Monday, July 26, 2010

Anti-Aging Cream...for your Books

Do you have books that look like this?

Would you rather keep them looking like this?

Well, if they're already damaged, there's not much you can do to reverse it...but I will show you how to make them last longer and keep new books looking almost new for a long time.

I used to think that board books were indestructable.  That was before I had kids.Within a few months of being mobile, Firecracker had some of our favorite books looking like this.
I quickly discovered that a kid can chew through a board book page in a matter of minutes...and that the most vulnerable part of the book is the spine.  I've found the best way to keep the kids' books nice, is to act BEFORE they start to fall apart.

We have an insane number of kids' books in our house.  We love books and the kids are always getting them as gifts or I pick them up at the thrift store, so every few months I go through our book collection and look for books that need this.

As I've was packing up the kids' books, I found yet more books that needed this treatment, so I thought I'd share it with you.  Here's my secret...packing tape on the spine and it only takes a minute or two.
I buy the heavy duty stuff from Costco.
I get a piece a little longer than spine of the book.  I start on either the front or the back and smooth it all out before moving on.
Then I fold it over to the spine, starting in the middle and keeping it tight as I smooth it out to the ends.
Then I fold it over to the back, again starting in the middle and smoothing it out to the ends, so it looks like this.
Then I trim the tape super close to the book with a good pair of scissors.
I do the same thing to our paperback books.

And I can let Sweet Pea read and explore our books to her heart's content...and they get relatively little wear in the process.
If your books are already show and wear and tear, it's not too late?  I've repaired rips and torn covers with good quality packing tape as well.  Goodnight Gorilla is a favorite and Firecracker gave it a lot of damage when she was little.  As you can see, I pretty much coated the whole front cover with tape, and it's lasted another 5 years since I initially repaired it. 
Even so, when I found a nearly new copy at Goodwill for 70 cents, I couldn't say no...and I put the tape treatment on it first thing this time.


  1. Ah yes, I did this to many a book back in my preschool teaching days. I haven't done it to any of Olivia's yet, but perhaps I should. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  2. I use a similar technique with books in my classroom library. It really does extend their life.

  3. Great tip! I never would have thought of that.

  4. So smart! I will be doing this ASAP!

  5. Oh, good idea, but I'm not sure I want my daughter chewing on packing tape? I think it is exempt from phthalate rules?

  6. It's so weird - when I read this I realized that this is what I used to do to my school books when I was a kid. I never thought of doing it to the kids' books. Strange! Thanks for reminding me. Little man is really interested in books at the moment - unfortunately only in chewing them up. :-( I believe kids have to do that at some point. But I do not want all books to end up chewn. So I will rescue some with your method! :-)
    I don't think that I can do it to all books though. Those pretty picture books my daughter owns ... I think I can not bring myself to put the tape on them. Don't know why ... must be some weird thing I have...


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