How to Make an Altered Book with a Drawer
Make A Romantic Era Altered Book for Your Loved One
Using pictures, text and a video demonstration, this article shows you how to make a romantic themed altered book with a drawer in which you can tuck romantic items and poetry.
Why not make that special someone a romantic altered book for a Valentine's Day gift or a birthday gift, or as a gift just because you feel sentimental? Beautiful, hand made works of art are bound to please and bring a smile to the face of your loved one.
This article shows you, step by step, how to make an altered book similar to the one in the picture. For those who prefer video, I have included a video demonstrating how I put this book together.
This altered book's theme is "Romantic Era", and it contains a pull-out drawer into which you can tuck a love letter or other treasure.
The drawer in this book contains a love poem, How do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Of course, you would write your own poem or love letter if you are so inclined.
Photo Credits: June Campbell
Poll: What would YOU put in the Drawer?
Pictures of the Front and Back
The first two pictures show the front cover of this altered book.
The third picture is the back of the book. It has a strip of brown lace, and a romantic image cut from Graphic 45 paper. The image is bordered with brown edging.
Romantic Altered Book with Drawer Open
Back of Romantic Altered Book
Amazon: Liquidex Medium and Varnish - A Good Choice
This product is a good choice for gluing pages together in altered books. Since it is a medium, you can use it for other purposes as well. Gold's medium is also excellent, although more costly than Liquidex.
This is what you will need.
- 1 hard cover book with a strong spine
- 1 or 2 craft knives or Xacto knives
- Box top, box, tin or other item that you will use for the drawer. Alternatively, you can use a template to create a box to use for this purpose.
- Pencil or pen for marking your cutting area
- Acrylic medium such as Liquidex to use a glue
- Acrylic paint, black
- Paintbrush or sponge brush
- Clamps, optional
- Scrapbook paper or other paper with romantic theme
- Bead or brad to use as knob on drawer (optional)
- Miscellaneous items to use as embellishments. On my book, I used wedding favor shoes, fabric flowers, a plastic bird, lace, pearl beads, pearl earrings, a hatpin, ribbon and a strip of black lace.
- Vellum for printing the love poem or love letter.
Choosing a Book
First, select a suitable hard cover book to use. Your ideal book will be the size you want, and thick enough to hold a drawer. Be sure to choose a book with a strong spine.
Tip: Many people find that Reader's Digest books are not hardy enough, despite being an ideal size and shape for many altered book projects.
You can find old books in used book stores, yard sales, library sales, flea markets or by asking your friends and family to give you old books that are being discarded.
Mark the Cutting Area for your Drawer
Choose a box, tin, or lid of a box that you want to use for a drawer. Obviously, this item must be small enough to fit in the book. Plan to leave some space on both sides and the back, or your book is likely to fall to pieces when you glue things together.
Opening the book to the pages where you want the drawer to begin, and using your chosen box or tin as a guide, draw lines that you will use for cutting. Refer to the picture for guidance.
Cut the Drawer Shape
Using craft knives or Xacto blades, cut away the pages where you want the drawers to be. This can take some time, depending on the size of the niche that you are cutting. You may need to change blades or knives as this work will dull your blades quickly.
The cut edges do not need to be perfect in this project, since they will be invisible in the finished project.
Fit the Drawer
Before you begin to glue the pages in place, try fitting your drawer shape in the opening. Make any adjustments necessary. It may be wise to cut the niche a little larger than the drawer to allow for shrinkage during drying and to to allow space for papers or paints that you may want to add for decoration.
Important to Remember!
Allow your glue or adhesive to dry thoroughly when you are gluing pages together. This can take a day or two, so plan ahead!
Glue and Clamp
Choosing the right glue is key to success. Water based glues will cause unattractive buckling. For best results, choose an acrylic medium such as liquid Liquidex or liquid Gold medium. Apply this to the pages, gluing everything in place. You do not have to glue every page individually. By applying glue to the sides and ends, you can often glue down blocks of pages.
For best results,clamp the glued pages in place, as shown in the picture. Alternatively, weight the book down with a heavy object and let the glue dry thoroughly. This may take a day or two, so be patient. Rushing this step will be disastrous!
Check in a day or so, and add additional glue as needed.
Paint the Book and Drawer
When the glue is thoroughly dry, paint the book and drawer black. I used black acrylic craft paint. Of course, you could paint it any color you want.
Apply as many coats as necessary.
Decorate with Romantic Papers and Embellishments
When the paint is dried, decorate your book as desired. I used Graphic 45 papers. Other embellishments on the top included light brown fabric edging, light brown lace, an altered wedding favor shoe, fabric flowers, pearl beads, a pear earring and a small plastic bird.
I put strips of scrapbook paper along the back of the spine.
As for the the drawer, I lined it with light brown lace. I printed a love poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning onto a piece of white vellum. I rolled the vellum into a roll, and bound it with a strip of black lace. I used white ribbon and a pearl tipped hatpin to close the poem.
I also punched a small hole in the front of the drawer, and put a long brad through a bead to use as a "knob".
Video Demonstration: Making this Altered Book
The Glass Slipper for the Top of the Book
I placed an altered wedding favor shoe on top of my book. These little shoes make wonderful little gifts by themselves, or they lend themselves to be included in various mixed media art projects.
They are sold in packages of twelve. I decorate all 12 of them at once and use them as I feel inspired to.
They are clear plastic. Simply cover them with a few colours of alcohol inks. When the ink is dry, add ribbon, fibers, flowers, beads or anything you want as decoration. I like attaching flounces of ribbon or fiber at the heels.
If giving them as gifts, you can place small baggies of microbeads, potpourri or other material inside the shoe.
Links to Helpful Sites
- The Altered Book: An Online Resource for the Altered Book Artist.
A great deal of helpful, how-to information about making altered books.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Links to love poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Free Template Maker
Make a box or drawer using this free template maker.
- Graphic 45
Graphic 45 is an award-winning scrapbook and paper crafting company. We offer vintage inspired crafting products that capture the flamboyant style of the 1920s and 30's - with vibrant color, irresistible texture and imaginative design to create prod
- *The Graphics Fairy LLC*
Plenty of beautiful vintage images that you can download and use for free.
Photos of Other Altered BooksClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2013 June Campbell