June 17, 2024

aesthetic book diy✨☁️ how to make ugly books look pretty and vintage | light academia vibes

Published May 25, 2023, 5:20 p.m. by Arrik Motley

If you're anything like me, you love books. But you also love giving your home a unique, personal touch. That's where Darling Desi comes in! Darling Desi is all about taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.

One of my favorite things to do is take old, ugly books and give them a new lease on life. It's really easy to do, and the results are always amazing. Plus, it's a great way to get that light academia vibe in your home without spending a fortune.

Here's what you'll need:

-Old, ugly books

-Paint (I like to use chalk paint)


-Mod Podge




First, you'll want to give your books a good sanding. This will help the paint adhere better and give the finished product a more vintage look. Once your books are sanded, it's time to start painting! I like to use chalk paint because it gives the books a nice matte finish. But you can use any kind of paint you like.

Once the paint is dry, it's time to mod podge. This is a really important step, so don't skip it! The mod podge will help protect your books from water damage and make them last longer.

Now it's time to add the ribbon. This is completely optional, but I think it really makes the books look pretty and unique. Just cut a length of ribbon that's long enough to wrap around the book, and glue it in place with the mod podge.

That's it! Your books are now ready to be displayed proudly on your shelves. I hope you enjoyed this little DIY project. If you try it yourself, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@darlingdesi) so I can see your beautiful work!

You may also like to read about:


