18 Ideas for Making Altered Book Art

You’ve picked out an old book and prepped its pages–what’s the next step in creating an altered book that you’ll love?

Let your imagination be your guide!

There is no limit to the magical art you can create from an old book. Don’t feel like you have to confine yourself to what’s already been done… but also check out the following list of my favorite altered book projects. These free tutorials can help you add all kinds of interesting embellishments and working parts to your altered book, getting you closer to the book art that you’ve been dreaming of.

18 Ideas for Making Altered Book Art

Smash book

smash books.ย Smash books are super low-stakes and fun, so they make terrific beginner projects. Smash book creators also pride themselves on using as many junk elements as possible, so they’re a great fit for the eco-friendly crafter.

junk journals.ย A junk journal is even quicker and easier to make than a smash book!

Artist Trading Books.ย If you love making Artist Trading Cards, I think you’ll also love this book version.

blackout poetry.ย This is one of my favorite ways to play around with book pages that haven’t been painted over.

bound journal via AlyBird Art
bound journal via AlyBird Art

bound journal.ย Cutting out all of a book’s original pages and replacing them with new pages is a LOT more work than the smash books and junk journals detailed above, but it’s worth the effort to have your own custom-bound blank book.

ring-bound journal via FarmgirlCyn
ring-bound journal via Farmgirl Cyn

ring-bound journal.ย If you don’t yet know how to stitch books together, you’ll find this ring-bound journal much easier to accomplish, with the bonus that you can easily add and remove pages.

Altered Book Music Box via Kay's Keepsakes
altered book music box via Kay’s Keepsakes

books with secret compartments.ย Okay, you don’t want to do this to the book that has all its pages lovingly gessoed and prepped for art–instead, choose a nice, thick old tome and get cutting! Here’s how to hollow out a book to make secret compartments. And here’s an amazing music box made from a book with lots of lovely hollows!

book box.ย I LOVE my collection of book boxes. They sit on my shelves with all my other books and hold all kinds of useful things. Here’s how to make your own using an old book, pretty paper, and a yardstick.

monogram book.ย It won’t work with every letter, but if you’ve got a letter with a vertical left line, you can cut a book into your monogram.

folded book art.ย Here’s how to create your own template for folding words and designs into a book’s fore edge.

flip-out pages.ย Double, triple, or quadruple your working space when you add hinged flip-out pages to your altered books.

accordion organizer via Wings of Whimsy
accordion organizer via Wings of Whimsy

books with accordion pockets.ย I love how useful this project is! Use primarily cutting and pasting to create an organizer with accordion pockets roomy enough to keep all your stuff properly corralled.

folded-page pockets.ย Here’s how to create pockets just by folding book pages. Use these to store ephemera or other journal elements.

book organizer via Kaleidoscope of Colors
book organizer via Kaleidoscope of Colors

book organizer.ย Turn an entire book into an organizer with this tutorial from Kaleidoscope of Colors.

DIY Rolodex.ย Here’s another type of organizer to create from an old book: a DIY Rolodex!

transferred images.ย With the miracle that is Matte Medium, you can transfer images from paper directly to a book page.

torn paper layers.ย These are a great way to add texture and dimensionality to your altered book.

faux antique books.ย Make a book look MUCH older than it is using this simple tutorial!

What’s YOUR favorite way to make altered book art? Let us know in the Comments!

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