3.27.2011

How to :: Altered Board Books

One way of creating an art journal is to alter a board book (the small cardboard books usually for young children). There are several advantages I have found to altering board books.
  1. Inexpensive— I usually pick them up at Goodwill or other second-hand store for somewhere around 25¢ - 50¢ a piece. You can't beat that!
  2. Size—This is two-fold in the size of the book and the length of the books. Board books come in varying sizes but they are usually fairly small, and only a couple of pages. This allows for the altered book or journal to have a theme if you so desire, but also to complete it in a timely manner. It also takes away some of the intimidation you might feel on trying to fill a large journal—it seems more manageable.
  3. Transform—There is something great about recycling. One it takes someone else's trash and it becomes a piece of art. Two there is a beauty in the metaphor of transformation; transformation literally of the board book but also of yourself. 
  4. Inspire—By using a page that already has images on it, you do not get the same blank page effect (you know that "where do I start, I don't want to mess up this nice canvas/paper by doing something wrong" feeling you sometimes get). Additionally, board books often have idiosyncrasies that can be really fun to work with in your art; ie. flaps, windows, textures.
  5. Ease— Altering board books is relatively easy and takes little preparation. That being said, I am going to walk you through some steps to begin altering a board book.
  STEP 1 

Start with your board book. This one is just a small Christmas one I picked up at Goodwill.




  STEP 2

You might want to prepare the pages if they are really slick. This can be done in multiple ways.
  • Gesso— Gesso the pages (the disadvantage to this is drying time)
  • Sandpaper— Lightly sand all the pages so that the slickness is taken away.
  • Peel— Peel the paper layer off the cardboard layer. This is actually really simple, and they usually peel off in whole sheets.



  STEP 3

Begin creating art in whatever manner you wish. You might check out the downloads page for specific techniques (also check out the tutorials for more ideas).
In the image below, I added collaged book pages on top of the cardboard pages. I like the way this looks in my art, and I like to have bits of the type showing through sometimes; it also de-blanked the cardboard pages (a technique I find highly useful when trying to figure out how/where to start!)


  SOME FINISHED PAGES

These are pages from another board book that I am working in. Each page has a flap, or door on it and they are so much fun to incorporate into the artmaking. I feel like this book is turning into a tidbits of virtues or values, and am really enjoying working in it.










7 comments:

  1. What a lovely tutorial on altering board books! Thanks for sharing with us. The pages that you have created are LOVELY!
    Hugs and blessings
    Kelly

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  2. Great tutorial, AND great Emma Goldman quote...she is my shero!

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  3. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. A way that I sometimes prepare a boardbook is simply by covering the surface with a piece of paper glued down by gel medium and then just work on that.

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  4. thanks ladies! I appreciate your lovely comments! I can't wait to see how the rest of the book unfolds!

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  5. Hey, the roses page ypi did just oozes with creativity!! I love it! Kinda wish u did a tut on how you did them..

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  6. That is so cool! Thank you for showing the process. I am a beginner and all the tips and tricks you share are REALLY helpful to someone who has had virtually no art training.

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