Thursday, September 11, 2008

Altered Board BookTutorial

This post is something I've wanted to do for a while. At my auction two weeks ago, I had someone purchase my quote book. She emailed me after she received my book and said, "how do you do that?" I started writing a detailed email that made absolutely no sense. So, I erased the email and said, "check out my blog tomorrow, I'll make a tutorial just for you."

I started all this scrap booking nonsense making paper bag scrapbooks-- I will feature that another Thursday-- but this last January or February my chica Rochelle showed me one of these books, and I don't know if I've done a paper bag book since. I hope you all enjoy.

♥Altered Board Books♥



1. Find a board book, or if you are planning on doing TONS, go to Bare Books and purchase empty ones. (much easier and cheaper if you are planning on doing lots-- for a beginner it wouldn't be too great because they require an order of at least $20.00 -- that's quite a few books :D)

2. Start peeling the layers of your book. You want to peel the pics off so your glue will adhere better. You don't just want to peel the first layer, but not too many either or it will leave you with no pages. It takes a few times of peeling and a good book to find your happy medium. This is a tedious task, the bare books do not require this step. (be careful what books you tear up. my little girl caught me peeling one of her books apart one day and i still haven't heard the end of it. Garage sales and dollar stores are the best place to find them)

3. Next, measure your book and find the dimensions. This helps you to know what dimensions to cut your paper.

4. Choose coordinating papers and cut them 1/4" in shy of the measurements of your book. Length and width wise.

5. Choose what paper you want for the cover, spine and back of your book.

6. Then choose a coordinating ribbon to use as a tie to keep your book closed. Wrap the ribbon around your book and I like to staple it on each side just to hold it in place.

7. Use a corner rounder to round the corners of your paper-- if you don't have a corner rounder you can trim it with a small pair of scissors, don't worry about uneven edges or the paper not fitting perfectly it will all work out in the end :D

8. Glue the paper you chose for your cover on. I like to tear the edges of the paper for my spine just to have a definite distinction between the two papers. For glue I swear by Elmer's rubber cement. (my mother thinks I'm crazy and I think the people at Walmart do to. I'm always buying rubber cement. My husband says I just use it for the smell :D)

9. This step is what makes your book look like a book. With a medium grit sandpaper sand all the edges of your cover. You will begin to notice that you will barely see a difference between your paper and the book -- you want them to become one. This step gets rid of any rough, uneven, or too long paper edges. Don't worry if its still not perfect. The next step will solve that problem.

10. This step is an important one too. Inking!!!! You need a good soft sponge (mine come in a circle and I cut them into wedges.) and I like a dark colored ink pad. The one in the pic is my favorite and I RARELY use any other colors. I just like the dirty, grungy look it gives my books. Be careful with some brown ink. It has a tendency to look purple next to other colors. That's why I like this Walnut color its a very dark brown color.

11. Now, organize your papers into pages, what papers you want on what page. What papers you want to use as a coordinating pocket. I usually do two pages with one pocket and two pages with no pockets and alternate. Sewing the pockets can be time consuming. It also depends on how many pages your book has too. Because I am anal retentive I like to actually put them in the book so I can see what looks good together from one page to the next.

12. Next trim down any pages that don't fit and round ONLY the corner on the outside edge. This also why I like to put my pages in my book first-- that way I know which edge needs rounded and I don't clip the wrong side. (lots of trial and error my dear friends)

13. This is one of my favorite touches to any book I make. I've had people ask if I sew the paper onto the book. The answer is NO WAY JOSE! Could you imagine--talk about industrial machine. I have a Singer $90.00 Walmart special-- it works beautifully. Paper does tend to dull the needle so if you sew a lot you might want to use a separate needle for paper. (I just use the same one). I only sew the pages with pockets and I only sew the three outer edges of the pocket page. I also only sew the top and bottom of the page opposite of the pocket. (If you don't want to sew your pockets, its not necessary, double sided tape also works great and is REALLY easy.) Notice I like to use a zig zag stitch because it just pops off the paper a little more and is a lot more forgiving of my inability to sew a straight line.

14. Once your pages are sewn start gluing them in!!!!

15. Repeat the sanding and the inking just like you did on the cover-- These two things make your book look like a book, instead of a book with scrapbook paper slapped in it. When your finished embellish till your hearts content!!!.



Amanda said...

GIRL--I am so LAZY! I could never do that! They are sure cute though:) I might also mention even if I tried to do that it would not turn out pretty!

Gary Church said...

You make it look so easy ... but I could never make something that cool. I'm a craft moron. Seriously.

Bethanne said...

You are so amazing. I tried doing one (after you showed Rachelle how to do them, she tried to show me), and my first definitely didn't turn out so pretty. :( I would love to do more, but just don't have the time to do it. YET! Thanks for the tutorial though...

Christie said...

Well, like others have mentioned I will likely never have the creativity to make something as wonderful as what I received in the mail from you. I should mention I LOVE BOOKS and especially old books. I felt like I was holding a beautiful treasure in my hands when I opened the package you sent. The book is truly gorgeous. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I will try and I'll let you know how it goes. Until then I will look for more of your to buy. : )
Thanks again!

Practically Perfect In Every Way said...

oh my gosh, that is how you did it! i almost tore that thing apart to figure it out, I'm so glad you did this instead!

I think I have an idea for girls weekend next month! thank you thank you for sharing your talents with us!

Lisa said...

Seriously, you are majorly gifted.

Ryann said...

I am really impressed. It looks so easy and yet if I tried it, it surely be a diaster.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea! I need to try it with some of the old books I have buried in the back of the closet. Thanks so much!!!

katemeri said...

Excellent tutorial! When I was in CA this summer I frequently looked in the dollar bin at Target for board books to do a project like this. Great tips too! I have a couple mini albums that I've made that I am going to go back and sand and ink the edges on. I think that will make them look so much better - not the hard edges of the paper cutter. Your book looks so awesome! Thank you!!!

Shanda said...

I'm here by way of Tip Junkie, and I am seriously considering trying to make these. We have tons of board books my kids have outgrown!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I made one of these in the past and didn't think to rip a layer of the book off. I tried sanding it, but you can still see the book's real pictures in the cracks! Your page designs are beautiful. We would love to feature this in a future post!


Maria said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. Your book looks incredible! I am so excited to give this a try.

Katey said...

That is really, really neat! It would make a great link for twice-the-fun-tuesdays at

{amy k.} said...

saw this on Tip Junkie- great idea! I might have to try this out... although, I'm afraid all I would end up with is a book ripped to shreds! :)

MiddleEarthMusician said...

Wow! I am so impressed. I have several board books ready for the trash. I can't wait to bring them back to life!

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

this is so cute I can't believe i didn't see something like this sooner!!