It's funny how you change as you grow up. And how things change around you. In high school a friend of mine wrote his initials on the outside edges of his Bible. He did this cause all our Bibles looked the same. Smart, right? But nobody, nobody, nobody was drawing inside their Bibles, much less on the outside of them! I was so shocked (and a little concerned with what would happen when his deacon daddy saw those edges) that I can still see them burned into my memory. It was just that unheard of!
But time changes things. (Thank the dear Lord) And exactly two decades later, I am writing a post about painting Bible covers. With paint...
Want to Skip the Primer?
Update!!! Crossway has released a new version of the journaling Bible I have, but this one has a white cover that is ready to paint/draw on!
Word to the Wise...
Wall primer S.T.I.N.K.S! Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area!
Step One: Prepare Your Bible
Open your Bible to the middle. Using the plastic wrap, cover your pages to keep them from getting painted on (or stuck together)! Use the painters tape to secure the plastic.
Down along the binding, where it is impossible to put the plastic, I just stuck a generous piece of tape. It did not hurt my Bible pages at all!
If your Bible has an elastic strap, wrap it in tape, too!
Step Two: Priming Your Cover
Take a deep breath. (Before you open the primer!) Everything is going to be fine. (If you totally hate it, you can put a cover on it, no sweat, right?)
Now, Crack open the wall primer, stir it up real well, and then brush on a nice thick layer on the outside of your cover. Paint horizontally. No turning back now!
Let it dry for a couple hours, and then do a second layer, this time painting vertically. Go away and let it dry for a good, long time. You need some fresh air.
Step Three: Base Coat
Ahem. It is very probable that at some point in this process your children are going to wander past and goggle at you because (let's face it), you are painting a book, and that is not normal. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Anyway! Give your kids a great answer (because I warned you, and you've had time to come up with something better than Um, yes, it is my Bible, but NO! Don't get any crazy ideas!). Apply a nice thick layer of acrylic in the color you want, and let it dry. You can do this twice if you need to (once vertically, and once horizontally).
Not all acrylics leave those big brush strokes! They have different "bodies", and I was using some pearlized incandescent heavy body acrylic I found in my husband's college art stash, and I was more interested in the color than the streaks. You can use "fluid" acrylics to get a smoother look. Different brushes have different effects too.
Confession: I could not decide what to put on my Bible for a long time! I took the plastic of the pages and just used it like normal for a couple weeks!
Step Four: Decorate!
This is the awesome part! You can paint over the entire thing, or you can go with one central image. I put a design one side and left the other blank, because my thoughtful nine-year old pointed out that I like to draw verses on my covers (he's right). Note: I did not bother with protecting my pages, but if you are painting with kids around, you might want to!
Need painting advice?Painting with Jane is a YouTube channel the kids and I have used to learn about painting with acrylics.
You can even decorate the edges! I used a Micron Pen and also a fine point Sharpie, and then colored pencils. My Bible's pages are "feathered" out at one edge, so my work is crisp by the binding and slightly loose toward the edge.
Now, take courage, and get out your brushes! It doesn't matter what others think of your Bible cover, or of you! What matters is your heart.
So make that Bible your own! After all, we tend to cherish the things we personalize, don't we?