Altered books

These are the 6 books I am working on at the moment, all bought from charity shops.


I am working on them in the ‘Art Journal’ style, which I love , but I will be using them as albums. I have learnt so much from the generosity of other bloggers and I’m sharing some of the tips here – sadly I have not recorded where each tip came from, but most will probably be from the creative blogs listed in the Blogroll on the right.

The photo albums are for each of my 8 grandchildren, containing all the cards, photos and little notes that are sent to them at their Christenings. (2 done, 6 to go) ! I also include some family photos and the family tree.

Rufus (now 3) loves motorbikes so his cards are going in ‘Classic Bikes’.

I have already done Rocket Ru’s, his brother Bertie’s will be in the Winnie-the-pooh book because his Mum LOVES Pooh bear.

altered books

I work on several at once, first I take out the centres of the groups of pages sewn to the spine


as there needs to be room for all the cards and collage that will go into the album.

When I first started doing this it felt so wrong to be tearing up books and painting over text – but I am giving them a new life – and fits with my obsessive need to recycle as much as I POSSIBLY can.


I use Gesso to cover the text. Hence needing to work on several at a time allowing drying time, between pages.

Gesso has a slightly rough surface when it dries and provides a better key for acrylic paint than the shiny surface of the printed page.


There is no need to cover the text completely.



I use acrylic paint and a really good tip I got from a painting course years ago, is to put just a little water under greaseproof paper and then use this as the palette, it stops the paint drying quickly.



Having Gessoed the books, I can paint in several books at once to start building up the colours and textures. And using a home made stamp of chevrons I also try it out on all sorts of other papers to build up a supply for collage.


A closer look at one of the first pages in Rufus’s book.

6 responses to “Altered books

  1. Pingback: Preparation | stonechat

  2. Very creative way to recycle old books ‘n stuff!


  3. Great handy tips and ideas, recently interested in this form of art and tempted to have a go


    • So good to know you find this a helpful post – go on, have a go! – it’s fun and very freeing just to be playing with paint and trying out ideas. If things don’t work out you just paint over the bits you don’t like and start again – which all adds to the look. Thanks so much for dropping by.


I love your comments, keep'em coming :-)

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