Happy Thursday everyone! leslierahye here to share with you one of my favorite processes for altered book making. I love the possibilities of old books holding treasure or chunky items! The stories where people hid money in a secret book compartment or keys to lock boxes and mysteries have always appealed to me. I've been in the homes of my professors and wondered if one of those books on their vast shelves contained a mystery beyond the cover of the book! I was thrilled many years ago when I attended a class at convention about altered books and the instructor shared with us the technique of creating a niche in a book for just such treasures! Over the years I've discovered what works best for me and I will share that with you today along with a few tips I've learned when working with used books.
1niche noun \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\
a : a recess in a wall especially for a statue
b : something (as a sheltered or private space) that resembles a recess in a wall
I like to look for books at yard sales, library sales and used book stores. When looking at books I'm primarily looking for the condition of the spine and the type of binding as Kimberly discussed earlier. I am not concerned about stamped pages [like above] or writing in the book as the process to create the altered book will take care of those things. For instance a simple sanding [100 grit nail file] will remove the stamping from the stamped pages. Gesso/paint or other additives such as paper would easily cover up any writing in the book.
To get my niche ready for my next process, I used an acrylic gesso on the book pages and placed my boxes into the niche to see how they look! As I complete this page I will actually glue the boxes down. I will complete this in my next post at the end of the month and share the rest of the book. I can't wait to add goodies to my shadowbox niche!!! I love how this is coming along! Be sure to check out Designer posts for the rest of the month as the Altered Arts Magazine team takes on Altered Books!
Since I am going to be cutting out of this book, I begin by determining how deep I want my niche [in this case ½"-5/8"]. I then find the page I want to start my niche and use foil to protect the rest of the book [I like to use foil because it won't stick to the glue and it I can wrap it around the book]. I then take white glue [PVA, school glue, or like] and generously rub glue on the page edges on the 3 sides of the book. This will hold the book together on the niche part. Depending on the book you might want to clamp it or rubber band it to dry. Some books are heavy enough and the weight of the pages and covers will suffice.