The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Altered Books

An altered book is simply a book that has been physically changed in some way.   The book can be painted on, cut, collaged, or otherwise modified.  Altered books bring together a variety of mixed media and paper crafting techniques including collage, journaling, rubber stamping, embellishing and scrapbooking.

Altering a book is a great way to recycle an old book. Using an outdated book from a book sale or thrift store is a fun way to create a new art project or a practical item for your home or office.

The Library has a nice selection of titles focusing on altered books. Here are a few titles in the Library's collection to choose from.

 Altered Books Workshop: 18 Creative Techniques for Self-Expression by Bev Brazelton. Learn techniques for crafting unique altered books. You'll find helpful tips as you are guided through the process of altering pages along with captivating embellishment ideas such as adding doors and drawers to your altered books.


 The Altered Book Scrapbook by Susan Ure demonstrates how to alter a book to create a scrapbook. Works from a variety of artists provide inspiration and ideas for materials and techniques.



 The Altered Book Collage by Barbara Matthiessen explains how to give a book new life as a beautiful collage. Find out how to choose a theme, the mechanics involved, and a variety of crafting techniques to use. 



 The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects that Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti.  The ideas in this book range from artfully constructed mobiles, wreaths, and vases, to functional items like shelves, storage boxes, and even a Kindle "keeper" for those who want to replicate the sensation of holding a "real" book while reading from an e-reader.


 Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson.  The book features an artistic range of both achievable upcycled crafts made from books and an amazing gallery that contains beautiful works that transform books into art. 


 Masters: Book Arts: Major Works by Leading Artists curated by Eileen Wallace showcases the limitless possibilities of books as an art medium. Artists in book crafting are profiled alongside beautiful color photographs of their best works.


To learn more about altered books, or to find inspiration for your own altered book art, visit the following links:

Karen’s Whimsy: Features articles and instruction on creating altered books.

The Altered Book Artist: Highlights popular techniques used for making altered books.

Brian Dettmer: Website for an artist known for his detailed and innovative book sculptures.

Su Blackwell: This artist creates intricate paper models based on the book she is altering.

Join Friends of the Library member Becky Kheen at the Fall Book Sale for a free lesson on turning your old books into home crafts and holiday decor. Lessons will be held at Remingtons at 1655 West Republic Road on Wednesday, October 24th from 10:00 A.M. until noon and Saturday, October 27th from noon until 2 P.M.   



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