Printable Book Covers and Other News

Hey gang!

You may have noticed I’ve slowed down on the posting a bit this past week.  When I first started Better After, I, like a crazy person, posted five times a day.  FIVE!  Slowly I went to three, then for a long time it’s been two, and now, in an effort to keep my self sane or close to it, I’ve slowed down to posting just once a day. I hope you understand!

But listen here. I won’t leave you hanging. I’m going to be doing a little somethin’ somethin’ on Saturdays.  Maybe I’ll dust something off from the archives, (did you know I’ve written nearly 3,000 posts!? It’s possible you may have missed one.  Or a hundred.) Maybe I’ll share a quick project or two of my own.  Maybe I’ll even pop in to discuss something not exactly makeover specific.  After five solid years of writing about before and afters, it would be nice to stretch my wings a little bit on other topics.  I’m actually pretty excited about it! So we’ll see how it goes. I hope you’ll hang with me!

And now, here’s a little project I did the other day.  It involves about 45 seconds of effort and looks pretty durn cool, I think. And there is even a set of FREE PRINTABLES I made just for you at the end!  Look at me go!

book makeover

It was inspired by some similar books I saw at one of my favorite stores in Mesa, called Design Lab. Forgive the quality of this picture, I was trying to pretend like was definitely  NOT taking a picture.

design lab books copy

So I came home, dreamed up a few designs, printed them out, taped them on some Goodwill books, and bam, Cool-Looking Books!  This project needs a catchier title.

book makeover2

Want to make some Cool-Looking Books too?

Here’s my advice.  Hit up Goodwill on a sale day, and you can get books for around a dollar a piece.  I tried to get books of similar sizes.

Download the printable designs below (or make some yourself!) and print.  I just used regular printer paper, but I did buy the heaviest weight, which I believe was 28 lb. Just a step down from cardstock.

Line up your book in the center of the printed paper and mark the length of the spine, then fold accordingly. You know, just like you did with your seventh grade science book and a paper bag.

Tape it on, you’re done!

The paper won’t wrap all the way around the book, (unless you bought tiny books), but I really only cared about the spine showing, so no biggie. You can see that’s how they looked in the store too.  If you wanted to cover the whole book, just print two pages and line them up.

book makeover with paper    DSC_0742

Best part is, it’s totally removable and won’t harm the books a bit, even though I will probably at no point in my life desire to read Beautiful Bones Without Hormones.

Free printable time! Here are the links to download the designs I made, (except that overlapped hexagon one, which was my favorite, so of course my computer ate it, sorry). Enjoy!

black and white geometric design graphics

  One  Two   Three

 Four   Five   Six

book makeover3 copy


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Sea Ya

Hey hey, guess what today is? The first day of fall! Go enjoy some hot cocoa and a stomp in the leaves for me.  I’ll be at the pool.  Sadly, we don’t really get a fall here in Phoenix.  The leaves do fall off the trees, but usually not till around February.  And most of them don’t even turn colors.  Lame, right? I want my money back! I didn’t order three summers and no fall!

So we can’t change the weather, oh well.  At least we can change things like a funky vanity in an old bathroom. For some reason (ugly, outdated, seahorses) Melissa and her husband wanted a new vanity, but didn’t want to pay the $2800 they were quoted for a custom build.  So they re-imagined this one by removing the doors and drawer fronts for a flush-mount look and adding a single piece of veneer over the front.  Such style!  I’m shocked that it’s the same piece!

See more on Melissa’s blog  S’ Wonderful.

bathroom vanity before |

gray white bathroom makeover veneer vanity|

I have to admit, I kind of liked the little seahorse tiles.  Not enough to actually keep them around in the new bathroom, but maybe enough to save one and frame it or something, kind of like the bunny wallpaper in that one episode of Full House when Michelle moved into big-girl room, anyone? Anyone? I know you know what I’m talking about.

bathroom makeover before |

gray white bathroom makeover |

See the entire bathroom makeover right here: S’ Wonderful.

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Fine Tuning Fine Dining

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year?  Yay! I’ll be there. I’ll bring the mashed potatoes.  What else do you need help with?  Do you have enough silverware? Serving dishes? Do I have to sit at the kid’s table again? But most importantly, what’s the status of your dining set?

If it’s in need of a little attention, fear not. I’ve got some ideas to get your dining room ready to party in no time! (Ok, maybe slightly more than no time. But it’ll be worth it).

Let’s go!

First up, this example from Better After reader Liz, who sent in this stenciled table makeover, explaining that she inherited it from the grandmother of a close friend who she cared for while she was in nursing school.  Her instructions were to do anything she wished with it, as long as she didn’t give it away.

Free to let her creativity fly, she came up with this fearless and fun design:

table makeover before |


stenciled table makeover |

How gorgeous is this set from Christy at Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer?  Such humble thrift-store beginnings, but now it’s magazine worthy! It’s like a that movie where that one guy starts out living in his car and turns out becoming the CEO of a worldwide company. (That’s a movie, right?  Surely that’s a movie).

dining table makeover before |

stained top dining table makeover |

If you want to add some color to your Thanksgiving-scape beyond the cranberry sauce (that’s what it’s for obviously, because no one has ever actually eaten it in the history of Thanksgiving), how about taking the chairs for a little dip? So cute. See more of this fresh look from Laurel at A Bubbly Life.


table makeover before |


white table makeover with dipped chair legs |

And finally, if you love that distressed farmhouse look but don’t have the time to sit around waiting for your set to become distressed, guess what?  Deb has a shortcut for you. See her secret on her blog Lake Girl Paints.  That is so delightful to me for some reason.  “Let’s hurry up and make this thing look old already!” We humans are a funny bunch.

Beautiful job Deb!


farmhouse table before |


farmhouse table makeover |

Do you have a makeover to share?  I would love to see it!  Send your submissions my way at  Happy weekend friend!


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Life and Nails

It should be against the rules of life for your car to break down and everyone in the house to get sick, including the baby, who got sick enough to go to the ER in the space of a few days. Against the rules I say!

Don’t’ you hate when life gets all life-y?

If we are friends on Instagram you might have seen me in the hospital with my baby boy night before last.  He had a raging fever flare up out of nowhere with a wicked cough that left him struggling to breathe, so we hurried him in. Turns out he has a respiratory virus thing, which was scary because of that virus affecting kids on the news, but they got him fixed up, and he’s doing much better today.  In fact, he’s sitting by my feet, trying to eat a stick.  I don’t know where he found a stick inside the house, but the point is, he’s doing good. And I  just wanted to say thanks for the well wishes and concern! We are on the mend!

And here comes some makeover goodness your way, nailhead-style!  First from Jen at Girl in the Garage, who nailed it (hA!) with this cream vanity.

vanity makeover before |


cream nailhead vanity makeover |


And I love, love this vinyl chair transformation from Jenn at With Heart via Create/Enjoy. The pink was cute but unsalvageable, so after a little trial and error, she found the perfect white to show off those lines and nailhead details.  Best part: it has a twin!  Other best part: they were only $8 a piece!


pink vinyl chair makeover before |





white painted vinyl chair makeover after |


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