Altered Book Tutorial

This altered book tutorial only touches on the myriad of possible techniques involved in the ever changing world of altered arts.  Since I have had numerous questions regarding how to create different effects, I decided to record a double page I contributed to a book that was sent to me from Emily Townsend.  She hopes to publish this collaboration that was between several artists.

First and most importantly - There are no wrong ways in making your altered book.  It will not turn out to look like mine or anyone else's book. You have your own style.  Allow yourself to celebrate that fact and enjoy the journey of discovery.


Above is the example I will discuss. (all content/images copyrighted)

Supplies needed:

>Pick any book.  Hard backs are a good, sturdy choice.  Look in thrift stores, garage sales, etc. If you like the cover, then leave as is, or you may chose to alter the cover. If it's really thick, just rip out some pages to give it less bulk, or glue some pages together to create a heavier paper to work with.

>Gesso- any brand

>Acrylic paints

>Archival Adhesive - I use Diamond Glaze.

>Aging product - I used Walnut Ink Crystals

>Embellishments - I used German Paper Foils, beads, charms, ribbons, Rubber Stamps

>Other options - glitter, old jewelry, tiny bells, brads


#1) Some of the words on this page jumped out at me, so I applied gesso to cover all of the words except those I wanted to show.  Go with your own intuition.  Something that touches you personally leading you toward your story.


#2) I opted to paint the other page as a background for images.  I picked colors that were pleasing to me and mixed them on the page with some areas thinner than others.




 #3) This is where the story starting coming together.
 The subject seems to be formulating using the words - birth, beauty and knowing who I am.  I felt the butterfly was a fitting symbolism.  Using Diamond Glaze Adhesive, I glued German embossed foil trim and German die-cut paper butterflies.  I also used paper napkin scraps that had been separated and used only the thin upper layer for a beautiful translucent appearance.


#4) I used a beautiful image in the same color scheme and added a color wash to her dress and painted simple flowers in her hair.  A photocopy of a paper frame from an antique album was adhered to frame the image.

#5) I continued adding other embellishments in the same color family.  I always save paper towels that I have used to wipe up paints and inks.  I simply separate the layers and use the top layer for a watercolored stained glass effect.  I then added some photocopies of old sheet music.




 #6) A close up showing some of the words that inspired my story.
#7) In the final stage, I added some rubber stamp flourish images, and then the whole page received a wash of Walnut Ink.  I also cut a slit in the page under the photo and made a removable tag that I stained then added hand-dyed silk ribbon with beads threaded on the ends.  The word FLY was handwritten to complete the tag and the altered art book.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly"
- Richard Bach