March 22, 2011

Altered book-- quick how-to tutorial

Yeh! It's still the same day and I am back as promised. You'll have to excuse the poor lighting and the white balance being off. I took these in the middle of the night with my cell phone.

Let me just say I lied when I said quick. You know I am long winded with my words. So here is how I started this book. I actually cut these pretty often and just let them sit for a while. Not for any reason other than I have some hot idea and drop it for another project. So what you need to do is sketch out how you want your "window" or "shadow box". Then take a metal ruler and a box cutter (or if you are like me I start off with a ruler and go freehand. . . see my lumpy cuts, but it won't matter because no one will see it) cut on your lines. Cut a few pages at a time and it will keep the pages somewhat even. Don't go too far down if you don't have many pages to your book unless you want to use your back cover as the background.

Tip for books. You can find free books at the library. You'll also find some interesting "vintage" books that you could use for backgrounds. I found some tree house construction books and today even a huge old dictionary probably from the 1940s.  You can also buy books at places like Dollar Tree. They are far cheaper than going to Goodwill!!!! What you will find is that more expensive books have even pages along the sides. There is no real way to even them out. Most times the top and bottoms match but the side opposite the spine is lumpy. Once you cut the pages out, feel free to use those pages to make upcycled flowers for your other projects.

Next I stamped the door on the front cover with black Stazon ink. Then I used my box cutter to cut on the lines of the door. Bend the door back a few times. There are other options like cutting the door off but I wanted the door to close correctly without the canvas falling through. Of course if you have small hinges, you could cut and hinge the "door" back on. I took a sanding block and I sanded both the book cover and the "door" edges so they were smooth and looked clean.

Pull out your gesso and give a thin coat of paint to covers and spine of the book. You can prime the sides of the pages but it is not necessary. I prime the inside edges as well that show when the book is closed. Make sure you don't goop the gesso in your doorway! You can sand again but it is easier if you just wipe it with a dedicated rag for paints, your finger or paper towels. I didn't need much paint at all and you would never be able to tell the book was black and maroon.

You can give the edges of your book a coat of Mod Podge (matte) all around. Close the book and put a good weight on top to ensure your pages stay closed. If you don't want the book to open, it won't matter if your top page is ripped open for you to finish the book. If you care, put a piece of wax paper between your covers.  When working with books in this capacity, I am patient and do not pull out the heat gun for this step.

Meet Tuesday from the Greeting Farm. I don't buy many of these type of stamps although I adore them. I am not one for coloring with Copics. I have some but I rarely use them as a pen and I cannot color very well. If I ever do color, I tend to reach for Prismacolor markers but again, I don't color well at all!  So I used a water soluble wax pastel (Neocolor crayons) on Tuesday. Then I cut my girl out.

I started painting the sky and worked my way down. There is no need to paint your door! Do you see the tulle I have in front of the door? I was going to a cobblestone look. Well I have a lot of tulle because I make tutus for Riley and seriously it was all to the right of me and I didn't even have to move my feet to get to it. I Mod Podged that baby on three times to make sure it stuck. Then I painted the rest of the book.

I used a house die from Sizzix. It actually is a Bigz die made to be a mini album. I covered the holes. Again, I have mentioned this before but I buy my own canvas. I go to Joann's armed and dangerous with my 50% coupons and buy a yard or two. I like white. Some like that natural look and claim colors are deeper with that cream color but it's not for me. I am not against the Prima canvas look. . . hell I have quite a bit of theirs; I just like white. Once home, I wash the canvas because I tried it one time with a layout and it shrunk once the paint dried. What I found was that I lost a good 20% or so. The benefit though is that the fabric became much heavier and was a better to paint on than when I bought it. Some of the loss (I don't know how much) can be avoided if you take the time to do a quick stitch around all the edges to prevent fraying. Back to the house, I actually was going to stitch two layers shut (the recent heart album was stitched) but I decided to glue them. Once dried, I actually got over spray from Glimmer Mist onto my house so I used it anyhow and put pink on top. It gave good color blending. Stamp your door onto your house and cut around the door. Glue onto your book cover and opening and you're all set to start embellishing.
So I hope you enjoyed my long-winded walk through on creating your own altered book!