How to Make Altered Books Into Scrapbooks

Written by vanessa r. williams-peteet
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How to Make Altered Books Into Scrapbooks
(book image by Pali A from

Altering an old book into a new scrapbook can be a fun way to cherish old memories or collect new ones. Many people have shelves filled with old childhood books or useless old editions of college textbooks. Using the hardback cover from a book you already own to encase a book of photos and other memorabilia can give you a unique piece of do-it-yourself art that is both environmentally friendly and quirky.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clear plastic sleeves
  • Embellishments
  • Gesso
  • Hardback book
  • Journal entries
  • Magazines
  • Paper
  • Personal Artwork
  • Photographs
  • Plastic Card
  • Poems
  • PVA Glue
  • Scissors
  • Small memorabilia

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  1. 1

    Choose and old hardcover book from a bookstore, thrift store, or your own collection. You can choose your book based on a theme you already have in mind or create a theme based on the book you choose. Feel free to also choose randomly.

  2. 2

    Use scissors to cut out photos, letters or words from magazines, pieces of fabric and any other items you may want to add to your scrapbook. Set these items aside along with any other embellishments you will want to add.

  3. 3

    Glue down extra sheets of paper to existing pages or glue existing pages together for added sturdiness. Use plastic card to smooth bumps and bubbles in the paper. Allow glued sections to dry.

  4. 4

    Spread gesso with a paintbrush on any pages you would like to paint to avoid bleeding through. Allow gesso to dry before painting or gluing anything on top of gessoed pages.

  5. 5

    Select an embellishment to glue down on your paper using the PVA glue. Use the plastic card to smooth down paper and other flat objects such as items cut from magazines, photographs, plastic sleeves (where you'd like to add removable items) other paper or ribbons. Allow glued objects to dry before moving on to your next page to avoid shifting or pages unintentionally sticking together.

Tips and warnings

  • Gesso can be spread on top of glued down items for extra security.
  • Pages do not have to be glued together if existing pages already have the thickness you desire.
  • Choosing a book with signature sewn (folded pages sewn together in sections) pages is often more sturdy than some other binding types.
  • This project does not have to be done all at once. Objects can be added at anytime.
  • Using PVA glue rather than a glue stick is important to ensure your objects remain stuck together.

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