Monday, May 31, 2010

Prepping Your Book For Altering

Since I know that I will be creating a niche, or shadow box opening in my book, the first thing I have to decide is where in the book that will be, and reserve enough pages to accomplish this.  For this book, I will have my niche in the front. (You can put one anywhere in the book, front, middle or back.)  I held together enough pages to create a niche as deep as I'd like, and attached a binder clip so the pages would be out of the way and I wouldn't accidentally use any of them.
At this point I don't know what I'll be putting in my niche, but if I did, I'd hold the object up sideways to the gathered pages to make sure it would fit inside the opening without protruding.  I'm just interested in exploring techniques here, so when the time comes, I'll find something that will fit.
That's all for the niche for now.  We'll come back to it when we're ready to create it.

Whether or not you're doing a niche (and if you're not, just skip the above procedure), you have to start removing pages from your book.  If you don't, your book will not even come close to closing when you're finished, and the pressure on the spine will be enough to cause it to break apart.

Even if you don't plan to add anything bulky, you still must remove pages. Everything, even a thin coat of paint, adds bulk to a page.   How many?  At least half of what you're starting out with (not counting the reserved pages for the niche, if you're doing one).  So however many pages are left, remove at least half.  I don't recommend just tearing them out, as this may cause other pages, pages you want to keep, to fall out.  Just go through the book, and holding a metal ruler near the binding, start removing pages, about a half inch or so from the binding.   I removed two pages at a time, turned two pages, then removed another two, and so on.  You don't have to be too precise, but distribute the removal throughout the rest of your book.
Don't worry about a torn page like the one above.  You can glue it down later, or it can be covered with paper, paint, ink, etc.
Here is what the book will look like after the page removal:
You still have lots of pages left to play with.  Maybe even too many.  Remember, you can always go back and remove more later on.  Or, you might want to glue two or more pages together to get a page that is very strong, to use when you're going to be adding very bulky or heavy embellishments.  Not anything you need to think about now.
This is how many pages I removed:
Don't throw them out!  Pages of text are great backgrounds for cards, ATCs, scrapbook layouts, tags, etc. There may even me some text or illustrations on the removed pages that you'll wind up using again in your AB.
What comes next is a matter of personal preference.  Some people might want to prep every page, front and back with gesso.  Gesso is a primer, and prepares the surface for future work.  If you want to totally cover all of the text, you'd use gesso.  Later on you can add color with paint, ink, chalks, pencils, markers, etc.
If you're like me, you haven't planned that far ahead.  You might want to decide one page at a time what to do.
Gesso isn't mandatory; I'm just telling you what it does.  Good to know too, it will strengthen the paper.
I'm adding a light coat of gesso here.  I want at least some of the text to show through.
You can skip the gesso and go right to paint, and paint a few pages with acrylics.  A light coat so the text shows, or a heavier one so it doesn't.

Another possibility if you want to add color without covering the underlying text, is to use a glaze.  You can buy glazes, but it is much more practical and cost effective to make your own.  Just take a quarter sized dollop of gel medium and mix into it a little acrylic paint, and you'll have a glaze.  Here is a black and white illustration in my book that I covered with a green glaze that I made:
Or you can spray your page.   Here I'm using some Colorwashes (Ranger product):

***IMPORTANT TIP***  Always cover the page next to the one you're working on with some wax paper, as well as inserting a sheet of it underneath the page you're working on, so your ink, paint, spray, etc. only goes where you want it (and it will keep the pages from sticking together while they dry.

The Colorwashed page is very wet, so I took one of the pages I'd removed from the book and used it as a blotter.  That does two things:  speeds up the drying process, and adds color to the second page.  Save that page.  You may use it in this book, or in another project.
Using the removed page as a blotter
On the left, the page used for blotting, on the right, the page in my book.  Notice the wax paper on both sides.
At this point I want to mention the technique of masking text.   There may be a word, a phrase, or a sentence of the original text that you want to keep.  Cover it with a lo-tack tape, such as painter's tape, then procede to gesso or paint or spray your page.
Before the page dries, lift off the tape.... reveal the words.  Who knows how this page will turn out?  I may wind up covering the words after all, but this phrase tickled me, and I wanted to keep it just in case I can use it on the page later on.

You can leave the page as it is above, or.....since I had some of that green glaze left over, I covered this page with it as well.  You can still see the phrase.


  1. OMG......I'm in heaven with your blog!!!! many , many thanks!! Great photos and instructions!!!!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!

  2. This is really great, Eileen and Diann, I'm gonna LURVE this journey.....really spectacular.

  3. Thanks for your instruction - this is going to be a great journey! Kerry P.