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Altered Book Ideas

Sujata Iyer
Altering books is one of the most creative avenues to explore. This story will give you some fabulous ideas for making an altered book. You can use them to enhance your creativity!
When I first heard of an altered book, I was like "Whaaat??" But then a friend of mine showed me some of the books that she had altered and I knew instantly that I wanted to make one for myself! So I did! Here are some of the ideas that I used to create something new out of them. Hope you like them!

What is an Altered Book?

An altered book is, in extremely simple words, a book (preferably a discarded, used book), that has been altered. It is the art of taking this chucked book and transforming it into something beautiful using your creativity and imagination.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making altered books. Check out some craft books, you may get some wonderful ideas. Or else, just do whatever you feel will make that poor old book feel fresh and rejuvenated with an awesome idea!

Photo Album

You can preserve your photographs without having to spend on an expensive designer album. Make one yourself using an old book. 
For this, you'll need-
  • An old book with a hard cover
  • Glazed paper in different colors
  • 2 sheets of handmade paper
  • Glue stick
  • Colored sequins
  • Sketch pens or markers
  • Photographs
  • Scissors
  • Glitter glue
How you'll make it,
  • Remove the unwanted pages from the book.
  • Cut out the glazed paper as per the size of the pages in the book.
  • Stick these papers on the pages and let the book dry.
  • Make sure you don't stick two papers of the same color consecutively.
  • In the meantime, cut the handmade paper into a size that fits the cover of the book.
  • Once the glazed paper has dried, stick all your photographs on the pages.
  • Use the sketch pens to write the date and place where the picture was taken along with some wacky comments here and there.
  • Once the photographs have also dried, cover the book with the handmade paper.
  • With the sequins, glitter glue and sketch pens, make a design of your choice on the cover.
  • Your photo album is ready.

Quotes Collection

Are you bored with your drab diary that you're using for quotes? Make a gorgeous one out of an old book!
For this, you'll need,
  • An old book with about 100-150 pages
  • Dark shades of water colors
  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Glitter glue or glitter pens in different colors
  • List of your favorite famous quotes of different categories
  • Glue stick
  • Sequins, beads, lace, ribbons or any other decorative material
How you'll make it,
  • Using the water colors, give a wash to all the pages with the cotton balls.
  • Allow the pages to dry.
  • Then, stick the decorative articles on all the pages however you wish to.
  • Once they have dried, on the first page, make an index of the categories of quotes like love quotes, inspirational quotes, life quotes, etc., that you've collected.
  • Use the glitter glue or glitter pens to number the pages and write out all the quotes from your list.
  • Let the book dry.
  • Your beautiful book of quotes is ready.

Story Book

Weave your own magical tale with this crazy idea! For this, you'll need,
  • An old book with written words
  • Cut outs of people, objects places etc. from magazines, newspapers, comic books, other old books etc.
  • Glue stick
  • A set of dark crayons
  • 3-4 white crayons
This is a little time consuming and requires concentration. Here's how you do it.
  • Read the words on each page and select which words you'll be using in your story.
  • Using the white crayon, highlight these words in order to form the sentences of your story. They could be any random words, but just make sure they form sentences once highlighted.
  • Color the remaining part of the page using the dark crayons.
  • Continue coloring the pages, extending your story as you wish.
  • Stick relevant pictures on the dark-colored areas.
  • The end result will be a hilarious story book that you can gift to someone who will appreciate your sense of humor!

Design Book

This one's for students studying designing. As students, you definitely maintain a record of all the designs that you come up with. These could be related with fashion designing, interior designing or any other form of designing. You can make a fabulous design book to catalog your creations from an old book.
Here's what you'll need,
  • An old hard bound book
  • Two shades of light water colors
  • Water
  • Paint brushes or cotton balls
  • Black markers
  • Beads, sequins, lace, ribbons, fancy buttons etc.
  • Dark-colored paper of your choice to cover the book
How you'll make it,
  • First, paint all the pages with the light colors (alternating them) using the paint brushes or cotton balls.
  • After they dry, cover the book with the dark paper and decorate it with all the decorative articles that you have.
  • You can use the black marker to sketch your designs in your 'new' design book!

Secret Compartment

Need to hide a small stash of treasures? Use an old book and this idea to successfully conceal something. You'll need,
  • An old hardbound book
  • A sharp paper cutter
  • Scale (Ruler) and pencil
  • Box/Item that you want to conceal
  • Glue
  • Paint (optional)
How you'll make it,
  • First thing, you need to divide the book into two sections. Take about the first quarter of the book and glue the pages together from their sides. Let them dry.
  • Now, glue the remaining pages to the rear of the book. This way, you have the lid and the base of your case ready.
  • Now, place the item that you want to conceal on the second half of the pages and mark its outline carefully.
  • After marking, use the paper cutter to neatly cut out that section of pages from the book.
  • You'll be left with a gaping hole in the book. You can smoothen the edges of the hole.
  • Your secret compartment is ready. You can paint the two sections if you like, but then it's sure to draw some attention and then the whole 'secrecy' angle would just go out the window!
So, how do you like these altered book ideas? Are you ready to try some out for yourself? You can also involve your kids as it is a wonderful craft idea for kids and will teach them the importance of recycling as well. You can also use it for scrapbooking or as a gift idea for someone. So now you know what to do with all those old books that you were just about to throw away! Alter away!