choosing an altered book

When it comes to starting an altered book, the very first thing you have to do is choose which book to begin to alter. There are no requirements for this book so it really is completely up to you. However, there are some things you may want to consider, such as the length, page size, and age of the book.

The length of the book matters because that is going to relate to how long you have this particular altered book. I, personally, wanted a somewhat short novel for mine because I wanted to start a new one somewhat soon. I didn’t want it to be too short though because I knew I would probably get through it pretty quick. My first altered book was 288 pages, and I decorated every page (front and back). From this experience, because of the paint and other media I used, some of my pages began to stick together. For my next book, I decided to only do the right pages on the book, and because of this, I chose a longer book (440 pages). I’m glad the pages didn’t stick together, but I really like the way my side by side pages looked in my first one. I’d say this is a choice you have to make for yourself. You can do and then do another the other way, and see which you like best.

Light in August, my second altered book (unfinished)

Another important thing to think about regarding the length is that decorating your book will make it thicker. I used feather, beads, gems, puffy paint and many other 3d mediums. Also because I decorated the front and back of every page, my pages got extremely thick. Now that my first book is completely finished, it doesn’t close. This doesn’t necessarily bother me, but it’s harder to display without just having the pages open.

Red Sky in the Morning, my first altered book, finished

Besides the length of the book, the size matters because the more space you have on the page, the more you can cover. Having a bigger book doesn’t mean you have to cover the whole page, but in case you want to, this may be something to consider. My first book is a pretty basic size, whereas my new one is significantly smaller. It’s a pretty tiny book, but i thought this would be a challenge for me to do more intricate, detailed work.

Lastly, you may want to consider the age of the book. I chose older vintage books for both of mine because I really like the covers of these older books. It’s important to not just look at the cover though because it’s really the pages that matter. If a book is too old, the pages may fall apart as you work with them, and obviously you don’t want that to happen. If the pages are really rough, the paints may struggle to stick to the pages, and in other instances, if the pages are too thin, paint may soak through. A lot of times it’s hard to figure this out until you get started, but it’s interesting to see what happens and get new ideas from that.

For my first book, I chose a book, titled Red Sky in the Morning. I really like suns and the idea of starting over and ending things, so it was symbolic to me. Going off of this, I wanted to choose another that was similar so I chose Light in August. Both are different shades of green, but I like that though they’re both unique, they have similarities. Some other ideas for choosing a book could be considering the author, you could choose a book that starts with the letter of your first name of every letter of the alphabet, you could choose a favorite book, etc. There are countless ideas for this as well, so don’t overthink and choose one that just feels right.



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