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How to Alter a Book Cover

by Amy Bowerman

I found an old Mother Goose book at the thrift store the other day.  I’ve always wanted to alter a book and create a new story within its pages.  I like to start at the beginning of every story.  The beginning of this story begins with the cover.  Come along with me and I will show you some fun techniques that you can use to alter a book cover of your own.

How to Alter a Book Cover

The Octopode Factory Book

The Octopode Factory Storybook

STEP 1 Painting the Cover: Tape off the sides of the book that you don’t want painted (in this case that fabulous checkered trim).

Altered Book Folk Art Glitter
                               Painting the Cover
I used a mix of Martha Stewart Pearl and Folk Art Extreme Glitter Acrylic and Metallic paints.
Altered Book Folk Art Metallic
                When in doubt…add MORE Paint!

The first coat did not cover enough of the original images.  Although I was not sure whether I wanted portions of the images to show through…in the end I decided against it.  When in doubt add MORE Paint!  Dab on a nice thick coating of paint with the side of a foam brush.  Not only will this ensure a thick coat it will also add texture.

Altered Book Martha Stewart Glitter Paint
                       Martha Stewart Glitter Paint

STEP 2 Adding Color and Texture:  I’m a big fan of Martha Stewart’s line of Glitter Paints.  Lay out several colors on a pallet or paper plate and use the textured side of a cheapo sponge from the dollar store (4 in a pack) to apply color to the first layer of paint.  * You will want to do this step while your first layer of paint is still wet.

Altered Book Sponge Painting
                                 Sponge Painting

Turn the sponge as you go to avoid a repeated pattern and reapply paints often.

Altered Book Perfect Pearls Mist
                      Misting with Perfect Pearls

STEP 3 Misting with Perfect Pearls:  Create a custom mix using a Mini Mister, Distress Re-inker, and a scoop of Perfect Pearls and spray random areas of the cover.  I used multiple mixes for this project.  If it is too wet use a heat gun to dry and move the color around.  *The mist will bubble the layers of paint underneath so be careful not to touch it!

Altered Book Glitter
                             Altered Book Glitter

STEP 5 Adding Glitter:  Using spray adhesive (I like Elmer’s) spritz random areas of the cover and sprinkle glitter over them.  I have used both chunky and fine glitter here.  * The Chunky Glitter will melt and curl into the paint if you hit it with a heat gun for a few seconds.

*Let Dry Overnight before moving on to the next step.

Altered Book Distress Crackle Paint
                          Distress Crackle Paint

STEP 7 Distress Crackle Paint:  Once the paint is COMPLETELY dry you can add a thick coating of Distress Crackle Rock Candy paint.  Don’t be shy with this step GLOB it on!  You can use a craft stick to push it around.

Altered Book Texture Stamping
                                    Texture Stamping

STEP 8 Texture Stamping:  Using a stamp (any kind will do…I have used a mixed media texture stripe stamp here) and some acrylic you can add a touch of texture to your project.  Here I have added stripes to the top and bottom corners.  *This step is optional…you can also do this before the crackle paint, after your paint is dry, or before…completely up to you.

*Stop here and let the crackle paint dry overnight.

You can move on to the next step here if you like, but if you would like your project to look similar to mine I suggest signing up for Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101 and checking out the Shattered Stains Technique from Day 3.  It’s a great class and chock full of techniques and tips from the master of Distress himself…Tim Holtz.

Altered Book Cover Background
                        Shattered Stains Background

Isn’t it Pretty?  Looks like it was found at the bottom of the ocean just like The Octopode Factory!

Altered Book Painted Binding
                               Painted Binding

STEP 9 Painting the Binding:  The binding of the book was a bit scuffed and all around beat up.  Martha Stewart to the Rescue!  Here I painted the border and the Binding with a mix of Martha Stewart Satin, Glitter and Pearl paints.

Altered Book Stamped Mirrors
                             Stamped Mirror Chips

STEP 10 Preparing Embellishments and Images:  Although I loved the checkered border around the book I wanted to take it a step further and create checks within checks.  Here I have used the Floor stamp from the Stampendous Wonderland set (my new favorite) to create a checkered background on mosaic mirror chips.

Altered Book Page Background
                              Book Page Background

The map of the ocean inside the frame was cut from a book on Ancient Greece.  *I have an extensive collection of weird books for collage and mixed media purposes (the thrift store is your friend).

Altered Book Embossed Metal
                                                    Embossed Metal

 Here I have stamped and embossed the winged pens for the front cover.  You can also use Copic Markers to color the embossed metal.  Check out my tutorial for coloring metal with Copics HERE.

Altered book Fussy Cutting
                                        Fussy Cutting

To add depth to your images try printing out multiples of the same image and cutting out key areas to layer on top of each other.  Here I have cut out the Unicorn to layer over the frame.  * The Unicorn is not available as a Digital stamp since it is part of The Octopode Factory shop logo.  Maybe Lily will grace us with a full-bodied Unicorn someday in the future…X fingers crossed X

Altered Book Mod Podge
                                     Trusty Mod Podge

This time around I have used Black chipboard as a mount for my images to give them a nice dark edge.  You can use a variety of materials to add depth to your images anywhere from Grunge Board to Card board.  Once again, Mod Podge is my weapon of choice for mounting images.

Altered book Mod Podge Sparkle
                                Mod Podge Sparkle

Using a small paint brush I added some Mod Podge Sparkle to the Hooves, Horn and hair of the Unicorn.  Lay it on thick to give it texture and shine.  I also added a little bling to my images….you can find a tutorial on how to add bling to your art HERE.

Altered Book Collage Glue
                           Inkssentials Collage Glue

I have fallen in love with Inkssentials Collage Glue!  It works wonders for adhering tricky papers such as glossy magazines and book pages.  It’s nice and tacky, creates a strong bond and will leave your finished piece virtually wrinkle free!

Altered Book Sharpie
                                Silver Sharpie

Out of all the Sharpie’s in all the world the Silver Sharpie Metallic is my absolute Favorite!  Here I have traced around the Octopode Factory lettering to give it a shiny border.

Altered Book Adhering Embellishments
                                  Stick on Stones
STEP 11 Adhering Embelishments:  When working with rhinestones I like to use Glossy accents.  They are light enough to get a strong bond from it and if some of it leaks out the sides it’s no big deal since it’s glossy and will blend.  For the larger stones I used E600…this will create a cool amber glass effect once dry.
Altered Book Adhering Images

Adhering Images

Using E6000 Adhere the rest of your images to the cover.  For larger images you will want to keep pressure on them for about 30 seconds.  They won’t bond right away but you just need to make sure everything is positioned the way you want it.  Once you are satisfied with the placement of your images place a piece of wax paper over your work and place heavy books on top of it and let it dry overnight.

The first page of the book will be coming up this Friday on TOFF so stay tuned for that.  I would give you a hint but I’m not quite sure yet how this is going to go.  It will be a surprise for us all!

Have a creative day!

Amy*

The Octopode Factory Storybook

 

 

 

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