paper flat on the table with your hand. Avoid pulling the paper, because that will make it bend and curl, and it won’t sit flat on your book.
Turning Cardstock Into A Book Cover
Now that you transferred your titles to cardstock, it’s time to turn them into an actual book cover. Start by standing the book up on its spine over the foil title. Make sure it’s aligned correctly. Using a pencil or the scoring stylus, mark where the end of the book is.
Using a long ruler and Cricut TrueControl Knife, trim the cardstock to fit the length of the book. Don’t worry about trimming the sides right now.
Align the spine of the book onto the trimmed cardstock again, and double check your title’s alignment. Using the scoring stylus, score a fold line on the cardstock on both sides of the book spine. Go over that line a few times. Follow the score lines to fold the paper inward, then outward, to get a nice clean fold line.
Insert the book into the spine folds, then use the scoring stylus again to create your fold lines for the front and back of the book. Next, fold the paper into the front and back covers of the book. Trim if necessary.
Finally, use the scoring stylus gently to score the indent beside the spine on the front and back. I carefully and loosely pressed the indent once with the scoring stylus tip angled, then laid the stylus on its side and slid it back and forth.
**That last step really makes it look more like a book and less like some paper wrapped around something, so don’t skip it.
How The Covered Books Look On My Shelves
Just look at the difference! They look so cohesive and classic and make the shelves look clean and uncluttered. Same amount of books—same books, actually—but it’s a whole different feel.
And I’m obsessed with the texture of the cardstock paired with the gold foil text on the spine. It really looks like a vintage collection of books I picked up from an antique store.
This project took a bit of time to pull off, but the results are so amazing. I started with five just to get the hang of it, but I’m already planning to cover a bunch more soon. I’m also excited about making special color schemes for the holidays.
If you make these, I’d love to see how yours turn out and how they complement your own shelf decor. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @lelaburris so I can see! You can also watch a Reel video of my entire creation process there. And head over to this page to see all the other Cricut projects I’ve made for more inspo.