Back to School

Summer’s winding down here in North Carolina, and it’s time to get ready for the fall term with new notebooks, book bags, and a little bit of creative inspiration. Whether you’re sending kids off to school, or want some fresh ideas for your own workspace or creative space, join us all month long in August for school-themed projects from some of our friends in the crafting community. To kick things off, Caitlin Topham, designer of beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts at Salty Oat, shows us how to design custom book plates with Spoonflower’s Woven Peel and Stick Wallpaper. DIY school is in session! 


DIY Bookplates with Spoonflower

I think it’s time for the underrated bookplate to stage a comeback. These old-school labels are the perfect way to personalize a book for a new baby, organize your personal library, see who owned a book before you, or label your child’s schoolbooks in the fall. And if you print bookplates on Spoonflower’s Woven Peel and stick Wallpaper, you can simply peel them off at the end of the school year!

finished plate

There are lots of great, free printable bookplate designs available online, which you could upload to Spoonflower and print for your own personal use, but I think it’s fun, and easy, to create your own custom bookplates. Below is a quick tutorial on how to make your own!
To make your own custom bookplates, start by creating a new file in Adobe Photoshop that’s 3” wide, 5” tall, and has a resolution of 150 dpi.


Next, decide on the pattern/design/image that you would like to feature in your bookplate and save it to your computer. There are lots of great resources for patterns that can be used for personal use, including books like Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross, Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora by Djerba Goldfinger, and V&A Pattern: Novelty Patterns, Garden Florals, Owen Jones and Kimono. You can also upload a favorite photo or a child’s drawing. Just be sure that whatever image you select, make sure you’re using it only what it’s intended for (i.e., don’t make images for sale that don’t belong to you). For my bookplates, I selected patterns from Heather Ross Prints and Reprodepot.
To insert the design into your Photoshop file, select “File” and then “Open” and then select the image you’d like to use from your computer. The file will open in a new window in Photoshop. If you’re using an existing pattern, you may need to resize it so that it fits within the bookplate’s dimensions and is 150 dpi. You can adjust this by selecting “Image” and then “Image Size…”

Photoshop pattern

Next, select the image, copy it, and then paste it into your 3” x 5” blank bookplate file.

text box

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, select a 3” x 2” rectangle at the bottom of the bookplate (using the rulers along the edge of the screen as your guide) and hit delete, leaving a white space in the lower section of the bookplate.


Finally, add your text in your favorite font with the Horizontal Type Tool. “Ex Libris,” “This book belongs to,” and “From the library of,” are all phrases commonly printed on bookplates. You can include the book owner’s name as well, or you can leave it blank to be filled in later.

printed bookplates

When you’re happy with your design, merge all of the layers (select “Layer” and then “Merge Visible”), save as a JPG, and then upload to Spoonflower and print on decal.

cut bookplates

Trim your bookplates using a rotary cutter and ruler, and they’re ready to use! Tie them up in a pretty stack to give as a gift or stick them right in your books. We’ll be using this pretty stack for the craft and sewing books in the Spoonflower library!


Greenhouse books

Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!

About Our Guest Blogger

8241021139_45a58305c4_oCaitlin is the maker and blogger responsible

for the beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts
over at Salty Oat. She can usually be found 
blogging or quilting in her home studio.