This is a simple introduction to altered books plus information on reference books and on-line information.
Look for older books in Thrift Shops or at Library book sales. Older books have heavier pages. Really really old books don’t work because their pages are wafer thin. Older books are generally “sewn” together, and this makes a better altered book than pages that are glued together. Newer books are glued. Look for books that might fit a theme you have in mind. Text books are a good choice. In fact any book (from ledgers to children’s board books) can be turned into an altered book.
If you open your book you can see this book has sewn pages (or signatures)
Because you are adding material to your book you must eliminate pages to compensate. I sometimes eliminate 5 pages for everyone I keep in. You need to glue a few pages together to support the weight of the items you are adding to your book. Even putting a layer of paint on your book thickens it by 3 pages. Spread the glue evenly with an old credit card then put sheets of wax paper between the pages, weigh them down until they dry. Now you are ready to have fun.
Through experience I have found these are the glues that work best.
Plaid Mod Podge as a waterbase sealer, glue and finish. Glue your collages onto your pages with this.
Liquitex Matte Gel. Use as above . It has a matte finish.
Golden Gel Mediums Clear Tar Gel. Use this to glue your pages for the least amount of wrinkling. I have experimented with many glues and found this works better. NEVER NEVER USE A GLUE STICK. You’ll be sorry. Over time your pages and what you have glued on them will come apart.
If you are painting your pages look for Artists’ Pigment at your craft store. It has the cleanest colours and the least amount of water. Your pages want wrinkle as much if you use Artist’s Pigments.
These are your BASIC instructions. You can put a thousand things in your book. You can paint, use pastels, cryons, pages from other books, old cards, almost anything.
You can fold, punch and sew you books. You can use fabric, and jewellery and on and on and on.
Three books that will be an enormous help to you are
ALTERED ART by Terry Taylor
ALTERED BOOK COLLAGE by Barbara Matthiessen
ALTERED BOOKS WORKSHOP by Bev Brazelton
If you Google Altered Books on-line you’ll find detailed instructions and lots of ideas. Google Altered Books images and you will end up spending delightful hours looking at other peoples creations.
The hardest thing about doing an Altered Book is starting it. You are not destroying a book. You are giving it another life. And generally you are saving it from the landfill or paper recycling.