Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Birth of an Altered Book

I am taking Elizabeth's online class for making an altered book... a thing I wanted to do for so long and not quite had the courage or the knowledge or the determination to 'destroy' a book.  See... I am old school (as opposed to just plain old) and scribbling in books, tearing pages out of books and generally not being kind to books is a big no-no... so I knew I would have a few moments of trepidation and went forth to the thrift store to get a book... which isn't so bad really, because if it is in the thrift store it is already unloved and unwanted right?  I picked a few up that I hoped would survive the Elizabeth test of AB-ness... which involved inspecting it for how it was made and bending the spine back on itself as though it were a limbo dancer on crack...
I chose a dictionary... a very fat dictionary and I think it passed all the spot checks including the spine bending thing.
but it didn't have a nice material cover and it was exceedingly shiny... so I thought I would give it a quick sand down to see if that helped... and I was a bit vigorous with the sanding on the spine bit where the covers are attached... but hey ho... Elizabeth said that she Gesso's her covers as they get pretty messy whilst the altering of the inside goes on... but she also said that we didn't need to use Gesso and cheap paint would do... 
So I followed the class and prepped the pages... which involved removing a big heap of them!! Eeek... but it's ok, there are still more than enough left in the book!!
See?  Plenty left to play with and I even remembered to band off the niche section at the back!! (In fact, if I have to do something on all those pages I'm thinking another few hundred need to be removed because otherwise I am going to be 90 before the darn thing is finished...
and the paint was there and the book was there... so I painted it.  Doesn't look very pretty does it?  
So I gave it another coat with the hope that it would become something I would like to work in... but it didn't...
a coat of black paint didn't improve things that much... and it was obvious that my over zealous sanding had compromised the fold of the covers.... hmmmm... no problem... on a shelf high above my head was a box with 7Gypsies book binding tape in it!!
Would you look at that... it looks like a real book!! ;)
and the black paint was on my desk... and the tissue paper was handy... so I had a little play...
then I thought it would look cool if it had studs all around the edge...
and then I distresses the cover with copper and gold inks and weathered the studs...
and gave it a fine glitter glue coat to protect while I worked in it...
and the box of 7Gypsies stuff was still sitting near the desk so I added an escutcheon and door knob... and a title for the theme of my book...
Yep, Elizabeth is gonna wrap my knuckles hard with a wooden ruler... was only supposed to prep the inside... but I couldn't work in a book with an ugly cover... it wouldn't help with my mojo... I'll try and keep it as clean as I can... ;)


  1. Well done! Remember there are no rules lol. I had to buy doubles of several books at the dollar store before I found one suitable. Doubles because I needed one to read and one to alter lol. I'm old school too.

  2. LOL ! I love the torment you went through. I could relate. I do love your cover. If you have trouble because you finished it first consider it part of the lesson. Besides it's your book.

  3. I love your book already! I have altered three books - one for me, one for my daughter and one for my son and his wife. I can tell you that I love, love, love those books. And they are full of my love for others. So, I think the books are much happier in their new incarnation. Don't you agree?

  4. Stunning cover Annette.

    How very brave of you to actually manage to tear pages out of a book...I think I'd need to lay down just at the thought of it LOL

    Toni xx

  5. I have got as far as buying my book at a thrift store too...I am in your camp with the cover with you on that it is just not what you did to it too. Very inspiring.

  6. Wow I LOVE that cover ...fascinated by every step.xx

  7. Wow that's fabulous Annette can't wait to see how you alter the insides!

  8. LOL just think of it as getting a bit ahead. You certainly got over your dread of doing anything to the book.

  9. I'm old school as well but altered books are sooo very interesting. I am also in E's AB class and I'm ready for the next step. Your book cover is wonderful. I know your entire AB will be just as good. Look forward to seeing more of your AB.

  10. Wow - you're jumping ahead! Your cover looks amazing, love the way you rescued the spine.

  11. Oh, I see, you're one of those 'work ahead and get a jump on things' type of people, huh? I'm in the class too and eagerly awaiting the next lesson, but now that you've broken the ice, maybe I'll play around just a bit with my cover. hmmmm.
    BTW, yours is stunning, like well worn leather. Can't wait to see the insides!

  12. I promise not to wrap your knuckles. YOU are the one who is going to be sorry you added that escutcheon and door knob before too long. That stuff is only going to get in the way. But if you are willing to break the rules, be prepared to suffer (or appreciate) the consequences (grin).

    It's too bad it's so early in the game. After you figure out how to position your book when you make your niche, you may come back and remove that door knob until the end of the class.

    Of course, it is a gorgeous cover. And that door knob is beautiful!!

  13. Do you think Elizabeth will make you go and sit in the naughty corner for jumping the gun? Hope not as your cover is lovely to see.
    Being a good girl I have only taken out the pages but not sure now that my book is big enough for what I want to do so it may mean another trip to the charity shops. Looking forward to seeing what else you do to your book and if the cover is anything to go by it will be a stunner.

  14. wow, you're a fast worker! and your cover is awesome! i'm still trying to figure out where to get those clamps!

  15. I'm in Elizabeth's class, too. I had those same misgivings about tearing out pages, etc, but once I saw some of her finished book, I knew the old discards I found would be much happier! Your cover is pretty and it was fun to read how you did it.

  16. Bravo! i love it already. i had every intention of making an altered book with Elizabeth and Blue . . . but i have a billion things going on, so i am reading along every week and being creative "vicariously".
    but the cover to your altered book is terrific! can't wait to see the rest.

  17. This is fabulous-can't wait to see the rest of it!

  18. your book cover turned out fabulous! have fun with the altering...if the inside turns out as wonderful as the cover, it will be truly marvelous...

  19. I'm doing the class with you and I have to say I love the front cover you made for it, I am dying to do my cover too but I'm afraid of stepping out on my own, but then I don't send Elizabeth such beautiful like you do! lol waving from the hills of North Carolina :)

  20. WOW you really nailed the front cover I'm so jealous.
    I'm still in bits I had a problem with tearing the pages out too. After I had a felt like I should have read it first... too late now.

  21. Ah! Your cover is fabulous! Love the escutcheon (hey, I didn't look that up in a dictionary, but I sure wish I could have found one to alter!). I reckon that doorknob is going to get in the way, along the way, hehe, but you already know that, don't you?
    I'm soooo oooooooooold schoooool toooo. I have wanted to alter books for ages and has taken me this long to work up the courage. I've spent an inordinate amount of time haunting the op shops looking for suitable book victims (and bending their spines while no one was looking, hopefully). So, here goes ...


Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment, it is truly appreciated - sort of confirms that it is more than my Mum and husband that read this thing! :)