Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to make a complete altered Book

I got the book in a charity shop; it was one of a run of printed classics so it was not valuable so it was OK to cut it up

Because the book has a  distressed look I decided to keep an aged feel to the contents -  

I removed some of the signatures and glued the remaining pages together in twos.

After that I covered the pages with white gesso, I had to have two goes with the gesso, the first lot stayed tacky but it was very old and had been very cheap.

So I bought a new branded pot Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic gesso primer and that worked

I used a photo copy of the first
Babbage computer and added a doll's fabric face as I wanted to try
cutting an insert in the cover

I added a title with some photocopied clip art alphabets

"A Little Book of Here Now -  Past and Present"

It sank into the background so I did thin gesso washes over the cover and darkened the face; one of  the eyes did not take the colour but I decided to keep it - even though my husband hated it in either version and thought it was horrible and creepy.

The first spread has image transfers - using clear tape over  photocopies; when dampened you can peel off the white background paper and add the black and white image to the page on its now transparent background using acrylic matt gel medium -

The sepia toned piece on the right hand side is an atc trading card with a peeling paint background and image transfers, with collaged letters.

The top double page spread has image transferred text and images with collaged lettering. The border is a black and white medieval border,  coloured, scanned and reduced to size. 

The second spread  uses the same methods with the page tinted with an acrylic wash and the lettering image transferred over a "gold" acrylic paint background. The borders are black and white borders cut out and tinted green.

The first double spread has the tinted borders again and image transfers. I coloured a large capital to start the text to keep the Medieval feel

The next spread has ATC cards again with peeling paint background under collage and image transfers.

The "Illuminated Capital" is an image transfer to introduce the image trnasferred text. I found the quotations about past and present on the internet and used those

The other pages were done in the same way, playing with collage elements, borders and illuminated capitals

I added colour to some elements with coloured pencils


Using coloured pencils on the photocopuies and then image transferring the images gave a subtle tint to the  images

The sea creature is a tinted image transfer and so is  the tree of knowledge below, while the stained glass is coloured pencil over the photocopies with the images transferred on with the background intact.

On the right originals of some of the dover images on clip art pages are illustrated, including an example of one of the page borders before colouring


  1. Beautiful book and great descriptions of your process! I love altered books!

  2. I love seeing your process. Beautiful and inspiring!