Sunday, March 16, 2014

{Altered Books 101} Prep & Backgrounds


When it comes to altering books, the possibilities are endless. But it doesn't have to be a complicated process. With just a few simple materials, you can be on your way to creating an altered book in no time! All you really need to get started is a book, a glue stick, a ruler, and some clips. Use what you have on hand. Clothespins will substitute for the clips. A school ruler or a thick piece of cardboard cut to size will work perfectly for tearing pages. Most of us have books we no longer read taking up shelf space, and usually some kind of glue in a drawer or cupboard. Just grab what you have and let's get started!


The first step to altering a book is tearing out some pages throughout the book. Removing some of the pages makes room for the embellishments, photos, or ephemera that you might wish to add. It also keeps the the book from expanding too much on the fore edge, which reduces stress on the spine. I used a 1/4" steel rule to tear out my pages, but you can use a ruler or a piece of chipboard cut to the size you want.  I like the tattered edges created by tearing, but if you prefer even edges you can use a craft knife instead of tearing the pages. 


I divided my book into 5 sections and tore out 30 pages between each of them to create deep spacers for the bulky items I want to add to the book. Run a glue stick along all the edges of each section, and use the clips to hold them together while they dry. You can also use a tacky white glue or gel medium for this step.


I chose a theme of Lost & Found for this book, so I decided to include a quote on that subject, and a vintage escutcheon plate from my stash. The background was created with layers of white gesso, paint, scrapbook paper, a tea bag, and Stabilo and Derwent Inktense pencils. I used a vintage typewriter to type out the quote on paper torn from the book.


For this background, I layered white gesso, acrylic paints, the same pencils, and another typed quote. The circles were made with Yellow Ochre gouache. I used the cap to stamp the circles on the pages. 3 rusty keys from my collection were the perfect finishing touch! 


Clear gesso and pearlescent watercolors along with crumpled and torn tea bags created lots of texture and shimmer for this background. I love how the transparency of the watercolors and the tea bags allow the book text to peek through!


I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at some of the techniques I like to use for altered books. I'll be back on March 21st with 3 more background techniques, and the cover for this Lost & Found Journal. Until then, be sure to check out the great tips and techniques my fellow design team members have shared, and stay tuned for more inspiration as Altered Books Month continues!

9 comments:

  1. Wonderful tutorial, thanks for sharing your techniques and your lovely altered book!

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    1. Thanks Deb! I love how versatile altered books can be. Thanks for your kind comment and for stopping by the blog!

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  2. Your book is beautiful and love the tips you shared.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! Hope you have lots of fun with altered books!

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  3. So wonderfully done. Great tips and lovely post.

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    1. Thank you so much Lea! I appreciate your sweet comment!

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  4. Amazing!! Had no clue about the gluing around the edge of the pages technique - your vintage typewriter quotes are the perfect touch!e

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I love how you always use quotes in your beautiful artwork!

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  5. This was fantastic-thank you so much! I've always wanted to do this-and with your tutorial,I can give it a try!

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