Friday, January 11, 2019

DIY Sprayed Book Edges

Hey guys, today I'm doing something different on my blog: a DIY! Although, it is book-themed so I think it fits pretty well. For the past couple years, books with sprayed/colored edges have become super popular. A lot of book boxes have started doing them on the books they feature and some new releases are even coming with sprayed edges on the first editions! I love the look of sprayed edges but it's hard to get your hands on them without paying a lot for book boxes or trying to hunt down first editions. That's why I decided to look up how to do sprayed edges yourself!

I found a few videos and blog posts about it and decided to go ahead and try it on an extra copy of Throne of Glass that I had laying around. It turned out great and I decided I wanted to do another one. This time, I picked Vicious by V.E. Schwab and thought I'd show you how I did it!

As you can see, I have a hardcover of Vicious with the beautiful new recover. I haven't attempted sprayed edges on paperbacks, yet, but I've had success with two hardcovers now! The Vicious hardcover had these basic white edges and I figured I would do a color swap where the red cover of Vicious would have black edges and the black cover of Vengeful, the sequel, would have red edges. Let's go ahead and get into the DIY.


  • Acrylic paint
    • I've seen some people do this DIY with spray paint, but as it's currently winter where I live, spray paint isn't a feasible option. I can use acrylic paint indoors, however, and it's relatively little mess. The best acrylic paint I've found for DIY-ing book edges is Apple Barrel. It spreads nicely and doesn't leave spots, as you can see on my DIY of Throne of Glass below. I would recommend against Gloss Acrylic, though, as I experimented with that one on this DIY and it didn't turn out as well as non-Gloss. 
  • Paintbrush
    • I just got a cheap set of acrylic brushes off of Amazon for like $6 and used one of those. I have plenty of extras should anything happen or if I want to amp it up and do designs on top of the base coat. 
  • Masking tape
    • You can also use painter's tape, electrical tape, etc...any tape that won't rip the books when peeling it off. 
  • Newspaper
    • To make easy cleanup
  • Some sort of weight/clamping system
    • I used two boards and a set of four smaller bar clamps
  • Your book of choice
    • It's up to you what book you use, but this DIY is for a hardcover as I have yet to try on a paperback :) 


Step 1: You don't necessarily have to do this, but I figured it would be nice to have a little bit of newspaper or something taped down in case I got paint on my work surface. Then you want to take of the dust jacket so that you're working with the bare hardcover.

Step 2: I took a little bit of newspaper and wrapped it around the edges of the book and secured it with masking tape. I then put masking tape over the edges until the only thing coming in contact with the paint would be the masking tape and the pages. The reason I did newspaper and then masking tape is for extra protection and to protect against any ripping of the book when peeling the tape off.

Step 3: This is a super important step right here. In order for only the edges of the pages to get painted and not have the paint seep further in, the book has to be held together tightly. I find that the easiest way for me to do this is to take two boards and placed the book between them. Then I clamp each of the four corners. It doesn't have to be super tight, but enough to where the pages won't separate or get paint where you don't want. If you don't have something to clamp it with, you can always use weights on top of the book, a bunch of books in a box placed on top, etc. I just find it easiest to maneuver and paint with the boards and clamps. 

Step 4: Start painting! I put a little bit of paint on a napkin and just dipped my brush in that. For this DIY I used black paint on Vicious. I started with the biggest side and just applied a healthy coat of paint. Then I moved onto the top and bottom. 

Step 5: Look for any missed spots. There may be a few spots that were missed just because of the way the pages are cut, so I just dabbed lightly at those with a paintbrush until they were filled and then smoothed over it. I found when I used a flashlight I could really see where there were little missed spots that I missed in just the normal lighting. 

Step 6: Let it dry. Don't unclamp it because that could lead to the wet paint seeping in or a page accidentally coming lose and getting paint all over the inside cover or something. I did my DIY's at night and then let them dry and came back to them in the morning, but the paint I've been using dries pretty quickly.

(This is where if you're daring enough to add a design you can do so)

Step 7: Unclamp/unweight your book, take off all of the newspaper/tape. Then it's time to separate the pages. I've found the easiest way to start this is to take the pages and kind of bend them (see pictures). That way they're somewhat separated and all you have to do is flip through to get them the rest of the way. 

Step 8: Enjoy the aesthetic of your new sprayed edged book.

Final Product: As you can see, I used Gloss Acrylic paint and it didn't separate or come apart as easily. When I used non-Gloss (see Throne of Glass) it came apart easily and perfectly. While overall it still looks good, I think it would have looked better with regular acrylic instead of Gloss.

I hope you guys found this helpful! I was so excited the first time I did this when it turned out great. I have so many ideas about what to do next. Have any books you'd like to see me color? Let me know in the comments below! Until then, have a great 2019!


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  1. What a great DIY! I can't wait to try this!

    1. I'm glad you liked it! Good luck with your project!!!

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  3. Does the paint come off when you're reading the book? I think it'd be fun to try some designs, but I'm worried they'll get rubbed off over time.

    1. Hiya! In my experience, the paint doesn't come off if you let it dry completely!

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  7. Have you used metallic paint? Which brand do you use if you have?