Making a Book Sleeve Out of Human Skin: Gein Style

Warning: Explicit content ahead.
Ed Gein was a Plainfield, Wisconsin murderer and body snatcher who mutilated his victims’ bodies and used their skins, bones, and organs to make several household items. The following is a satirical piece based on a character inspired by Gein.


Hello, all. Welcome to Ghazal’s Daily. Today’s blog post is going to be about making a book sleeve out of a special material. As ya’ll know, I’m a designated bookworm. I literally eat books on a daily basis. I’m also a fan of accessorizing my books and making sure they’re kept tidy. What better way to do that than making a customized and cutesy book sleeve for my favorite books? So, let’s get to it!

What you’re going to need:

  • 1.5 yards of human skin (I’m using the skin from human legs because it’s a bit thicker than the rest but softer skin is fine too so feel free to use whatever you’re comfortable with. I used a woman’s legs because they’re smoother)
  • Sharp knife/cutter/scissors
  • Hammer
  • Sewing machine (make sure to use one with a thick and heavy needle)
  • Bones, teeth, nails, and a nipple for decoration
  • Glue
  • Paints and nail polish
  • Cloth, sponges, and water for cleaning purposes

Acquiring the material can be hard especially if you’re really ambitious and you want to go for fresh ones. I’d suggest that you have your pick at a graveyard or morgue at a considerable distance from your work space. Make sure the bodies haven’t been dead for more than a day. You might have to do some research, and digging and transportation can be a pain so remember that this is a slightly extensive project.

Preparing the material:

  • After you find your pick, the real handiwork starts. Take out the easy things first. Break the incisors and wash them. Use tissue to dry them and then paint them. I’d suggest you use red paint because it’ll contrast well with the skin color. You could also paint the skin or dye it but that would fade or get messy. It’s better to keep it simple. Paint the nails a different and sharper color. Orange or pink. Use nail polish on them so you can change their color whenever you please. Cut off a nipple using the cutter and clean it up with the cloth.
  • For bones, pick fingers or toes. First cut through the skin around. Once you locate the bones, use the hammer to break them off. The final shapes won’t necessarily be of your choice but if you have sharper and more advanced tools, you can try to shape the bones however you may like.
  • Now pick the part of the skin you want to peel. Carve up an outline using the knife. It’ll be hard to be neat because of the blood coming out through the cuts so use sponges to soak it all up. You can even make spongey artsy designs from the blood in other art projects that have to do with paper. Use the cutter, because of its thinner blade, to lift the skin up from one corner. Then begin slicing it off. Once the whole thing is off, use sponges and wet cloth to wipe most of the blood off. Leave the skin off to dry and get rid of the rest of the body. You could pick out materials for other projects before you dispose it. I like to keep most of the bones and hair. You need to get the body back in the grave. If you think that’s too difficult, pick between burning it somewhere where nobody would find it, throwing it in a deep water body, or burying it in some hidden place like the woods.

Gathering the materials can be an entire night’s work. It’s tough and dangerous but once it’s done, the most difficult part is over. Make sure to clean up as you go about because this is messy work.

Sewing and Decorating:

  • Take measurements of the book you want to make a cover for. You need the size of the inner panel and the overall width of the book. Make sure to leave an extra 1.5 or 1 inch allowance. Cut the skin in the measurements you obtain.
  • Place the skin in position with the side you want to be towards the inside on top. Sew the skin according to the shape of your cover. (If you want to learn how to sew, use this link: https://makezine.com/2009/08/25/how-to_sew_a_simple_fabric_boo/
  • Unlike the cloth used in the given link, skin can be tricky so don’t be afraid of patch work. There’s no particular way you can sew it. If it falls apart, pick another piece and keep sewing it until it’s well put together. I know this part sounds vague but you’ll get it when you do it. The final product is not supposed to look neat and clean so don’t worry about messy sewing. That’s a part of the look.
  • When the sewing is done, turn the cover inside out. Now start gluing the bones and nails in whatever patterns that suit you. I used them to make the petals of a flower. I placed the nipple in the middle.

Make sure everything sticks and is dried up before you use this sleeve on a book.

Hope you guys liked this idea. If you try it, do tweet the pictures @ me. Until next time!



(Do NOT try this. This is satire.)

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