Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Altered Book Project

As part of my Thrifty Thursday series, I've decided to alter a book I bought at the local used bookstore. It's called Plains Song by Wright Morris.

I haven't read it, and now that I've prepared it for altering I won't be able to (not this copy anyway) as you will soon understand. But I didn't buy it to read it, I bought it specifically for the purpose of alteration. Now, there are two important things to look for when purchasing a book to alter. First of all, it has to have a hard cover, otherwise it won't stand up to all the fun things you'll be putting it through. Second, it really should have stitched signatures, as opposed to glued signatures.

I'm not sure how well you can see it here, but pages have been grouped together - these are known as "signatures" - and those groups have been sewn together onto a binding strip. This is very important when it comes to the first (and really only major) step in preparing the book to be altered:  tearing out pages. If the signatures were glued together, when you start to tear some out, the whole book could fall apart. You should be able to tell when you're holding it in your hands, and most older books were stitched as that was the only available method; the downside to this being older books tend to cost more. Trust me though, it's worth the extra in the long run!

Here you can see I tore out a page or two; I chose to leave the black and white photos that appear at the beginning of the chapters just in case I want to use them.

There are no rules, that I'm aware of, as far as how many pages to remove. I like even numbers, so I try to leave an even number of pages, and tear out about a third of the book. The more you remove, the more room you will have to give your layouts dimension and interaction. You can always start small and remove more as you need the room.

I would like to finish at least one page a week, although at that rate it will take me over a year to finish the entire book, so I'll probably do more than one. I will be trying out different techniques, mediums, etc, and sharing photos and writing about some of my favorites as part of this series. When the entire book is full I'm going to give it to a friend, but I'm not going to tell you who that friend is until after they've received it. Surprises are fun! Especially homemade ones!

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