Saturday, March 20, 2010

How To: Alter a Book, part one

This is a repost of a tutorial I posted on my personal blog in late 2008...

Altering a boardbook - preparing the surface...

You will need:
  • A board book (the kind intended to be chewed on by toddlers)
  • Sandpaper (maybe)
  • A Sharp craft knife
  • A cutting mat
  • A bone folder (or a popsicle stick or old teaspoon)
  • Paper for collage (scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, pages torn out of other books...)
  • A Gluestick (or d├ęcoupage gel - this is generally better, but a bit messy. I used a gluestick for this project because I wanted to be able to draw on the paper after and it's easier to keep track of where the glue from the gluestick's going...)
Start by carefully peeling off the glossy printed top layer of paper. Try to remove as little of the bookboard as possible. You could sand the gloss off, but I find the paper-peeling far more satisfying.


The naked book and a selection of papers...


A note before starting to apply the papers - I am an extremely messy worker, and like to cover the cover of the book last, so that I don't get glue all over it.
Apply copious amounts of gluestick - make sure you cover the entire surface with glue - otherwise you get air pockets and/or the paper may peel off.


NOTE: If you are using d├ęcoupage gel - paper expands when it's wet, so get the entire piece wet and it will all expand at the same rate - then when you paste it down it's easier to avoid wrinkles.

Place the paper over top of your page and burnish it. Start at the centre of the page and (pushing down hard) work your way to the edges. I often have a little bit of glue ooze out - try not to get any on your burnishing tool. Skip this step if you are using gel.
You can use a fancy-schmancy bone folder for this, but as mine was covered in polymer clay at the time, I used a clean popsicle stick.


Wait for your glue to dry then flip the book over and trim the excess paper from the back with a SHARP blade.
(A sharp knife is a safe knife)


I sometimes hang the book over the edge of the table to get to the fiddly bits near the spine.


The first covered page....

If the paper you want to use is smaller than the page, use two pieces. Glue one down as usual, but don't trim the paper yet.


Tear a thin strip off one edge of the second piece. If you don't want any white (the paper's core) showing, make sure that you pull the part of the paper that you want to use towards you (if you do want the white tear to show, pull it away from you).


Apply lots of glue and overlap the torn edge.
You can do this with lots of bits of paper if you want your base to be all collagey and stuff...


The re-covered book, ready for scribbling in....

...and Princess Aurora? The story in this boardbook was terrible. I felt no guilt at all in tearing it up...