hello friends

today i am going to be showing you how i

take a book with an ugly cover

and it turned it into something that

looks more vintage and pleasing to the


and just overall more aesthetic also i

recently acquired a few new books

so i figured i would do a little mini

haul right before we get into

beautifying the books also i want to say

a big thank you to skillshare for

sponsoring this video but we will get

more into that later

i do want to preface though this is not

my idea at all i learned how to do this

from kenna her channel is called

cozykitsune and

that's where i learned how to do this so

i will link her channel down below

i wasn't even going to make this video

but i've been asked so many times how i


beautify my books and i always just

refer everybody to kenna's video so i

figured i would show you

kind of how i do it and my take on it

but really i learned everything from her

video so i highly recommend checking out

her video she is the master she is so


and like i said she is where i learned

how to do this if you want to jump to

the diy for the books i will leave the

time stamps down below

in case you're not interested in this

book haul portion i am that person who

will buy a book because the cover is


which is part of the reason i'm making

this video because sometimes i don't buy

a book or i'm turned off because the

cover is ugly and i know the whole like

don't don't judge a book by its cover

but i do sometimes

so let's take a look at some of these

beautiful books oh my gosh let's

they're so good speaking of beautiful

covers i recently picked up this book it

is called

notwithstanding stories from an english


picked up this one because i love the

english countryside no secret there

essentially it's about this small

english village that's kind of

trying to stay stuck in the past they

don't necessarily like want to modernize

so it's like a town of misfits and

eccentricities and how they all live

together in the english village

and then speaking of english villages i

picked up a book by none other than

the lucy worsley i love her so much i

couldn't pass this one up it is called

the art of english

murder from jack the ripper and sherlock

holmes to agatha christie and alfred

hitchcock so many things that i love

in one book i mean you had me at agatha

christie but then just throw in sherlock

holmes and affleck hitchcock and like

you can just take my soul

and then back to one with an extremely

beautiful cover

it is under a dancing star by laura wood

it's hard to see because it's so


but i love the gold foiling it's so

beautiful with the butterflies and it's


in tuscany and what sold me on this one

was that supposedly it's a mix between

the great gatsby i capture the castle


the iconic georgette hair with a little

shakespeare sprinkled in there as well

and then if you have been following me

on instagram you know that i have been

on a major ireland

and scotland kick i've been watching all

of the tv shows

reading all of the books i asked for

recommendations and a few of you

recommended this book called the

cottingly secret so i looked it up

read the description and i haven't

ordered a book that quickly

in a really long time it is about two

young girls from cottingley yorkshire


are able to convince the world that

fairies are real by photographing them

for the first time it's 1917 sir arthur

conan doyle becomes convinced

that the photographs are real these

girls become a national sensation and

what makes it even more magical

is that this is based on true events i

mean what more could you possibly want

and then during my research for a book

set in ireland

i came across this one what the wind

knows by amy harmon i just finished this

one a couple weeks ago and

this is phenomenal the easiest five

stars i've given

in a long time it has time travel and

ireland and i'm not usually a huge fan

of time travel in books but this one

does it

so well i have convinced my mom to pick

it up my mom is currently reading it

i put it out on instagram and begged

people to read it oh it's

oh it's so good it's so good it also

involves letter writing

if that i mean just trying to say

anything at this point too convince you

to read it

continuing on with the ireland setting i

ordered this one on ebay because i

didn't like the cover

of the one that they had on amazon and

it is the wonder by

emma donohue this is a psychological


set in historic ireland the 1850s

i already finished this one too and

again this was a five-star read i

haven't read a psychological thriller

this good in a really long time i would

also say it's the perfect mix of

magical realism in the sense that you

wonder is this magical or is this

something that's just happening

like logically and i love books that

make you wonder that it's about how a

small irish village is mystified by

what appears to be a miracle but may

actually be something much more sinister

there's this little girl and she has

gone four months without eating any food

but she seems to be fine

and thriving even and so our main

character is a nurse and she gets sent

up there to watch this little girl

and see what's what's going on the

village basically wants her to

confirm and approve that this girl

hasn't been getting any food because

they believe that she might be a saint

they're very catholic

and they think that she's some sort of

walking miracle

and while the nurse is there it's just

this constant like

is it a miracle or isn't it and if it

isn't then what is it

and it's so good and then i bought

myself a couple books for my birthday

back in may and

this was one of them i'd rather be

reading the delights and dilemmas of the

reading life by

anne bogle i've heard that this book is

like a cozy chat

with your bookish best friend the

dedication is so sweet it says for

everyone who's ever finished a book

under the covers with a flashlight when

they were supposed to be sleeping

how to organize your bookshelves

bookworm problems

how to recommend books i think this is

just perfect for any book reader which


why i got it for myself this one is an

example of

i saw the cover so i bought it which


more often maybe than it probably should

but it's called

at the edge of summer by jessica

brockmole i mean we've got a girl in a


vintage but yet cottage court dress


a like a mini castle a manor in the

background she's in a field

of flowers and also the title being at

the edge of summer i figured this would

be perfect to go into summer time i'm

very much a seasonal reader

don't really know anything about this

one but i know that it is set in the

french countryside

this is one of those that i think i want

to go on blind so you can look it up on

goodreads if you want to see

what it's about but all i yeah all i

know is it's set in the french


and the cover is really pretty and then

next i have two book of the month books

that i haven't talked about

i know i usually work with them a lot on

my channel but i i didn't talk about

these because i didn't work with them

that month and i got these for myself

i paid for them i know you guys know

that i work with them but this is just

proof that i love them so much because i

spend my money on their books too

so the first one is last summer at the

golden hotel by

alyssa friedland if you like dirty

dancing you've got to pick this one up

this is

dirty dancing cat skills during the

summer nostalgia

in book form it's basically about these

two families who own the golden hotel in

the catskills it's losing money and

they come together during the summer to

try and figure out if they can save the

hotel or not

this one i haven't read and it is the

last one for this little book haul

segment and it

is ariadne by jennifer saint this one is

all about greek mythology

