Friday, September 3, 2010

Finishing Your Covers

Just as inside the book, there is no one way or right way to decorate or alter your book covers.  How much you do will depend on your taste, the look and condition of your covers, and of course, the content of your book.
There are two reasons to wait until the end to do your covers.  First of all, if you did your covers first you'd be constantly worrying about messing them up as you worked inside the book.
Secondly, doing the covers first will limit your flexibility and spontaneity.  You may start out thinking your book will be about the beach, but somewhere along the way, you decide to do a page about the mountains or the city.  If you had already done a beach-themed cover you wouldn't have that freedom.
Maybe the easiest thing to do is paint them.  If your covers are glossy you may want to gesso them first.  Or, if they're dark and you want light covers, gesso first as well.  Then you can add paint, glaze, inks, just about any colorant.
Another favorite method is collage.  If you've done any collage on the inside of your book and have some leftover papers, use them, which will give your book a unified feel and look.
Or, if there was a particular background technique you liked, just use it again on the outside of your AB.
If your covers are in bad shape and you aren't into adding paint, cover them with some scrapbook paper you really like.
You can certainly then add embellishments, letters, photos, etc.
Just remember this:  the outside of your book is what is going to take the most punishment, so consider that before you add anything.  You will also want to seal the outside, something that is not as necessary on the inner pages.  One or two coats of gel medium is a good sealant, but there are many others you can purchase.  

This is what my cover looked like when I began:
It's pretty, but it doesn't fit the vintage look of my pages, so I'm going to alter it completely.  First I add some grungeboard letters.  You can use chipboard as well.
Use letters that are fairly thick.  Next, I'll cover everything, including the letters, with tissue paper.  You can use any color (I'm using some old yellowish dress pattern paper), but either select white or a color that is close to how you want your book to look at the end.  

Place a pice of the tissue paper right over a letter.
Now, using the small brush and some gel medium, work the tissue all around the letter until its shape is well defined.  
Repeat this with the rest of your letters.  Then using torn pieces in different sizes and shapes, continue to cover everything with the tissue paper.
I've overlapped the pieces, and have applied many layers....I did want to cover the red as much as possible.  How much tissue you will wind up applying depends on how much you want to cover the original book covers.  In any case, use at least two layers.
My next step is to brush on a coat or two of a brown glaze.  Of course, you'll use whatever color you want.  But if you're using the tissue paper technique, do stick with a glaze as opposed to opaque paint, as you do want the texture of the tissue to show through.
Looking at this, I decided to highlight the letters, so I swiped them with some brown and green permanent ink.
This is a nice simple cover but I want a little more.  I have some of Tim Holtz's wonderful tissue tape and use that on one side of the cover.  I could also have used some scrapbook paper, paper from an old book, music sheets, etc.   Then I added a copy of one of the same photos I used within my book.

I brushed another coat of the brown glaze over everything, including the photo, which gives it an aged, sepia look.
I also covered the back cover with the tissue paper, but left it free of any embellishments.
I hope you have enjoyed this altered book journey as much as I have.  This is the last official posting, but the blog will remain open and active for your reference, and I hope, for you to add links to your own AB pages.
Just so you know, I still have a few blank pages in my book, so I'm not quite finished.  If I come upon any new or interesting techniques we can use, I will report them here.  So, while there won't be regular additions each Friday, you can expect future posts from time to time.
Have fun and go alter something!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Adding Texture and Some Journaling Ideas

I want to discuss a few ways to add some texture along with your color to your AB pages.  One way is with stippling.  For this you'll need stippling brushes and ink pads.
Load up the brush with ink (start with your lightest color).  Apply to the page with a pouncing motion.
Continue adding color until you're pleased with the result.  In this example I'm stippling onto unprimed paper, but you can gesso your pages first and then stipple.
If you think too much text shows through you can now stipple on some white pigment ink.
You can also add texture and color with paint and bubble wrap.  Make a "ball" of the wrap and hold onto it:
Dab it into some paint and apply to the page (this time my page has been primed with gesso) using the same pouncing motion as with the stippling.
Again, add color going from light to dark.  If you want to keep the colors separate, wait for each to dry before applying the next.  If you want to experiment with some blending, don't wait.
Another way to combine adding color and texture is with glazes (which we have talked about in previous posts) and a texturing tool. A texturing tool is not necessarily something you have to buy.  You can use an old comb, old toothbrush, a wire brush, to name a few, or, as I am doing in this example, a piece of corrugated cardboard.
First apply the glaze to your page (my page has been primed with gesso first, and the gesso is dry) fairly thickly, and don't worry about brush strokes.
While the glaze is still wet, use your tool to create a pattern.  I did cross hatching, but you can do lines in one direction, or swirls....don't be afraid to experiment.  If you don't like it, apply some more glaze and try again.
There are times when you will want to have some journaling on your pages, even if that just means a title or a caption.
I have heard from so many of you that you dislike your own handwriting, but I feel that it is important that at least some words come from your own hand.

I want to share with you a technique I've seen in many art journals that makes the written word part of the art, and anyone, regardless of their handwriting, can do this.
I'll be using the pages I just colored to demonstrate this journaling technique.

