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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Prepping Altered Books


Prepping Altered Books


Preparing your book starts with the choice of your book. You need to be sure that the book you use will stand up to the techniques and alterations that you will do. 

Using old books is a perfect recycling idea for junk journals as well as art journals. The first thing to consider when altering and prepping an old book is the spine. You want to use a book that has a sewn spine rather than a glued spine. Look for the sewn sections (or signatures. The more stitches the better the book will hold up to the things you will add to it.. 

The book needs to have sections (called signatures) that are sewn. To check the construction of the book, hold the book up so you can see the inner part of the spine where the pages touch it. If you can see the page sections clearly then it was stitched. 

Start with any dust that may be on your book. Wipe the book down with a clean cloth.

To get the pages and the book moving a bit, open the book and flex some of the pages.

Removing Pages From The Book

You will want to remove some of the pages from your book. That will give you room for the thickness of the pages that you are going to create. 

Before you start removing pages, look through your book. You may find some illustrations that you may want to keep. Mark those pages with a paper clip or a post-it note.

You will need a lead pencil and a small craft knife for the next step. 
  • Select 4 pages from your book
  • The middle two pages will be cut close to the spine leaving about 1/2 " of the page (1.5 cm)
  • The two outer pages are marked with a "g" with your pencil
  • These two pages will be glued.
  • Move through the book, removing additional pages, and marking the others with the "G"
Hang onto the removed pages. They can be used later for all kinds of embellishments. For the tome being, set them aside.

Gluing The Pages

Gluing some of the pages will give you a more solid base for your pages. You can use a gel medium for this part of the process. It sticks well, but it takes some time to dry. So you need some patience.
  • Brush the glue along the middle of the two pages that you marked with the "G"
  • Then ease the two pages together.
  • Then coat the outside of the stumps and one whole page that is to be stuck together.
  • Carefully ease the second page up, starting from the spine out
  • Work from the middle out removing bubbles as you go
Remember that the pages must be stuck on right angles to the spine. That way the book will close properly.
  • Repeat the process with one or two more sets of pages
  • Then close the book and place it on a flat surface
  • Sit something heavy on it and allow it to dry
  • You may need to open the pages and allow it to dry
Tip-You can use parchment or waxed paper between pages while they are drying to keep them from sticking to each other.

Adding Gesso To The Pages

Gesso is a medium that adds strength to your pages. In the case of altered books, it helps make the print on your pages go white. It also comes in black and clear. It is especially good as a basic layer under acrylic paints. It will help with other mediums too. You will want to choose a medium thickness of Gesso for general use.

Now you are ready to start either creating a junk journal or an art journal!

We have included some items which will be helpful for this project. Some of these items may have a commission at no cost to you. These commissions are used to enhance this community, We appreciate your support,

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