Altered Board Book


How to Alter a Board Book

Part 2: Decorating Your Altered Board Book

By Karen Hatzigeorgiou | Posted 12/7/05 | Updated 4/15/23

Materials Needed:

Set up:

You'll need two small areas to work in. One space will be for preparing papers. The other space will be for gluing. On the gluing side, tape down a piece of freezer paper to protect your work surface. Gather all your materials so that they're handy.

Step 1:

At this point, you could lightly sand your book and then decorate it with stamps, ink, or craft paints if you like. In future articles, we'll explore other ways to decorate your book. However, for this book we will be covering the gessoed pages with decorative paper using the same techniques we use to collage.

Step 1: Tear papers into small pieces.

I am using three different handmade papers. Two shades of solid blue paper for the inside and a fancier blue and gold paper for the outside cover.

For the inside, begin by tearing the paper into small pieces, depending on the size of the page you'll be covering. Set aside.

Spread adhesive on paper and apply to first frame page.

Put a small amount of liquid matte medium (or white glue) into a container. Using a small brush, spread a little bit of adhesive on the underside of a bit of paper and then apply the paper to the first "frame" page. Cover the front of the page first.

Glue paper onto the back side.

Then turn the page over, and wrap and glue the paper onto the back side. Cover all exposed white parts of the page with paper, but don't worry about covering the back side of the page because you won't see it when you're done.

Smooth the decorative paper as you apply it.

Use the folded wax paper to smooth the decorative paper as you apply it. And use a baby wipe to clean up any excess glue that might seep out.

When you apply papers across the gutter (the center fold) of the book, be sure the book is opened up as flat as it will go so the book can open and close freely without tearing the papers in the middle when they dry. I like to use a popsicle stick or an old credit card to run down the center when it's still damp with the medium. Then I open and close it a few times to make sure everything is adhering and creasing properly.

Repeat the process with the next "frame" page. I used a slightly deeper shade of blue paper.

Step 2: Prepare to cover the book.

Make a rough mark around the perimeter.

Step 2:

Next we'll cover the book. Lay a piece of decorative paper out flat. Open up your your manilla folder template and place it on the paper. With a pencil, make a rough mark around the perimeter of the template but add one inch to the top and bottom and about three inches to each side. You need to be able to wrap this paper all around the closed book cover and fold the edges to the inside of the book, so make sure to leave a wide margin. Cut the paper along the line.

Spread on gel medium.

Close the book. It might not close all the way, but that's okay. Spread a generous amount of gel medium on the outside of the front cover and the spine of the book. Lay the paper over the cover and use the wax paper to smooth the paper from the center outwards towards the edges. Make sure you've left paper hanging over all the edges. Remember to smooth the paper down along the spine.

Flip the book over. Put gel medium on the opposite cover. Wrap the paper over this side and smooth down. Open the book, and smooth the paper again; put a crease where the book folds as you did on the inside.

Wrap paper over side.

Crease where the book folds.

Open the book again. Place adhesive along the underside of the paper overhang and fold the paper towards the inside cover of the book. Smooth the paper down so it adheres. Again, this part will be hidden, so don't worry about its appearance. At the corners, bring the squared edge in first, add a little glue, then bring the margins in and glue them down.

Stand the book up and apply glue to paper to fold down into spine.

Stand the book up. On the top edge, make two little cuts from the edge of the paper down to where the spine separates from the book. Apply glue to the cover paper and fold it down and inside the spine. Repeat on the bottom.

Can you see your book taking shape? We're almost done. In Part 3 we'll have some fun embellishing the book and adding pictures.

Next: Part 3: Embellishing the Book

Copyright ©2005 Karen Hatzigeorgiou. All rights reserved.

Finished book cover.

Altered Book Tutorial:

  1. Preparing
  2. Decorating
  3. Embellishing