First, create some lines.  Yes, visible lines.  I've used a Sharpie water based poster paint marker.  I like these because they write over just about any surface, come in several colors, and won't bleed through to the other side of the page.
You will add your text by writing between the lines, making sure you hit the top line and the bottom line. The variation in the lines will make for some small and some very large letters.  I think it's an interesting artsy look, though of course not for everyone.  But try it!
Using the same technique, but drawing lines that are more uniform is a whole different look.
Try mixing up caps and lower case letter for a "ransom" font look.  You can write under or around your photos or other art.
I did the actual writing with another favorite writing tool....a Sakura glaze pen.  They also write well over most can even write on glass or plastic with them.  The other cool thing about them is that even when they are dry they have a wet look, and are slightly raised.  They also come in many colors.

You might remember that I used this technique on this page in my AB:
Back to the Sharpie poster paint markers....they too come in different colors, mostly brights, so they may not be appropriate for vintage pages, but if you have a colorful, playful page they can be great for your journaling.  And you can draw your lines straight, curved, or slanted to add to that whimsical look.  In the example below, the lines were created around a focal picture.  In addition to the Sharpies, I used glaze pens in different colors and some metallic markers as well.
Next week, decorating the covers of your AB....the last step!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Adding Pop Ups

Pop ups aren't just for children's books; they can add real interest, dimension,  and yes, even fun, to your altered book.
What can you use as your pop up?  Some possibilities are, a postcard, a document (copy, of course), even a photograph (again, not the real deal, but a copy).  
If what you want to use is flimsy, either copy it onto or attach it onto cardstock.
Since my AB is basically a heritage book, and all the photos I've used were taken in various parts of New York, I chose a reproduction of a vintage NYC postcard for my pop up.

You will need four pages in your book to do this technique.
First of all, fold the postcard (or whatever you are using) in half vertically, using a bonefolder for a nice crisp fold.
Now, position the card on pages 2 and 3 so that the fold lines up with the spine of the book.  The closer to the spine you have the edges of the card, the more pronounced the pop up will be.
When you have it where you want it, make pencil marks on the pages at each corner of the card.
Put the postcard to the side for now.  Fold about an inch or so of page 3, and glue it down.
Fold it again, this time until it reaches the pencil marks.
Put some adhesive behind this fold at the top and bottom, but NOT between the two pencil marks.  This will create a pocket.
Repeat the folding and gluing with page two.
Now, get the postcard again.  Cut two strips of scrap cardstock that are the height of the card.  It doesn't matter what color they are; they won't be seen.  Put them next to the postcard on either side, leaving a very small gap between them, no more than about 1/16".
This is what is will look like from the front:
Turn the postcard over now, and use clear tape to attach the two cardstock strips, remembering to leave that slight gap.
Apply some adhesive to the backs of the cardstock strips only....not to the postcard.
Now you can insert the pop up into the pockets you created with your folding of pages 2 and 3.
At this point attach pages 2 and 3 to pages 1 and 4 and begin to decorate as you like.
I used scrapbook paper and tissue tape to finish off my pages.
This particular altered book is almost at the end of its journey, and I'm thinking about the next one.  I hope you've enjoyed following it with me, and that you have tried an altered book of your own.
I'd love to see any pages you've done, and if you look to the right, on the top of this blog you'll see a link gadget I just added.   If you have any AB pages posted to a blog or a photo share site, you can add a link to them with this gadget so that we can all see what you've done.  Just remember to link to the actual page where your AB is posted, not to your general blog address.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Adding Beads

We've already covered one way to add beads....stringing some on the tail of a cord or ribbon that you've used for adding stitches to a page. (see this post for details.)
This week I want to show you another way....with wire.  
First, determine where you want the beads....I'm doing mine along one side of a page, but you can also use this technique to put them on the top or bottom, or for that matter, all the way around the page.
Select a page for this that has an unused page behind it, so we can attach the two afterwards, which both covers up the back and gives the page extra strength.
Here I'm using the holes in my ruler to mark where I'm going to string my beads.  If you don't have such a tool, just use a regular ruler and make your marks at even intervals.
Then use a very small circle punch (1/16") to make the holes.
Cut a piece of wire (I used 24 gauge) about 2 1/2 times the length of your page.  Insert one end in the first hole, and pull up as though it was thread, but leaving about 2" of a tail.  

Then simply string a bead, go into the next hole, string a bead, go into the next hole, wrapping the wire around the page like this:
When you reach the end, tuck the tails of the wire under a few stitches on the back of the page.
Put a piece of tape over the end so it will stay in place and not poke through the paper.  Then, using your favorite paper adhesive, glue this page to the empty page next to it.  Your beaded page will look something like this:
Of course, you can also create some danglies with your beads and wire and attach each separately to your page....a beautiful look to be sure, but this week's technique is WAY faster.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adding Fibers

A simple way to add some color and texture to a page is with fibers.  If you have a spread where you're unhappy with the look of the stubs of your torn out pages, this technique does double duty by covering the ragged paper.
Here is an area where I'd like to add some fibers:
First select some fibers in colors that work well with both pages.  Vary the thickness and texture of them, and make sure they are several inches longer than your book.
Put some double sided tape right down the center on the spine, covering any of those raggedy bits of paper.
Remove the protective paper from the tape.
Gather the fibers together and press them into the tape, making sure that they all stick, and that all the tape is covered with fiber (so your pages won't stick together.)  Allow several inches to dangle off both the top and bottom of your pages.  You can leave them as is, or add some additional interest by knotting some, or even tying some beads on.
Of course, you are not limited to the spine of the book when it comes to adding fibers.  You can place your tape and fibers anywhere on a page.  Nor do they absolutely have to dangle off the edges (though I do love how that looks).  You can create a frame around a photograph with your tape and then add the fibers.