Bookplate tutorial

This is my first tutorial so you are my guinea pigs, wish me luck!

I have designed two bookplates, one is a frog design and the other is a fairy; I call her "Bouquet Fairy" as she is holding a bouquet of wild flowers. The frog design was first offered to a website called My Home Library You can still finds lots of designs there. the version that I am offering you here today has slightly different wording.

To get your Free Frog Bookplate click here-

Your PDF should be ready to print; I like to use black ink on a good quality paper such as Conqueror, which comes in a range of colours although traditionally bookplates tended to be printed on white paper. Try experimenting on different papers to see which one you like the best, I prefer a cream paper but it is up to you.

Set your printer to print top quality, follow your printer’s instructions to ensure a good result.

The bookplates will need to be trimmed to size, allow a little space between the border and the cutting edge, I like to give about 5mm clearance all round but you can trim right up to the border edge, it is up to you. I use a craft knife and a metal ruler on a cutting mat but you can use scissors if you are careful.

When you have your plates cut to size you will need to glue them into your book. This procedure needs to be done with some care and preparation to give the best results. It is advisable to practice on an inexpensive book first. I do not always glue bookplates into all my books especially if the book is very valuable; instead I place it inside the front cover.

You will need a small brush for gluing, adhesive (I like to use PVA mixed with a little water to a creamy consistency). You will also need some waste paper and a small clean cloth.

Firstly, take your book and decide where you want to stick the plate. I find it useful to lightly mark the corner position with a pencil. You can use a ruler and a setsquare to help get an even space each side. You can erase the pencil mark later.

When you are ready, take the bookplate and place it face down onto a clean piece of scrap paper. Take your brush and carefully glue the back of the plate making sure that you apply a thin but even coat. Start in the middle and work your way out to the edges, you will need to hold the plate down with one finger but try not to get too much glue onto your fingers! Discard the waste paper, take your bookplate holding it carefully at the corners and gently position it into the book.

You can use your clean cloth to gently press your plate into position and wipe away any surplus that may have crept out from beneath. You will then need to leave it to dry before closing the book. This is important; you do not want to stick your pages together!

Remember, practice makes perfect so try an inexpensive paperback first.

The fairy bookplate pdf is available here in my shop

Good luck, I hope you enjoy your bookplates.


  1. This is wonderful, Valerie! You are thorough and clear. Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. These are adorable. And I do love book plates. Such a nice touch to add when you're giving a book as a present, too.

  3. These are charming indeed.
    I love the fairy one.
    Reminds me a little of the flower fairies I used to envy my cousin Linda for having books of them! (I seemed to have a lot of Famous Five ones....)
    One day we should do a round up of all the books we read in our youth. Everyone (grown-ups) was/were very snooty about Enid Blyton but she certainly knew her audience.
    Again, loved the book plates.
    Just in time for Christmas.

  4. Lovely! I love the idea of bookplates, but sadly NEVER have made or used them!! I remember the wonderful ones my grandfather used to have... I think he was probably the last in the family to use them.

  5. Thanks Valerie...how generous of you! Love them both. I also love your fox painting in your shop and will be visiting you there soon for a copy!
    I love bookplates...so old worldly.

  6. Oh these are delightful.. I feel Book Plates make a book feel so special!!

  7. Most excellent directions. I love bookplates and they are fun to design. Thank you Valerie, you get an A+

  8. This is such a cool tutorial, Valerie! Thanks for posting it.


  9. Wonderful, Valerie - I'll have to Pinterest this for my daughter!

  10. thankyou for your generosity in sharing the froggy bookplate valerie! steven

  11. Your bookplate designs are lovely, Valerie. I am sure that with your very clear tutorial, they will soon be adorning many books!

    My dad designed a bookplate that incorporated my mom's and his initials in a striking graphic design. Oh...that was many decades ago.

    The New York Society Library from which I borrow many, many books always has a bookplate in each of its books. Some new ones are designed to honor certain bid donors to the Library, but the very old ones are actually engravings!

    Bookplates really are quite an art form. Best wishes.

  12. Thank you for this Valerie. I have not quite worked out how to do it yet but have saved it to work on it another day.

  13. Thanks for the tutorial Valerie. The bookplates are gorgeous!!!

  14. Thank you so much Valerie! I need to get some new ink cartridges for my inkjet printer so I can print these out nicely! I have a freind who has just had a birthday who loves bookplates so I will make them up for her with a set for myself as well. Oooh! Idea: I'll bet quilters would love a specially designed bookplate for their quilting books! Maybe use something from one of your fabric designs for this purpose??? Cheers! J

  15. I think I'm more of a frog than a fairy!

  16. What a treat :D
    I've just found you, and I'll be back :D