Make a Wickedly Dark Academia Spell Book

Create a wicked spell book for your Halloween decor in this easy step-by-step tutorial

With creepy season in full swing, we all get this strong intrinsic need to surround ourselves with all things spooky. And, what I’ve been seeing way more is the rise of dark academia decor – which is basically Halloween decorating in lots of darker tones- giving a cozy yet eerie atmosphere. And one item that always comes to mind with dark academia is books…spell books to be more specific.

In this step-by-step post, you’ll learn how to create your own haunted book of magic spells – and all you need are acrylic paints, a canvas, and a hot glue gun.

Disclaimer: some links used in this post are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission if you purchase using my links at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I think will be helpful to you and bring you one step closer to creating beautiful acrylic masterpieces!

👉 Want to host a paint party with this tutorial? Here is exactly how you can set up a fun DIY paint party at home.





Now that you got your supplies, let’s make a wicked book of spells.


In order to set the spooky mood, we need to start off with a black canvas. Simply use your black paint and your flat wash brush to apply an even coat to your canvas until everything is completely covered.


With your hot glue gun hot and ready – begin to make patterns and designs on the sides and corners of your canvas. I decided to make triangles with swirly patterns (as outlined in red for clarity).

I then added the words “Spell Book” in the middle using the hot glue. I made sure to add steady pressure to the trigger and stop after each letter to make sure they were completely made. Feel free to add special typography or embellishments. I added a few serif style lines at the ends of my letters for a more ancient look.

Now it’s time to add other creepy crawlies and night creatures. I chose to add a bat and snake (outlined in red for clarity)


Now that you’ve laid down your hot glue, it’s now time to break out the paint colors and make this look super spooky.

First, mix together red and yellow to make an orange. Using your flat wash brush, take your freshly mixed orange and paint over the entirety of your canvas. You don’t need to cover over everything, in fact, if black still peeks through that’s even better! Once you have it covered, grab a paper towel and quickly (but gently) wipe the orange off the letters and designs.

Next, switch over to your flat shader brush, and mix together black and white to make a cool gray color. Then, lightly brush this over your text and hot glue designs. No worries at all if you get this color onto the canvas as well. We’ll get that cleaned up in the next step. Make sure this layer dries before going to the next step.

Switching back to your flat wash brush loaded with a bit of black, proceed to cover parts of your canvas again, going with a gentle motion as you do so.

Then with your paper towel, proceed to wipe off the black paint off the letters and a few different areas like your corners and canvas edges for a more distressed look.


Switching to your detail round brush, mix together white with a bit of yellow. Gently paint this color over your text and other design elements you want to add an embellishment to. This will help to make all these things pop off the canvas.

Once you have your embellishments, its time to add a few more tonal colors to really make this spell book come alive. Mix together yellow and red to make that same orange color from the previous step. Then, using the same detail round brush, begin to lightly brush over various edges and corners of your canvas, making sure to blend as you do so.

You can go crazy with this part. I know I certainly had a fun time adding tiny details to make this book a creepy masterpiece.

Once you’ve done that, you now have yourself a customized dark academia spell book that will surely up-level your Halloween decor.

Pin it for later! ⤵

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