No more pencils, no more books . . . It’s the end of the school year, and I’m making an exception to “no more books” to show you how to DIY an Altered Book the easy way. You can use an old textbook, or other hardback book to make your Mixed Media, Altered Book. The thicker the book, the deeper your “pocket” for displaying treasures. The shortcut for making an easy Altered Book is to remove all of the pages and replace them with a piece of STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam. It’s so much easier than carefully and precisely cutting through hundreds of pages. Here’s another idea – wouldn’t a custom, Altered Book make a special graduation gift?
To make a Mixed Media, Altered Book, you’ll need:
- STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 1-1/2” x 12” x 36” (or other thickness to match the thickness of your book)
- Old book, approximately 1-1/2” thick between the covers (if you don’t have one handy, your local dollar store should have a nice selection)
- Antique-finish parchment paper, three sheets
- Acrylic spackling or premixed tile grout
- Sand paper, fine grit
- Acrylic paint to match parchment paper
- Gel stain medium
- Embellishments, 1-1/2” wide or smaller: Charms, game pieces, sewing notions, old photos, silk flowers, postage stamps, etc.
- Glue dots
- Thick, white craft glue
- Low-temp glue gun
- Tools needed: Scissors: straight edge and deckle edge; serrated knife; old candle or bar of soap; fine-line, permanent marker; ruler; disposable mixing bowl, spoon & palette; medium flat paintbrush.
To make a Mixed Media, Altered Book:
1. Carefully remove pages from the book while preserving the binding. Use a page as a template, and trace around it on the foam sheet with the ruler and marker. Wax serrated knife with candle stub or paraffin, and cut out the foam rectangle. Mark a 1” border on each side, and cut the center from the rectangle. Use scrap foam to sand all cut edges smooth.
2. Slightly thin the spackling or tile grout with water. Paint the inside and outside edges of the foam “frame” with the thinned tile grout. Let dry and sand smooth. Repeat.
3. Paint the top, bottom and right-hand edges with spackling or grout that has not been thinned. These are the edges that will appear to be pages when placed in the book. Use the edge of a knife to create “page” lines on the three edges. Let dry.
4. Paint the foam frame and let dry. Apply gel stain, wiping away to create the desired effect. Let dry.
5. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the foam frame. Place the parchment “page” on the frame, and carefully cut out the opening to match the frame. Glue the parchment page to the foam frame, aligning all edges.
6. Cut two more book pages from the parchment paper, adding an extra ½” on the left-hand side. Barely trim all edges on the top, bottom and right-hand side with deckle-edge scissors. Don’t cut too deeply, to keep the pages close to full size.
7. Make a ½” fold along the left-hand side of the two pages. Glue pages along the left-hand edge of the foam frame. Insert the frame into the book cover, gluing it to the inside back cover and the binding. Close book, weight down and let dry completely.
8. Thin gel stain slightly with water and apply around window opening. Apply mixture to pages and inside front cover to give a vintage look.
9. Using glue dots, adhere the two extra pages to the left-hand book cover.
10. Arrange and glue embellishments, quotes, photos or other desired memorabilia inside book.
Now, what do you do with the leftover book pages? How about making a Vintage, Book Page Wreath?
Or, DIY the Springtime Book Page Roses Wreath.
Patty Schaffer has one more idea for you — a Valentine’s Day Wall Hanging made with book page hearts.
I really love the idea of making an Altered Book. For one, it’s unexpected, and it’s fun to plan the display you’ll tuck into the little, surprise nook in the center of the book. And two, this technique makes it easy to do. In fact, I made my own variation which I’ll share later this week. See you then!