from what i know it's a reimagined story

of the princess of crete we've also got


and the minotaur i'm so excited

i know i say that about all the books

but i'm really excited for this one so

that is it those are all of the books

that i just wanted to share

let's move on to beautifying these books

with ugly covers

i went to my local barnes noble and

picked up two books

the first one is the iconic great gatsby


it's okay like it's not bad it's

artistic but

i just i just feel like this is not the

vibe of great gatsby

great gatsby needs gold black and the

white not

blue and orange but that's just me

and then i also got daughter of the

forest by juliette morillier

this one came up when i asked on

instagram for a book set in ireland

and so many people recommended this one

it's a medieval historic

ireland fantasy it's a fairy tale

retelling i don't remember the exact

fairy tales one about like eight swans

i don't think of medieval ireland when i

see this cover

i don't feel like this is a medieval

irish fantasy so we're gonna change that

so without further ado

let's get started for supplies i have my


lots of acrylic paint and then

mod podge i use the matte one not the

glossy one

gold calligraphy ink i got this one at


paintbrushes some black tea i'm going to

use this for staining the pages

some rulers and crafting paper i save

this stuff anytime i get a package in

the mail so i have

a lot i'm going to start off with the

great gatsby

and i'm going to cover up the ugly cover

with some white paint

so that we don't see it through the

craft paper

while i finish up this first coat of

paint i think now is a wonderful time to

take a moment to tell you about our

sponsor for today's video

skillshare i am so honored that they

reached out to work with me i am a huge

fan in case you don't know skillshare is

an online learning community with

thousands of inspiring classes for

creative and curious people

they offer all kinds of classes from

fine art to filmmaking and productivity

and self-care

i'm really interested in this art

journaling for self-care class

as well as this one about how to uplift

your spirit and home with plants but

what i've been really interested in

learning about recently is

painting this week i've been taking this

class called watercolor in the woods

a beginner's guide to painting the

natural world by rosalie hayslett

she teaches how to use nature to be

inspired to paint and i just love that

the focus of the class is on nature it

feels like it's just made for me

it's so cozy but also very informative

and it's the perfect way to escape the


while also learning something new

the first 1000 people to use the link in

my description will get a free trial of

skillshare premium membership and then

after that it's only about ten dollars a


thank you again so much to skillshare

for sponsoring this video


once i finished with painting i stood it

up on some paper to dry

then i grabbed the craft paper and

crumpled it up until it was soft and had

a lot of texture


then all that's left to do is put some

mod podge on the cover and press the

paper down


i always try to smooth it out the best i

can because this will really help it to

have that

vintage leather look just be careful

though because you don't want to rip the



then you just need to make two cuts that

are the width of the spine

so you can fold the rest of the paper in


and then i just like to add a piece of

paper on top to make it look a bit more

neat and tidy

then you can just tear off the slits

that we cut for the spine

for the paint i decided on a white and

gold combo

so first i'm just going to cover the

entire book in white paint


and then i don't really know what to

call this color but i used this one to

give the book a defined


then i just measured out how i wanted to

write the title

so that i could make sure that it's as

close to the middle as possible

for this part i'm using the gold

calligraphy ink


and for the record i am not a painter or

an artist really of any kind um and if i

ever try my paintings usually look like

i'm in kindergarten so i tried my best i


that i wanted to incorporate the

lighthouse so in case you couldn't tell

that was meant to be

the lighthouse


whenever i mess up i just like to use a

cotton swab and some water to erase and

then try again

the important part is to try and erase

it when it is still wet




i used the gold calligraphy ink again to

paint the edges

and then i ended up using paper to


the cover from the pages that way i

didn't have to worry about the ink

getting everywhere


just be sure to separate the pages once

they start to dry so they don't stick


i wanted this one to have a similar

color combo of like really soft colors

colors that i think of when i think of

light academia so i kind of went in for

this like

nude-ish color again and then i decided

to do

a white spine

now to make this one look more vintage i

learned this from kenna's video

so you mix black tea with some paint i

did some brown paint and some beige


and then you just take a paper towel and

dab it all over

the cover kind of mix it in and

make it look distressed i did it to the

spine as well because i wanted the whole

thing to match

and just have a very like a vintage

worn-in feel


for this part i put some paper over

where i want the title to go

and then covered the rest of it in mod


then i took some dried rose petals and

tried to distribute them

evenly all over the cover

i pushed them down a bit with my fingers

and then gently added more mod podge on


to seal them down

and now we have a space to decorate and

write the title


i ended up not loving the way i wrote

some of the letters so

i went back and tried to make them look

a bit more vintage


then i took the same paint tea combo

that i used to stain the cover

and painted it over the edges to again

make the book look more

aged and vintage







oh that took a lot longer

than expected but i'm actually really

really pleased with how they came out

especially daughter of the forest i

didn't plan

on using the roses but i just like just

i just saw it in my head

and i knew i needed to use them i was

worried that it would look messy and

kind of dirty

but i think it's so pretty i love it and

before we finish i actually got some


between filming yesterday and today they

arrived in the mail

and they're beautiful so i'm just gonna

show them to you really really fast if

you're not interested you can finish the

video but

they're so pretty so you know how i

showed you that i got ariadne

the the greek mythology retelling well

that was the us edition

meet the uk edition

i know i don't need two coffees but this

one this was too pretty to pass up i

couldn't not the spine is gorgeous too

and then i also got the mermaid and mrs


again the cover is absolutely beautiful

i love the colors with the blue and the

gold and i love the seashell

and i love that it's the papery paper

it's like papery and it doesn't feel

glossy or shiny

these are truly going to bless my

bookshelves they're they're just

i get so giddy over beautiful books and

then this one isn't aesthetic but

um it's a dragon's guide to the care and

feeding of humans which

why would you not want that i mean that

sounds so intriguing

it's a middle grade book yes but

so is harry potter and the hobbit so

it's about a dragon who gets a human as

a pet

it's so cute so those are just the three

books that came in the mail between

yesterday and today

just had to share them thank you guys so

much for being here and for watching all

the way to the end of the video

thank you most people don't so if you're

still here i love you so much i hope you

have a wonderful and magical day

and i will see you in my next video bye



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