Book Talk: Book Defacing

Hello there fellow bookworms! Today, I wanted to bring you a book talk. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a good book, must definitely not write on it.

Yeah … I’m pretty sure that’s how that quote goes, right? Kidding! Either way, there is some truth to that statement. Writing on books seems to be a big taboo in the reading community and if I’m being honest, I was a member of that group. Everyone is different of course and while some people love writing, highlighting and annotating their books, others can’t even fathom stamping their books with “This Book Belongs to [enter name here]”. There is no right or wrong here. To each their own, right? I don’t judge anyone for writing on their books any more than someone who puts their books on a pedestal.

Over the past several months, I have been seeing an increase in this trend called “book defacing”. Two words I swore should never be in the same sentence. When I first saw what people were doing, I thought, “Oh, the horror! How can someone write on their books!

Then I actually did research — and by research I mean looking through Google images, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram. I was really surprised by people’s creativity when it came to book defacing. It wasn’t just writing on the books. It was creating art and doing so to represent scenes or themes in the book. The more I looked through pictures and videos, the more I realized that I wanted to join in on the fun.

The first person I told about this endeavor was Caro, my new co-blogger. You’ll meet her in a later post. She straight up called me a book murderer, a legitimate reaction in my opinion. I showed her the ones I found and even though she still thought I was crazy, she agreed that it was actually pretty freaking cool. So I set out to deface my book and I chose a couple of my favorites to do this on. I chose Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Mist and Fury.


For Clockwork Angel, I had an outline of Will’s name surrounded and decorated by metallic gold and silver mandala patterns. The Will candle pictured is from The Melting Library and smells of black tea and rain.


Clockwork Prince is a simple [not so simple] clockwork heart. This was probably my favorite design of the three because of the intricate clockwork drawing within the heart. My hand was cramping and this took hours but I love it so much. The Parabatai candle is from Meraki Candles and smells of violet, rose petals, and apple wood.


As for Clockwork Princess, it mimics a similar design of Clockwork Angel that acts as its counterpart because well … I ship Wessa hard. This was the first defacing I did and I loved it so much, I did it with the rest of the trilogy. The Clockwork Angel necklace in the photo is from Hebel Design.


Finally, I did A Court of Mist and Fury. It was my favorite book of all-time at the time. I painted the night sky and drew the Night Court sigil over it to represent my favorite court. The Night Court candle is also from Meraki Candles . It smells of jasmine and sandalwood myrrh.

I loved how they all turned out and I am planning to do more of them. Bookworms have even started painting the sides and pages of the book and they look absolutely stunning. Painting on the pages will be my next experiment. These designs were relatively easy to do and don’t cost that much. I think that it adds something extra to the books and really personalizes it. Caro still calls me a book murderer but wants me to do one of her Harry Potter books. The hardest part is trying to come up with the ideas for your book. It was a lot of fun and I will definitely write/draw/paint on more books.


Want to deface your books? Here’s what I used:

For The Infernal Devices:

  • Sakura Metallic Gelly Roll Pens — I haven’t tried other gel pens so I don’t really have comparison but these were amazing to work with. They dried fast and they came in so many colors. I have other Sakura Gelly Rolls and I love them as well, they have different kinds of pens like Stardust, which I use often too.
  • I used a pencil first to draw the “Will” outline and using a protractor and compass, I I drew the basis of the mandala.

For A Court of Mist and Fury:

  • Artist Loft Acrylic Paint — You could use any brand of acrylic paint and it should work out find. You can also use oil paints. I wouldn’t use watercolor because you won’t be able to see it on the black hardcover and too much water might warp the book. You might also need to mix in a lot of white in order to make the dark colors visible in the black cover.
  • I used a mix of paint brushes of varying sizes and a foam poly brush. I used a larger paint brush to splatter white paint to make the stars.
  • Sakura Gelly Roll Pens — This was used to draw the Night Court sigil.
  • I didn’t use it for this design, but if you wanted to seal the design (especially if it’s handled often), I’ve found that some people use Mod Podge.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! How do you guys feel about “book defacing”? Would you draw or paint on your books? Comments, questions, or suggestions? Just let me know below!

About Anjie @ Love thy Shelf

Hello there -- call me Anjie! I made this book blog where I can put down all my bookish ramblings and talk to those who have the same interests!
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9 Responses to Book Talk: Book Defacing

  1. Em says:

    Those are so pretty! You are so talented! I think that this kind of book defacing is a lot different than just “ruining the book”. I think the problem a lot of people have with defacing is they automatically think “oh, the book is being ruined/damaged/destroyed in some way”. But what you are doing is creative and expressive and beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Sunday Post // July 16, 2017 – Comma Hangover

  3. fairydancer221 says:

    I keep seeing everyone deface either Sarah J. Maas’ books or the Infernal Devices. It’s funny. I don’t think I’m up to doing that myself, but I like the results that everyone else is getting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. fangirlfury says:

    Obsessed with your ACOMAF design, excited to see what you do next!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow that’s so gorgeous! While I would love to be able to do that to my books, I would never because I’m not a good artist and would probably ruin the cover or end up hating it

    Liked by 1 person

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