Altered Book FAQs

Altered Book FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Adele Stuckey

Creating an altered book is one of my favorite forms of art. The term altered book refers to a book that becomes a piece of art when the pages are used as canvas for images. Artists use a variety of approaches that include using the book as a journal and creating art based on a theme.

I typically use altered books as a journal and save imagery that is significant to me. I view my altered book as a container for my artwork that I can place on a shelf when I am done working.

Below I answer frequently asked questions about the process of working in an altered book. 

Why use a book for art? Isn't it ruining the book? 

Altering a book modifies an every day object into a work of art. I am careful when choosing books to alter to ensure that I am only using books that have no museum quality value and would not be used otherwise. 

When you begin working in a non-traditional format, it allows you to tap into your creativity and practice new ways for self-expression. 

Where do I find a book to alter? 

Possibilities are endless. My favorite locations to find books are at thrift stores and library book sales. Used book stores are also a great resource, but be sure to check that the book you are using has no museum quality value prior to altering. 

What type of book should I use? 

Hard cover with a sewed spine is recommended rather than a soft cover with glued spine. You will find variations of both. Sewn spines last longer, as glue can deteriorate over the years. 

Do I need to be good at art? 

Nope! All that is required is a willingness to try. 

How do I get started? 

Thinning out the book pages by removing up to half of the pages is recommended. This allows space for your artwork and protects the spine as the artwork expands the book width. Check out this blog post for a tutorial. 

How can I learn new techniques? 

Check back for new Tutorial Tuesday posts or search the internet for altered book techniques. If you are local to Northern Virginia, attend an Altered Book Workshop to learn new techniques in person.

Do you have additional questions? Send me a message!