Resources for making an altered book

Caylee Grey

Caylee Grey is the Fairy Artmother behind Get Messy.

We’re giving the prep an entire week in the season. Use this time to prepare the cover and pages, then share your book on Instagram with #getmessybook.

For some people, this week will feel too short, and for others it will feel too long. It all depends on the book you’ve chosen and your style. Depending on what book you have chosen for the season, it might need a bit of preparation or absolutely none. If your book is especially old, use glue to reinforce the cover. If your book is too thick, tear or cut pages out. Gesso any pages to prepare them for paint. Take the cover off and make your own entirely new book. Bind your own book. Buy a handmade journal. Keep your style in mind too. If you like a lot of painting, you will need more prep work than someone who is really minimalist and can use the book pages as is.

Altering a book may seem overwhelming (or sacrilegious) to some of you. If you are worried about altering a precious book, remember that it was just sitting around unwanted doing nothing until you picked it up. Creating art in a book is all about adding value to it. Today we want to provide you with some great resources from around the web to help you prep or begin your book. And for those of you who can’t wait to dive in, dive in! Next week the prompts are about the inside cover and first pages, so if you’d like to start your pages but still want to follow the prompts, you can keep those free for now. Take today to begin working on your book.

Tips for choosing a book

  • Pick a hardback book with a good spine.
  • Pick a book that may already have drawings or photos in it that you simply only need to alter or add to some pages.
  • Pick a book that has good literary terms or language so that you either wont be distracted by the text itself or you can use the text in your pages.
  • Think about what the book will look like on a shelf, do you plan to cover it or let it be a sneaky book in with the rest of your library
  • Use just the book cover to make a book
  • Hand bind your own book
  • or buy a handbound journal
  • Get an elastic or binder clip to hold the book together in case it gets too thick

Tips for custom book covers

Tips for prepping your pages

Additional ideas and tutorials

Ok, let’s get started!

Action Steps

Create in your journal. Bring your imperfect, messy self, take what you need, and know that more than zero is enough.