Monday, March 30, 2009

altered book slave

Well, I have had several inquiries of interest about my book altering class. So, I will summarize my progress so far.

First, you perform acrobatics on your book to make sure it can pass the abuse test. This mainly involves choosing a book that is old enough for its signatures to be sewn together instead of glued. Opening the book completely 360 degrees while doing an Olive Oil wail will do the trick. A pop may be heard, but it's normal. Your book should totally be able to do this without pages coming loose.


Next, you need to tear out about 30-50% of the pages in the book. You do this by taking out the same order of pages in the front as in the back. If you want to cut a niche (little box opening) in the back of the book, then rubber band the last 25-50 pages and section off -- don't tear out any of these niche pages.

After that, you need to choose a theme for your altered book. Some people find books that actually have related titles, but most people are not that lucky and must decorate their covers to fit their theme. I first chose "Eclectic Dump" so I wouldn't have to choose; then, I gave in to my true love, Mary Engelbreit. My book is tentatively titled "There's Something About Mary: An Altered Book Tribute to Mary Engelbreit". Since I have a binder full of her clip art and 2 years' worth of her Home Companion mags, I think I have enough material to use.

Next, if you need to disguise your cover, then you gesso it first. My book cover is cloth, so I didn't have to sand it first, but it did take 3 coats to completely cover the embossed lettering, and I had to lightly sand the gesso after each coat dried.

I figured I would paint my cover as a quick way to get a nice-looking surface for gluing on the new title. That took 3 coats of paint before the white gesso no longer peeked through. I will varnish it with Krylon at the very end, and I'll probably have to touch up the paint here and there then, too.

We have to help strengthen and secure the spine to the cover by layering on an extra liner inside the covers. This secures the sheet of paper in the front and back that is glued onto the cover and is also a part of the first signature. Since we are making a niche in the back, that entire niche block will be glued down onto the back cover, so all I had to do was line the front inside. I used an 8.5"x11" adhesive label, and Hubs held the book steady while I lined up the sheet and pressed and smooshed until it was properly aligned up and adhered. That right there was the scariest part for me because lining things up is always scary for me.

So, that's all so far. We have a huge amount of homework every week, in my opinion. Some of the ladies just pop out their work, no problema. I just cannot work that fast or that confidently, because of my physical limitations. Shaaaa, if I do a rush job, I'm liable to gesso my toaster or something. Let's not test that, either. winkwink So I may be dropped for not going fast enough. There goes the college credit, right? LOL Oh well, I know how to decorate pages and apply color, so I will just hope for the best.

Here's a little bit of Springtime to leave you with...an artist trading card, made from die cuts from an old calendar on a background I watercolored (the paper is a recycled business envelope). I made it recently for a swap:


Until next time,

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