Altered Books - My first altered book.

Photos and ramblings about book altering techniques.

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With altered books, there are no rules. Pick a book and alter it to your whims. Paint, draw, color, glue, stamp, carve, drill, stitch, embellish, etc... to your heart's content.

The book formerly known as "Hannibal"

For my first altered book, I selected a hardcover copy of Hannibal. Years ago, someone found this book and gave it to me knowing that I read a lot & enjoyed horror fiction. Well... I did read the book & it was too graphic, gross and dark even for me. I have no interest in reading it again and have decided to put it to good use.

I am really enjoying the transformation of a dark and demented book into "fluffy-bunny-happy-sunshine" eye candy! I feel like I am saving a soul or something.

For this book, I decided that I would create a couple of guidelines:


Nothing in this book will be dark or demented. I am transforming the entire book from it's original theme.


I want the book to close properly & be able to sit on the shelf as a normal sized book. This means that any 3D embellishments must have niches cut into the pages to accommodate them.

Other than that... anything goes!

Photos of the book formerly known as "Hannibal"

click photos to view larger images

most recently added:

page 027

Found Poetry - I isolated some found poetry on the page, and added pen doodles to cover the rest of the page.

The poetry reads: "smile and have dignity - find honor and you will survive"

page 193

More Found Poetry - I isolated some found poetry on the page, and added an ink and colored pencil drawing.

The poetry reads: "Night came - I had to turn and look at the jack o'lantern - As bats appeared."

page 007

Gone Fishing - I isolated the word "fish" in several locations on the page, by drawing little fish shapes around the words. I added magazine cutouts, did some stamping, pen doodles, and colored with colored pencils.

I added a rotating wheel element to the page, cutting a slit in the page along the wave tops and attaching with an eyelet.

I stamped "incredible" on the wheel. The wheel spins to reveal Don Knotts head on a fish body - to bring to mind his character in the movie "The incredible Mr. Limpett".

I fun way to recall a childhood memory.

page 316

The Simpsons - I isolated the words "The Simpsons" and "Barney" on the page.

I then drew some Simpsons characters on the page, added some magazine cutouts, and colored with colored pencils.

page 006 : Valentine
collage, paint, stamping, glitter glue
page 012 : Hands
collage, pencils, stamping, doodles
page 312 : Yellow
collage, paint, doodles
page 254

I created this page by first coloring the page with colored pencils over an embossed tin, to create a textile-like pattern.

I used a craft knife to cut wavy lines vertically on the page at about one inch intervals. Then I wove in strips of paper to create a colorful pattern. Words on the page that determined my theme were: weave, weaving, and textile.

I had seen the weaving technique used in several paper projects and had been wanting to incorporate it into my project for some time.

page 430

I created this page by using torn paper to create a mosaic. Words on the page that determined my theme were: fish, aquarium, and water. I left these words uncovered by paper.

As this was my first attempt at torn paper mosaic, I kept things simple. I sketched out a very plain design - a quick fish and some sea plants. I used a "Yankee Candle" catalog for my paper. (Great bold colors!) The rest was just tearing and gluing. Easy! I spent about 4 or 5 hours on this page.

I really love the way this page looks!   I'm sure that I will be creating many more torn paper mosaics in the future.

page 003

This is the first page I worked on. I picked out words on the page about day, light, and sun and decided to theme this page for sunshine.

I placed a sun charm from an old necklace into a niche I cut through about 100 pages. Then I covered the rest of the page with cutouts, quotes, colored pencil drawings, stamps from a cork I carved, and my own little traditional ink doodles. I used quite a bit of metallic gold ink. It doesn't show up well in the photo, but adds great sparkle to the page.

I learned not to use watercolors directly on the page.

page 018

This page went fairly quickly. I had just received a hand carved "Goddess" stamp in a swap and wanted to use it in the book.

I located a page that used the words "she" and "woman" and isolated them with ink doodles. Then I used colored pencils to create a beautiful color blend over the rest of the page. Next I doodled with ink, embedding words and images into the drawing.

The page is not overly complex, but I enjoyed the doodling ... it's somewhat relaxing and therapeutic.

page 019

This page is just all kinds of crazy! I started with the border. I had just carved a bunch of stamps out of wine corks & wanted to try them out. (Notice my oops! backwards "R" - oh well, it still stamps!)

As I was working on the border, somehow I came up with a crazy rhyme. The rhyme worked itself into the page and next thing I know I have a toad & some code and a load of craziness.

Good thing that I like "crazy"!

page 065 page 144 page 273

I have a few other pages in various states of completion. I have been experimenting with "moveable elements" and other little surprises. I plan to add more photos as I progress through my altered book.

Links to Other Altered Book Sites:

Go Make Something: Altered Book Archives
Ideas and step by step info for projects.

Art Therapy Directives
A nice overall how-to ger started with altered books - with links to helpful videos.

Altered Book Images
See what pops up in Google images. Some of these altered books will make your jaw drop!

Karen's Whimsy - Altered Book Gallery
Gallery of many of Karen's altered books.

Books of Interest:

Altered Art
Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More

The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery
Mixed-Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals, and More

In This House: A Collection of Altered Art Imagery and Collage Techniques

Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking

Alphabetica: An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists

Mixed Emulsions
Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery