If your kids go to Catholic school, contact paper is ALWAYS first on your back to school list. Catholic school teachers insist on having everything covered in contact paper – books, workbooks and folders. With 4 kids in Catholic school, I usually need at least 10 rolls of contact paper to get the job done.
Covering school books with contact paper sounds pretty easy, until you have 4 kids with 10 books each needing their books covered by the end of the first week of school. Every year I swear I will hire someone to cover the books for me. That is something I would pay for, no matter what.
Despite my yearly complaining to friends and Facebook friends, I’ve gotten my contact paper covering down to a routine. Once you’ve done a few books, you learn the best ways to get the job done quickly.
The only drawback to Con-Tact paper is the lack of stickiness over time. The edge of the paper will start to pull away from the books. When this happens, I cover the edge with packing tape.
Make sure you have a clean (no crumbs, hair, etc.) place to work that’s at least 3 feet in width. I usually work at my dining room table where I have lots of light.
Unroll the contact paper and place your book on top. I like to place the book with the front side down about 2 inches in from the right side of the contact paper. Then, I flip the book over to the left without lifting it off the contact paper. The front cover will be showing after you flip the book. I cut 2 inches away from the left edge of the book.
Tip for Books with Thick Spines
If you are covering a book with a spine, allow an extra inch on either side to compensate. In my experience this extra 2 inches for the width gives you some extra room when flipping from the front to the back. Otherwise the cover ends up being too tight for the book.
Take the book off the contact paper and remove the backing from the contact paper. Lay the contact paper flat on the table with the sticky side up.
Lay the book on the contact paper about 2 inches from the left with the front of the book facing the sticky part. I’ve found that if I do the front side of the book first, I can make it look the best.
To allow some give while covering the book, you will need to cut out about 1/2 inch from the bound edge of the book. When you’re done cutting you’ll have an area along the edge of the contact paper cut out in the shape of a square or rectangle. Check the picture above if you’re unsure what I mean.
I use a similar technique for the corners of the books. I make 2 angled cuts towards the corner of the book.
Once you have the front side done, flip the book over and smooth out the contact paper on the back of the book. Then cut out the corners.
Flip up the cut out pieces of contact paper on the inside of the book and smooth into place. As you can see, the contact paper is already coming off the book a little. If this happens, I immediately use packing tape to keep it in place.