DIY - How to make the Harry Potter “Monster Book of Monsters” Cover
Today is book day. Yeah, who knew! We were inspired to re-create the infamous “Monster Book of Monsters” from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As you probably know is a particularly vicious sentient textbook that is used in Care of Magical Creatures while Hagrid was the Professor for that subject in Hogwarts. He thought the book’s aggressive nature was amusing! Not everybody’s cup tea judging by the students who had to force the book shut with belts and Spellotape because they didn’t know how to calm the book.
Despite all of it, we really think it’s a fun craft to make. The movie prop is a fur leather with the words embossed right on top. It has claws, teeth and 4 beady eyes. Yuck! It’ll make a perfect prop for a Harry Potter party, a Halloween decoration or a great gift for a fellow Potter geek!
We did our best to make a doable DIY!
What you will need:
Fluffy fake fur (depending on the size of your box)
4 plastic yellow animal eyes on wire pins
Modelling Clay (black and white color - that you can paint)
Red fabric (for the tongue)
Cardboard (for the title)
Acrylic paint (black, white, brown, red & gold)
Modeling tools (optional)
What to do:
Step 1: Prepare the box
Take a shoebox. The advantage of taking a box and not an actual book is that you don’t have to hollow out and you can keep stuff in it. If you think that your box is too high, cut off few centimeters on the top edge and use double tape to assemble the new bottom part to the upper part. You can paint the inside of any color you want.
If you don’t have a shoebox or a book, you can make one with some piece of sturdy cardboard. The basic frame up of the book it’s about 8.5 by 11cm, help yourself with a sheet of paper to traced the edge. Just remember to add about 3 inches on the top cover to make the spine, draw the line to distinguish the top cover and the spine. Then score along the line by cutting gently, being careful not to come all the way through just enough to cut the top layer this way the cardboard can bend and you will have a clean edge. For the side cut 2 pieces that will fit the top and bottom, and another piece for the length of the book. Then assemble the book with some glue (hot glue will be better).
Moving on to the sides of the box, make it look like an actual “paper” edges book. We choose the easy solution. We took a picture of the side of one Harry Potter book and then photoshopped a printable that you can download here. Printed out, then cut into strips to fit the sides and glued them in place.
Another solution is to use paint. Paint them white leaving the rough strokes of the acrylic paint. After the paint was dry, dilute some brown paint with water, brushing it on and while still wet taking off the excess with a tissue, this leaves the paint in the crevices of the white paint given it an aged look.
Step 2: Model the teeth, mouth, claws and eyes
Let’s sculpt! We are going to use some clay and modeling tools to create all the details. Our sculping skills are a bit naff. But I mean unless you took some magic-orthodontics class by the past it could be quite challenging but nevertheless we had fun! (Modelling tools are optional; you can sculpt with your hands).
-Mouth and teeth-
For the mouth, you have to form a 90 degrees angle of the gum. Flatten the top part of the gum, that section will overlaps the edge and will be glued on the book. For the rest, try to make an oval shape with the white clay and along one side make a little bump for each tooth, pressing a line between each bump. Then make a hole into the bump (you can use the end of a pencil if you don’t have modelling tool). Do the same for the upper mouth part, but flatten the bottom part, to glue on the box later.
Then take a bit of white clay, roll them into little balls, and then one end into a point, form a tooth. Bend the end down a little to make them look more real, smooth them out and add some details. They need to look gruesome so they didn’t have to be at all perfect.
Allow these to dry fully and then attached with some glue every white “tooth” into the holes you made previously in the clay.
Let them dry.
Then paint the mouth mixing black, white and red paint. You can also paint the teeth to give them some shading. You can use black and red to create shadows and highlights. It's also good to do a bit of dry brush painting with brown on the white teeth, to give them a grungy effect.
For the eyes, take a bit of white clay, roll them into 4 little balls. Then insert gently each eyeball into the white clay balls. Make sure that the metal part behind the eye don’t stick out of the clay. Join together (side by side) the 4 balls, let them dry fully.
Then wrap the eyes into the black clay, shape little bump and eyelids. Flatten the bottom part of it, that section will be glued on the top of the book. Let them dry.
Take a small wire, twist it as a support for the claw. Shape the claw with the white clay. Insert the wire into each claw and keep the ring part of the wire into the flat part (part that will be used for sticking onto the book) of the claw. For tentacles, first make tiny balls and put them on the claw. Then use a pointy tool (or a pencil) to poke through the balls.
Repeat this steps as many times as you want. We made about 20 claws.
Color the claw with light beige (mix white and brown paint), grey (mix black and white paint) and pink (mix white and red paint) for the small dot on the sucker.
That’s it! We are done with the most complicated part.
Step 3: Make the tongue
Fold the red fabric in two, cut a tongue shape. Glue the 2 parts together leaving the end open and unglued. Paint a line down the middle to add shading (or use a small piece of darker red fabric). Use a cutter to cut a very thin line into the left edge of the box. Insert into the thin gap the leaving 2 pieces unglued. Open the 2 pieces and glue them inside the box.
Step 4: Make the title
For the words on the front of the book, take a cardboard (make sure you get the size and spacing you want). Paint it in brown. Then for the words we are going to use a stencil on the cardboard. You can download our stencil here. Print it, before cutting each letter with a cutter, put some transparent tape on them it will help to not tear apart the letter. Paint over letters with gold paint (or use a gold spray paint). Once that is dry, carrying out the finishing touches freehand with a small brush.
Step 5: Finishing the book
Before placing the fake fur fabric on, glue all the elements (mouth/teeth on the side, eyes and cardboard title on the top cover, claws all around the book on top and under). Once these have dried, you can attach the fur.
Lay fur out with the fur side down. Open up the box and lay on top, trace shape with pencil / chalk. Take box away and draw out shape you want to cut out. It's best to have the sides be straight and then to have the short sides be jagged so they will overlap the edge. You want to leave a straight section in the middle where the teeth will be. You also need to leave space for the eyes and the title on the top cover. Don’t forget the claws as well. It’s best if you cut out the fur a little bit larger than the box, to cover claws. Then use your scissors to cut the fake fur. After that’s done, wrap the fur around the box, gluing it down with glue as you go.
Now you can enjoy you Monster book of Monsters. Remember how to open the book properly? Stroke the spine!