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Altered books - Introduction to the series

Because of a couple of really nice comments I received when I shared a spread that I did in one of my altered books, I've decided that it's past time to revisit them.  Since I started creating altered books long before I started blogging, there are lots of techniques in these books that I've never shared.  So today starts a new series!

If you'd like an overview on altered books, or any other aspect of book arts that we've covered here, my link to those posts can always be found over in the side bar:  Book Arts Techniques.  Here you'll find lots of basic information, including an explanation of why anyone would want to cut up a perfectly good book!  There are also some tutorials on simple bookbinding techniques for those who would prefer to make their own book totally from scratch.  For those who don't want to read all this background information, here's all you really need to know about altered books:

1. Pick a book to alter. You probably want one with sewn pages instead of glued and with a good strong spine.

2. Rip out a few pages. Scribble on a few pages. Glue a few pages together. Paint on a few.  Wait for the lightning to strike you. Be surprised that it doesn’t come.

3. Start to add pictures, paint, sew, write, draw…do whatever you want. Since you have solved the problem of the blank canvas (see #2 above), you may find this is easier than you thought it would be!

I'm going to use one of my very first altered books to show you a few different techniques you can use for creating "spreads".  A spread is simply the two pages that show when you open your book to any given point.  For all of my spreads, I glued about 4 or 5 pages together to give them some strength.  I also ripped out a few pages on either side of the spread so that there would be enough room for the book to close at least a little bit when finished.  Altered books are notorious for not closing, and this is part of their charm, so don't worry about it too much :-)

You can work on a single page at a time rather than on a two page spread if you prefer.  It's entirely up to you.  There really aren't any rules when it comes to altered book other than to have fun.  I picked a theme, but you don't have to.  This book that I'll be using to illustrate techniques is one that I created as a prayer and meditation journal, focusing on specific passages of scripture that I wanted to think about.  You can choose any topic or theme that appeals to doesn't have to be deep. 

Tomorrow I'll start sharing page and spread techniques with you that you might want to try in your own book.  Get ready now by choosing a book to alter and gluing a few pages together!  Here's a list of the basic materials that you'll need for book altering:

Materials and Tools

Glue stick
Scissors or exacto blade
Acrylic paints
Acrylic gel medium or PVA glue
Foam or regular brushes
Black pens (I like the Pitt pen by Faber-Castell) or other colors
A book to alter
Additional pages of text, images, decorative papers, fabrics
Any other optional supplies you'd like: stamps, sewing supplies, bone folder, Pearl Ex powders
Fixative spray, Dorland's wax, and/or waxed paper

Part One: Introduction to altered books
Part Two: Mixed text technique
Part Three: Blending in an image
Part Four: Nesting pages
Part Five: Adding tabs
Part Six: Making a frame
Part Seven: Slicing up an image
Part Eight: Foil lettering
Part Nine: Doors and other flaps

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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