How To Make an Altered Book

Ever thought of what to do with your old books? There's a new crafty trend to turn them into works of art! Children's books, encyclopedias and even mystery novels can all be easily transformed into ‘altered books'. People use altered books to display small treasures and collectibles. If you like this idea and you've got a bit of a crafty side to you, follow these instructions on how to create your very own altered book.

Step 1

Gather your supplies. In order to make this project, you'll need the following:

  • Hardcover book
  • Sandpaper
  • Paper towels
  • Glue
  • Large manila folder
  • Sharp knife
  • Craft primer (such as Gesso)
  • Paint / paintbrushes
  • Embellishments (ribbon / transfers / stamps / beads, etc.)

Step 2

Sand the pages of the book. Before you can begin to create and decorate your altered book, you first need to prepare it. Start by running sandpaper over the edges of all the pages of the book. You may also want to sand the cover of the book if you find that it is too shiny for paint to stick to. Blow off the dust afterward.

Step 3

Paint the cover. Next, you should prep the book for painting by covering the entire thing with a primer (try Gesso - it's a great craft paint primer.) Paint the front and back cover of the book, along with the spine with primer. Once that is dry, open up the book to the very center pages, and paint over those as well. (If you don't want the paint to seep down the sides of your altered book, use some painters tape to cover the edges.)

Step 4

Cut the folder. Once the paint is dry, you can begin to create the look and feel of the inside of your book. This is what you'll need the sturdy manila folder for. Cut it to the exact size of the center pages of your altered book. Then remove it and, using a ruler, draw large square on the folder that you will then use as a guidelines to help you cut out the ‘windows' (or cavities) in your altered book.

Step 5

Transfer the window guidelines onto your book. Once you have determined where you want your windows to be on your altered book, use your sharp knife to cut out the windows. You need to cut directly through the pages of your book to the depth that you want. Each window can be a different depth. Think of what you want to put in each window, and then carve out the depth accordingly.

Step 6

Prime and paint the windows. Once your windows are cut out of your altered book, paint them (prime first if you want). Paint only the areas exposed inside of the windows. Then, paint the outside edges of the book as well, allowing the book to try with the pages fanned out and not touching so that they won't dry together.

Step 7

Glue the pages together. Once the paint has dried, decide which pages of your altered book you want to join together. Spread glue on them and secure them tightly together with a clip until the glue dries. (Any extra or dripping glue should be wiped away with a paper towel.)

Step 8

Decorate your altered book. Once you have created your windows, your altered book is ready to decorate. Start with a base coat of paint on your cover and center pages. Then add any embellishments you want to make a truly unique altered book.


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