I finally took the plunge and sprayed the edges of my misfit paperback of Spellslinger. It turned out so well! Come and find out the steps I took to avoid completely destroying the book, and enter my GIVEAWAY for the chance to win your own sprayed-edge copy of Spellslinger!! →
One need only have a quick scroll through the bookish community on Instagram before realising that sprayed edges are all the rage right now. And who can blame us? Sprayed edges are BEAUTIFUL! Some crazy folks have even taken the plunge and started painting their own books…and I am here to announce that I now count myself among that number. This past weekend, I finally got over my nerves and decided to give it a shot. Here’s why:
I get slightly crazy when my series don’t match, and the lack of sprayed edges on my copy of Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell was slowly but surely driving me insane. I was more than a little nervous about painting the edges myself, particularly since so few people seem to have attempted it with a paperback, but guess what? IT TURNED OUT SO WELL! I mean, my DIY sprayed pages are not perfect, but I’m so pleased with them. See?
Below, I will share with you exactly what I did to make this happen in case you decide to try it yourself. What’s even more exciting is that I have a second sprayed copy of Spellslinger which I will be GIVING AWAY FOR FREE!! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the details of how to enter!
Obtain paperback & spray paint
Obviously, the first step in this process is to decide which paperback you are going to spray. A number of others I’ve come across have used acrylic paint and a paintbrush, but I went the spray paint route. Spray paint lets you apply a very thin and even coating, which is all you really need, and it also dries super fast. I bought a can of Liquitex Spray Paint for this job. Plenty of colours available!
Tape top & bottom edges
I first came across this suggestion on this blog post here. One of the risks of spraying your own edges is the paint bleeding through, and since the covers on a paperback are the same size as the pages, taping just gives a bit of extra protection. The top and bottom of the spine was the hardest to tape, and the tape ended up overhanging the ends of the spine by 1-2mm. This was fine.
Wrap book in newspaper
I’m going to be honest here: this step is a lesson in patience, because you need to ensure that EVERY spot you don’t wish to be painted is covered up properly. As with step (2), use masking tape to fix the newspaper to the insides of the covers, as this can be removed without damaging the book. Also make sure the paper is as flat as possible, as any lumps may create spaces the paint can sneak through.
Weigh down evenly
This is critical! While spraying the edges of your book, the pages need to be compressed so that there are absolutely no spaces for the paint to sneak through. My setup is pictured here, and it actually wasn’t ideal because the pressure was a little inconsistent. I think that a couple of hardcover books wrapped in their own newspaper, or something similar, would probably be best.
Spray one edge at a time
So apparently there is actually a right and a wrong method for applying spray paint…and fortunately my dad told me of this before I started! Holding the nozzle a few inches away from the edge, spray from one end to the other in a sweeping motion. Feel free to go back and forth a few times if needed to ensure the coating is even, but the more repetitions, the thicker the paint gets!
Allow paint to fully dry
Yes, you literally have to watch the paint dry. Try not to touch the book while the paint is still wet because you don’t want to smudge it over yourself or anything else. As mentioned back in step (1), spray paint actually dries very fast. Mine was completely dry in not much more than a minute! If you try something similar with paint and a brush, it will likely take a bit longer than this.
Unwrap newspaper & tape
Again, this is a step where you need to be at your most patient. You don’t want to damage the book in your haste to get a look. Masking tape shouldn’t stick, but it’s best to move slowly and carefully, especially when peeling tape from inside the cover and from the edges of the book. Where possible, pull the tape from the inside towards the edges rather than the other way around.
Separate any stuck pages
It is possible, even likely, that some of the pages will stick together. The thicker the coating of paint you apply, the more pages will stick—trust me on this. Either way, it is a good idea to slowly leaf through the book and gently separate any of the pages which have stuck. I had a little bit of bleed-through in my copies, particularly on the first and last few pages, but otherwise it worked out so well! Voilà!
I am so excited to announce my very first online INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the fact I didn’t completely destroy two books, I will be giving away to one lucky person a paperback copy of Spellslinger with its edges sprayed red by me! The giveaway is open internationally (I will pay postage) and will close at 5pm AEDT on Tuesday 3rd December 2019. At this time, the giveaway is only being held on my Instagram, so visit the post below for how to enter!