Altered Books

Altered book junk journals are super easy to make. They don't require any binding because you're essentially re-using a hardcover book. You're simply adding to it.

The idea is to remove at least half of the 'bulk' of the book to allow space for what you're adding to it.

I start at the first page in the book that stands alone (not attached to the endpaper) which is typically about 4 to 5 pages in, and I remove two or three pages. I sometimes remove more, especially if I plan to add alot of dimensional embellishments or page layers. Then I skip two pages and repeat. I do this until I reach the back of the book and I stop at the blank pages right before the endpaper.

This causes the spine to get a bit wonky and flattened but it will return to its straight form once you embellish and fill the book back up again.

Altered Book Junk Journal

When making altered books, it's preferrable to repurpose glue-bound hardcover books as opposed to books with sewn signatures.

The reason is that the pages in stitched books will likely fall out and cause your book to fall apart because the signatures will be looser once you've taken pages out.

Pulling glued pages out allows you to only remove those you choose and keep the spine intact.

And there's no need to throw away all the pages you pulled out - they are great for making embellishments such as tags, pockets, page flags/banners, backgrounds in collage art and so much more!

Altered Book Tutorial

In the video below, I show this process and how I pair up and adhere the remaining pages to conceal the torn edges of the ones I've taken out. This step isn't necessary if you don't mind seeing the tears but doing so is an opportunity to make pocket pages.

Since the books I use to make this type of junk journal are newer, the covers often need help to look 'vintage'. I like to use a sanding block or fine grit sandpaper and distress them on the front, back and corners. Rubbing off the book title and author on the spine also makes the book look more vintage. Then I add metal corner pieces, or leave them bare. Distress ink can also be applied and then the whole cover sealed with a spray. You can read more about paper distressing here.

Decorating the inside of an altered book can be done in many different ways with scraps, junk mail and printables . There's no limit to what you can use. 

More Altered Book Tutorials

These two tutorials were made by our junk journal friend Teresa Lafrentz, who makes some of the most beautiful altered books I've ever seen. In the following videos, she kindly shares her techniques for creating pocket pages and large tags.




This website contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links, I receive a small commission which I use towards site fees. Thank you!