Faux Leather Paper Spell Book Halloween Tutorial
September 18, 2019
Finished faux leather spell book

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book tutorial

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book Halloween Tutorial

I needed a Faux leather paper spell book tutorial for my friend who runs a local Wizarding Academy. The trick was it needed to be easy enough for 150 children between the ages of 7-12 year olds to complete on their own.

This is not intended to be a professional looking leather bound book, but I was pretty pleased at the results on my dollar store composition book! So pleased I'll be trying out on another book really soon.

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book How To 

Faux leather paper spell book supplies

Faux Leather Paper Supplies

  • Composition notebook
  • Kraft paper or brown paper grocery bag
  • 2 sheets cardstock in desired color for inside covers
  • School glue
  • Brown Paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Mod Podge to seal it up

Step 1: Measure and Cut Inside Cover

Trace the cover onto black cardstock

The very first thing to do is to create a template of your inside cover BEFORE it starts to get messy. Place the carstock inside the book so it's tight against the spine. Use a pencil to trace the cover. Cut along the pencil line then use a paper cutter to trim a tiny bit {like 1/8″} off the straight back.

Step 2: Prepare Your Surface & Paper

Tear pieces of paper to fit on cover

This is a messy craft so make sure to prepare your surface with a drop cloth or an extra piece of kraft paper like I did.

Then you'll want to tear pieces of paper that about the size shown above. Much bigger and the glue dries before you can get to it. Smaller and you'll have tons of seams to try and cover.

Step 3: Paint Cover with Glue

Add a thick layer of glue to cover

Starting with a corner apply glue liberally to a small section the size of your torn paper pieces. You'll need to work on one area at a time or the glue will dry.

Slide paper on glue to create wrinkles.

Place the piece of torn paper on top making sure to overlap the edges a bit. Then see if it can slide. If it sticks, add more glue. As you slide the paper use your fingers to smush and create folds in the paper. The smaller the folds the more realistic the leather looks. Large folds like these are easier for kids but make sure you press the air out of them.

Step 4: Cover Spine

Once you finish the cover, wrap paper around the spine and continue to side two. Open it up flat if possible to allow the front to dry as you work.

Step 5: Continue Adding Paper

Wrinkle the paper onto the surface of notebook

Keep adding pieces of paper, crinkling as you go. Glue down any loose edges, especially where the pieces overlap. You want all the paper stuck down tight. Finish up the back cover and let dry.

Step 6: Spell Book Finished Edges

Glue paper at edges for a clean look

Now that the outside is dry, turn your book over and glue the paper on the edges.

Wrap the spell book edges with paper

Press it down well making sure the edge is smooth and no wrinkles this time. You may have to fold the paper a bit to get those nice rounded corners. Let dry and do the other side.

Step 7: Paint & Seal

You can go through this video tutorial with terrible audio for a start to finish. Skip to 6:35 to see the final painting and finishing steps.

Now it's time for paint. For the first pass use a dark chocolate brown paint and dry brush the ridges, getting into the side creases. This helps gives added depth. To dry brush use very little paint on a dry paint brush and sweep in over the tops. We are NOT painting the whole thing at this time.

Let it dry and then stir some paint into your mod podge and paint over the entire thing. Really use that foam brush to press into the cracks so there's no dry paper left. This will seal your cover and make it strong.

If you'd like to add more distressing you can go over it in areas with additional brown paint and blot off the excess.

Step 8: Glue Inside Cover

Once the whole thing is dry you can apply the inside cover piece. Since you followed the directions and cut those first you should be ready to go! You'll notice it's the same size as the cover and hides all those nice finished edges you just did.

Inside cover finished in black cardstock

Now's the time to go back to the paper trimmer and slice just a tiny bit off the top, bottom, and back straight edge. You'll probably need to smooth out the corners again just a little bit with your scissors. Then paint the whole inside cover with glue and apply the paper smoothing it out with wide stroked to remove any air bubbles.

Let it dry and repeat on the other side.

Enjoy Your Finished Faux Leather Paper Spell Book

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book tutorial

I have to admit that this little dollar store composition book transformation surprised even me. It's pretty fun when something turns out better than you expected!

Side note: This project was originally inspired by the journal of Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. To finish the job add some silver corners and a name plate for a fabulous Harry Potter party prop, activity, or even favor. Creating a journal of their very own may encourage young writers to record some thoughts. Who knows, it might even inspire the next J.K. Rowling!

All the Witchy Details

Faux leather bound journal tutorial

Get kids even more excited to write with a fun Halloween inspired pen. We love these witch broom and blood red syringe pens. They might even make homework a little more exciting.

Have Technique Will Travel

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book tutorial

Ok, so while I'm not going on a faux leather paper tour anytime soon…now that you know the tricks, you can use this technique on anything to give it an aged vintage leather look. I'm working on a full size faux leather paper spell book right now that I'll share a little later on and I'd love to see it if you try as well.

Follow us and tag @partieswithacause on Facebook and Instagram

Then Pin it for Later

Faux Leather Paper Spell Book tutorial

More DIY Halloween Decor 

bleeding candle for halloween

For more fun Halloween decor ideas Jordan has a cool tutorial for Easy Bleeding Candle Halloween Decorations on Jordan's Easy Entertaining. Candles add so much ambiance to a dinner party and these bleeding candles will have guests wondering all night how you did it!

DIY Halloween branches

And Sarina brought us these cool DIY Spooky Halloween Tree Branches from Joy in the Commonplace. I love using branches as decor for any season and these black ones are perfect for Halloween.

Please join us again tomorrow for Day 7 and Halloween Home Decor ideas.

If you’re just joining us on the 13 Days of Halloween Inspiration here’s what you missed:

Until tomorrow my friends,


  1. Holly Hulke

    I love how spooky this turned out! It totally looks like leather!

  2. Susan-Sugarpartiesla

    This is genius ! What a great and inexpensive way to diy.

  3. Jordan Hansen

    What a fun project and I NEED one of those syringe pens! Loved your video 🙂

  4. Lori

    What an AMAZING transformation!! I love this one so much!! And it’s so affordable too!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Nice To Meet You!

Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

As Seen On


I love it when you share! Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of Parties With A Cause. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. All free printables offered are for personal use only. Purchased printables will come with their own terms of use. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated! Thank you!

Pin It on Pinterest