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Make a Gift Idea: Custom Bookplate

Label a book with a personalized bookplate

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Make a Bookplate as a gift.

A simple bookplate design personalized with the name of the book owner.

© J. Bear
A plain or decorative paper label glued to the inside of the front cover or front endpaper of a book that indicates the name of the book owner is called a bookplate or ex-librīs. When you give a book as a gift, personalize it with a custom bookplate. Or, for the book lover on your list, give a set of homemade bookplates that they can add to all the books in their personal library.

Some ideas and tips for homemade bookplates:

  • Bookplates can be any size but for ease of use and design check out the selection of adhesive labels at your local office supply store. Many software programs have templates for standard label sizes. Find a size and shape you like and design your bookplate to fit it.

  • Bookplates can be all text but you could create more special bookplates by adding illustrations or photos. From the library of..., This book belongs to..., or the Latin term ex-librīs (meaning 'from the books of') and other variations are common wording for bookplates.

  • Include a quote from the book you're giving, a quotation related to the subject of the book, or a more general quotation on books and reading. About.com Quotations has plenty of quotations to choose from on Reading and many other topics.

  • Combine your printed bookplate with more traditional arts & crafts techniques including adding stickers, rubber stamping, or coloring in a black & white graphic using paint or colored pens.

  • When making a bookplate for a specific book you can include your name and the date or occasion upon which you gifted the book.

You can use any desktop publishing software or illustration software (such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW or Inkscape) to design your bookplate. If you don't already have software, consider one of these desktop publishing software programs. To save money, especially if you don't see yourself doing a lot of desktop publishing projects, try free software for Windows or Mac.

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