I’ve seen so many different book arts projects lately and it inspired me to grab one of my old books and have some fun! I started my artist adventures long ago in the ‘altered book’ days and thought that I would put my spin on how I like to transform old books. For this project I used an old French text book that I picked up at a library sale to get creative!
I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail in how to create the finished book block because that would be a very long post in itself! Basically to create the book block (all of the pages of the book adhered together) I used Matte Soft Gel to glue all of the pages, applied around the edges of all of the pages. You can then use clamps or even painters tape to hold the block together until it has dried completely. Once the block has dried, you can begin carving out the windows into the book block. For this project I cut a larger window to begin with, and then a smaller window part way down into the pages. Once I was done carving out my windows, I again used Matte Soft Gel to hold them in place.
I wanted the entire background of the book (pages and covers) to have a more subtle look to them, so I decided to create washes of color using the new Impasto Paints. I’m in love with all of the colors, and although they are great to apply texture right out of the bottle, I simply added water to them to give a more antiqued tea stain look. I used Jade Impasto as my base color, then layered with a wash of Azure Impasto followed with Dark Chocolate Impasto. I absolutely LOVE the end result!
There were some great images found inside of the book and I couldn’t resist incorporating them into this project! On the inside cover of the book, I used an image of a chateau that I crumpled up to give it some texture. I then adhered it to the inside cover using Soft Matte Gel, then applied a thin, even coat of Metallique White Pearl across the entire image. This is a great technique to use when working with black and white images because it adds an iridescent quality to the image!
Next I placed down the Elementals Stencil and with a palette knife used Jade and Azure Impasto paints to create color and texture. Once dried, I used a palette knife to add more color and texture first with Mint Green Patina Effects Paste followed by Blue Patina Effects Pastes. While the pastes were still wet, I added Frosted Mica Flakes along with a touch of Grass and Splash Micro Beads. To add a little more color, I dry brushed Metallique Soft Satin for highlights.
For my embellishments used in this project, I used Heavy White Gesso as my primer for all of my pieces and then used the same color wash technique for coloring the embellishments with the Impasto Paints as with the background. To adhere the embellishments to the background, with a palette knife apply a generous amount of Mint Green Patina Effects Paste to the backside of the embellishment and then put into place, spreading the excess paste around to add texture and then heat set. Highlight the Mint Green with Blue Patina Effects Paste followed with Metallique Soft Satin. If you’d like to add some inclusions, add those while the paste is still wet.
The front cover of the book actually lifts off to reveal an inside image on top of a sculpted material background created with muslin that was shaped using Clear Sculpture Medium. To give this image used inside of the box a little more stability, I mounted it onto a piece of mat board before placing it over the fabric background.
The possibilities of creating your own artwork from old books is endless! There are many different variations to this project – you can adhere the entire book together to create a single block (with the covers adhered to all of the pages) and then carve a window/shrine through the front cover of the book. Another variation that I like to create is to create two book blocks, each one adhered to each book cover and then carving windows into each of them.