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How to Transform Books with Japanese Paper Tape

I've had this idea for quite some time now & I am so ridiculously happy with the results that I have to share them with you!

I have books.  Lots and lots (did I mention lots?) of books.  I also like to keep said books and lend them out to friends by the stack.  I also like to have my books out, but unless they are hardbacks, books can be ugly.  

I know this is an extreme example of ugly books, but it's what I am working with!

For example, as much as I love Simone de Beauvoir & Sylvia Plath, I also love me a James Patterson book des temps en temp.  I don't love the graphic, sometimes garish spine.  Usually, these books are stacked up behind everything else.  Here's why.

Not pretty.  As I mentioned before, I needed to spruce up our house for a certain photoshoot.  Even if this wasn't in the shot, I still wanted our place to look its best.  This is where Japanese Paper Tape comes in.


I purchased it at West Elm, of all places!

I chose a book and a roll of tape to get started.  Run a piece of tape along one edge of the spine, making sure to wrap part of it on the front/back so that everything that may be shown is covered.  Then, trim it along the top and bottom of the book.

Since this kind of paper tape is pretty thin, you'll have to determine how much coverage you want.  I like the sheerness of it, as it still allows me to see the title of the book.  I ended up using 3 lengths of tape for this one.  You could always use more & write the title with a metallic paint marker.

I stuck with blues and greens to coordinate with the rest of our living room and office.

So. ridiculously. easy.  I've been on a DIY crafty kick lately, as you can probably guess from the number of these types of posts (& I've got another one).  Again, this was EASY.  Perhaps because I had a little helper?

Okay, now it's time to see a side by side before and after of this project.  Such a difference!

As I mentioned yesterday, I tend to not follow through with my grandiose crafting aspirations.  However, I wanted to get our home in tip-top shape & on a budget.  So, I played around with a few different setups for the top shelf until I found something I liked. 

When I see these pictures, I can't believe I let the hideousness go on for so long.  Yikes!  I cleaned off the other shelves and pulled out books, picture frames, photo books and other small items that coordinate (& contrast!) with the space. 

Now, if only I could muster up the crafty/organizational energy to tackle this beast...hmm, maybe tomorrow :) 

I previously blogged about my favorite Japanese Paper Tape projects that I found across the web (you can find that post here!).  I am excited to add to the list!

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Reader Comments (7)

Love it! I used the Japanese paper tape on vases for our simple and fun. Love seeing them on the books!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Hey - that looks AWESOME! We also have a TON of books. I've got my books in the living room organized by color. It isn't that practical for finding a book, but it helps keep it looking neat. I love this idea for upping the style factor of not so pretty spines. Being in graduate student I have a ton of textbooks that could really be helped by this! One question though - do you think you can you peel the tape off without damaging the spine?

Thanks for the great idea!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarried in Chicago

MIC - yes, you can definitely peel it off! It is a very light stick :)

January 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterKristin

Your shelves look great Kristin!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom

Great job! Makes me want to come over and organize with you:)

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis

I need the help, Alexis!! I don't even know where to start with that madness...

Thanks Mom :)

January 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterKristin

Love this. I may have to try it when I get back.

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

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