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What you will need:

– A Hard Cover Book to alter – if you don’t have one -Thrift Stores often have hard cover books for a dollar or less.

– Something to stick things down with – I use all types of things when gluing, Mod Podge, White Glue, Double Stick Adhesive, you can use whatever works for you.

– Mod Podge to seal your Masterpiece

– Acrylic paints, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, markers, and pens to doodle with and to add color

– Anything that you would like to use to collage – virtually almost anything can be used in a collage. My favorites are pictures from old books, vintage jewelry, and patterned textured paper.

How it works:

An altered book is an artist-made book recycled and modified into something new in appearance, and meaning. An altered book offers a long-term art-making process for healing. Altered books can be used to work through long standing emotional issues, to change unhelpful psychological patterns of belief, and to find and cultivate new strengths. Altered books can be joyfully made to help climb out of depressive cycles and to cultivate inspiration.

Literally and metaphorically, altered books can be closed when emotions or memories feel too intense, and opened and worked upon at a later time when the timing is right for healing. When working through long standing psychological patterns, altered books can sometimes be shelved and restarted weeks, months, and even years later.

1. Choose a strong and durable book to alter. Hardcover books work the best, especially those with pages sewn rather than glued. If you are using an old book check the pages to see that they are strong enough to withstand layers of paint and glue. Choose a book that inspires you, especially if you are planning to leave words peeking through your backgrounds and want to spontaneously underline passages. If you are planning to cover all of the pages up it will not matter what kind of book you choose – as long as it is sturdy.

2. Cut out and remove some of the pages from your book with an exacto knife, so that when your pages swell with paint and collage the book will fit into its cover without bulging. Save some of your pages to collage back into your altered book later.

3. Glue pages together to form a stronger page base for your artwork. Depending on the thickness of your pages, you might want to glue together anywhere from 2-10 pages.

4.Get ready to Collage – you can prepare your background with collaged patterned paper, and then slightly obscure your collage items with paint. You can virtually do anything that sparks your imagination and if you need help you can always email me for some ideas.

5, Create Your Page Spread – Using both the right and left side of your page create one unified page spread and then begin spontaneously adding foreground elements to your background.

 Some ideas for Creating Your Pages:

 – Doodling – Start with a line drawing on top of the words on your page – allow your unconscious mind to influence your drawing.

Underlining and Circling Words – Using different colored markers, pencil crayons and pens emphasize words and phrases that strike you as emotionally powerful.

Black and White Photocopies – Patterns, vintage stock illustrations, music sheets, things found in nature all can provide contrast, symbolism, and strength to your page spreads.

Tissue Paper – Tissue Paper adds transparency, veiling, and obscuring certain elements of your page spread.

6. Make Your Altered Book Cover – Altered book covers can be painted, collaged, covered in fabric. Old hardcover books often have carved covers that can be painted and further textured. Book covers can be 3-D and embellished with beads, ribbons, buttons, old keys, lace, dried leaves and flowers – the possibilities are endless.


Remember while you are creating to not think to much into it – go with your instincts, it is ok to let go.