How to Alter an Old Book Step by StepIn this post I will walk you through step by step my process of creating an art journal from an old book.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Books to AlterChoosing the right type of old book to alter is the first important step to take. While one would think that any old book would do, you’re going to want to look for one that has sewn binding as opposed to glued binding. While very old, vintage books like the ones shown here might be beautiful, these types of books are not always the best candidates to use for altering, at least not using the same technique the way I share here. Very old antique books will likely need a little reinforcement and more advanced book binding techniques in order to be something that is sturdy.
The Most Important Thing When Altering a Book? Sewn BindingMost books will either have sewn binding or glued binding. Glued binding is exactly what it sounds like – the pages are glued together. This is pretty common for most mass-market books printed in the past 30 years, even if they are a hardcover book. However, you do not want glued binding for your altered book projects if you can avoid it! Sewn binding is stronger and the pages will be less likely to fall out, whereas with glued binding you risk the glue coming apart and pages falling out. It is relatively easy to identify sewn binding in an old book you want to alter – you will see actual stitches in between the signatures of the book! What is a signature? Signatures are sections of pages, so you might see the stitches in between every 20-40 pages or so for example, depending on the book of course! Note: Some books this does not apply to – such as children’s board books.
Need Some Inspiration For What Types of Books to Use?You can use many different kinds of books for your altered book projects! Here are some ideas for different types of old books you can use:
- Children’s books
- Hardback fiction books
- Home & Garden Books
Where to Find Old Books for Altering into Art Journals Free or Cheap:Finding old books can be a challenge. Fortunately you can often find them for less than a few dollars each book. Here are some of the places I’ve been successful in finding them:
- Public & Private Library Book Sales in my area
- Flea Markets and Yard/Garage Sales
- Thrift Stores
- eBay (try to find local sellers near you to avoid high shipping costs for heavy books!)
- Used Bookstores such as Half Priced Books and others
- Ask Family & Friends for old books you can buy from them