- Arts and Design
About Altered Books
People have been altering books for many years, however in the last 10 years this became a more well known Art. It is fascinating to see what amazing works of art can be created out of an old book that is falling apart.
Have you ever wondered how an Altered Book is made ?
There are many ways to make an altered book, you can start out with an old book and alter it using your artist skills, you can start with a blank board book and paint it with gesso then decorate it or you can alter a large second hand dictionary or encyclopedia. Read on to find out everything you need to know
Photo Credit; Copyright Di McDonald 2012-2014
What is an Altered Book? - Art work by Carolyn Stephens copyright 2012
The International Society of Altered Book Artists defines an altered book as "any book, old or new that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art.
Altered books are unloved, discarded books that are turned into works of art.
They can be part scrapbook, part art journal, part canvas, part mad experiment.
Altered books are a creative means of exploring your world. You have complete freedom to create something unique while recycling.
The photo is of the front cover of an Altered Book created for our round robin by Carolyn Stephens copyright 2012. This is an excellent example of an Altered Book. As you can see , she has cut a niche in the book and used hinges to make a doorway. Inside the doorway you will find real magic, if you dare to open it.
An Altered Book is:
An Altered Book Is: - Photo Credit: Copyright Di McDonald 2012
1: A book which has been Altered (changed) into a piece of ART by painting, drawing, gluing stuff on, stamping,or beading over the print, collaging onto the pages or cutting a niche and putting items into it.
2: There are no rules in making an altered book so the pages can be cut, folded, glued together and you can cut niches into the book
3: The pages can be covered with fabric, polymer clay, you can make textile pieces and pockets and put hidden messages in your altered book
4: The main thing is to have fun and let your creative side come alive!
Make an Altered Book : Part 1 Getting Started.
Use a childrens board book to make an Altered Book.
Use a childrens board book to make an Altered Book. - Art Work by Pam Grose copyright 2012
One of the easiest ways to make an Altered Book is to start with a children's Board Book. If you are just starting with Altered Books , this is how I recommend you start. I would also choose one that is quite small. That way to task ahead will not be too daunting for you.
You can usually get these books on sale, or at your local dollar store..
Using a board book saves hours of gluing pages together. These books have very thick pages, so they tend to hold together better in the long run as well.
What you do is use Gesso ( gesso is a white primer that you can buy at any art supplies shop) to paint over the shiny pages to start with. This gives the page some "tooth". This means that the paint has something to adhere to. Next you can use acrylic paint and other techniques to get the background of your page finished before adding ephemera and other items to give the page a focal point.
Some people say that you need to give the pages a light sanding first, before you gesso it, but I have never done that and never had a problem.
The picture shown is one of Pam's pages in our round robin. She used printed tissue paper and paint to make this wonderful page
Have You Thought about Making an Altered Book?
Have you thought about making an Altered Book?
Why would you want to create an Altered Book?
Why would you want to create an Altered Book? - Pam Grose Art Work copyright 2012
Altered Books are a popular way to creatively share words and images and artistic expressions .
Altered Books are a fun and enjoyable way to create new books and journal from old books. By removing pages and painting layouts, unique creations may be made from books, which currently lay on the shelves collecting dust.
Altered books are a popular trend among artists using drawing, painting, collage, as well as other skills like stitching and carving!
This pictures is of a beautiful felted wrap around cover that Pam made for her own Altered Book. It was just gorgeous.
My Experiences with Altered Book Round Robins
My Experiences with Altered Book Round Robins - Art Work By Pam Grose, Photo credit Di McDonald 2012
I was introduced to Altered Books before they became a mainstream art. I was very fascinated with them and interested to know more about them.
I started a yahoo group and invited some friends of mine who were Fiber Art Dolls Designers.They were keen to explore different mixed media art as a hobby, because their dolls were their main job.
We started doing Altered Book Round Robins, where we would choose a theme for our books, then each start our own book. Every month or so we would send our own book to the next person on the list to do their thing in our books. Usually we would do a couple of double page spreads in each Altered book, then send it to the next person.
At the same time we would receive a book from another artist and would have to tune our creativity into their chosen theme and work in their books.
This was a sometimes daunting task and it was also so exciting to see what others were doing and learn new techniques.
Finally the time came to get our own Altered books back. What an exciting time it was. Once in a while we would be a bit disappointed about work done in our book, but most of the time we were thrilled and so grateful for the beautiful art work that we got to keep for the rest of our lives.
Usually the people in the group would be living all around the world, some in New Zealand, some in USA, some in Australia. As well as working on the books we would converse via the internet and really get to know each other well. We would discuss our experiences in the art world and help each other out and encourage and support each other.
The whole experience became one that we all cherished and enjoyed. I organized a number of these groups and invited artists who I thought would be interesting , and would be able to be committed to the projects. I would encourage everyone to give this type of art a go, its so much fun
Which Book Is Your Favorite?
Which Book Is Your Favorite? - Altered Book Arts
Which Book Would You Most Like To Own
Here are some Altered Book Ideas and Themes
Here are some Altered Book Ideas and Themes - This is my art work in someone elses altered book copyright Di McDonald 2012
I have found that if you decide on a theme for your Altered Book, it really helps to give you direction and focus.
Here is a list of themes you could choose from for your Altered Book
Countries ( choose any country)
Change my life
Winter, Autumn, Spring, Summer
Memories from childhood
Law of attraction
What do I want
Create a new life
Altered Book Techniques
Altered Book Techniques - My Art Work in someone elses Altered Book copyright Di McDonald 2012
Altered Book Techniques
Here are some wonderful places to learn techniques for making Altered Books. Enjoy!
How to make an Altered Book.
How to make an Altered Book. - Artwork by Pam Grose copyright 2012
How to make an Altered Book.
Here are some great places to find out heaps of information about how to make an Altered Book
Altered Books Gallery
Altered Books Gallery - Jill Maas art work copyright 2012
More Altered Book Ideas
For several years now I thought I was done with the concept of an altered book, but then I hadn't seen or read Gabe Cyr's book until this summer. Gabe puts to shame other authors who have come along and offered us formularic ways in which to create--to alter--by intoxicating us with new paths, stimulating our senses and re-invigorating this old dog into thinking once more of reclaiming a tired, discarded friend and turning her into a piece of art.
Her steps are easy to follow, but she doesn't instruct so much as lead one along a path to one's own creative urges and juices. It is this ability to arouse the creative urge and the plethora of eye candy she has included in the book that makes this among the best books on the subject of altered books!
If you want to learn, or regain your excitement about altered books, this is the book to own!
Videos showing Altered Books
I find it much easier to learn things by watching videos then reading books as I am a visual person. If you are like me you will enjoy the videos I have provided here for you.
Altered book Cover using Kitchen Caulk
Some ideas about making Altered Books
My Altered Book Begins by Gary Reef
This is a bit slow to start with, but is worth the wait:-)