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Altered Book Tips and Inspiration

An altered book is a book that artists “alter” or change using various art and craft techniques to create an object of art.

Altered Book

  • Find books for altering at library sales, thrift shops, garage sales, flea markets, and from family and friends. At first it might be tough to “damage” a good book, but remember you are creating art.
  • Your altered book might focus on a subject, theme, or be a random act of creativity. The book can remain close-able or create it as an open book (like a centerpiece).
  • Simply add your own page(s) to a book. Cover a page of the book with white paper and start creating.
  • Rip and tear pages, then add your own touch. A craft knife with sharp blade is best if cutting windows or removing several pages of the book at one time.
  • Paint or ink page(s). Brush, sponge, dab on paint. Smear, blot, or tap on ink.
  • Cut out a shelf or hole in the book. Cut out and then adhere pages together to create the shelf or hole.
  • Punch some pages. Ink or paint a frame around punched shapes or place contrasting color of paper to highlight the punched shape.
  • Use fun embellishments to decorate or collage: buttons, fabric, lace, game pieces, puzzle pieces, metal,
  • Use mulberry paper, handmade paper, photos, magazine pictures, tissue paper, photocopied memorabilia, vellum, wall paper scraps, and decorative papers.
  • Add to the book’s front/cover. Paint it. Collage it. Drill a hole and add a dangling charm or grouping of ribbon.
  • Add stickers, ribbon, rubberstamped images, coins, beads, glitter, or glass slide.
  • Antique it with metallic rub, paint wash, sanding, denting, tea staining, or water marks.
  • Write, doodle, and draw on pages. Use watercolor and colored pencils, fountain ink, markers, and calligraphy pens.


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