altered book: lesson 4

I'm continuing with the free and very comprehensive altered book (AB) class being given by Elizabeth over at Altered Book Lover.  Each of her very complete and detailed lessons is archived at the top of her side bar so you can easily join in any time.  She's proceeding at a leisurely pace of a new lesson every couple of weeks so there's plenty of time to work on each step.

Lesson 4 was all about glue.  We were tasked with gluing 2 pages together using every type of glue we had to see how the paper reacted and how easy it was to work with after gluing.  Elizabeth suggested we then make tags or some way of keeping notes of our results on the pages.  Finally, we were to experiment with using some type of glue as a decorative resist or element and also to make a double spread using gesso as both the glue to hold pages together as well as the glue to hold design elements to the page.

Here we go:

The glues I used were:  glue stick, PVA glue, Elmer's white glue, mod podge (decoupage), matte medium and gesso.  Generally, there wasn't a lot of difference between them.  They all held up well to the application of acrylic and watercolors.  The glue stick page was slightly stiffer and less flexible.  Elmer's and decoupage had the most bubbling or ridges, but not enough to bother me.  Matte medium and gesso probably were the easiest (I just dribbled from the bottle to the page and spread with a credit card) and left me with the most flexible and easy to work on pages.  However, they're also the most expensive mediums so I likely won't use them as a regular course when most of the other glues were satisfactory.  I didn't really have any trouble with pages curling or warping.

The photos above show the tags and pouches for each page.  I used flower photos I'd taken for the pouches and the tags are just painted & distressed pieces of a cardboard popcorn box with ribbon added.

Next I started decorating.  I wasn't too successful using the white glue as a resist.  In fact that page is still 'under construction' - I'm not quite sure what to do with it.
Above, the glue is still wet and blobby.  Definitely a technique that would require some practice. Quote on this page:  You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going! - Mike Litman (thought this particularly appropriate for this book!)

Another task was to try gesso as the surface prep as well as the glue to hold design elements.

The floral paper & holed paper above are pretty heavy and you can see the holed strips and lace bits didn't totally stick down.  I learned that I need a thicker coat of gesso to hold down the heavier elements.  I used Inktense watercolor pencils, a little wood cut out butterfly, lace, markers, glue stick, washi tape on the gesso surface and everything worked beautifully.  My quote says:  Dreams are renewable.  No matter what age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. -Dale Turner

By the way - originally I was considering Daydreams as my theme.  After further thought, I've changed it to Favorite Quotes - I'm going to use it as a place to gather and illustrate my favorite sayings.

Here are my remaining pages so far - some still need their quotes added.

Glue stick page - I used one of my homemade stencils for the purple pie shapes, scraps from a rejected piece of art and markers:

Elmer's Glue page on right, PVA on left.

Decoupage on right, Elmers on left.

Matte medium on right, decoupage on left - quote: We are all adventurers, explorers, and travelers of life.

Gesso on right, matte medium on left with some Traci Bautista inspired doodles.  Also, I tried the technique of applying gesso and drawing into it while wet.  On the left (my first effort), I found that I applied it too thin and it dries VERY quickly so details were lost.  I tried again on the right, spread it more thickly and drew more quickly so it was a more successful result.  Covered with acrylic paint.  The left page also has white out marker, oil crayon, Inktense pencils and duck tape across the top.

If you've ever thought you might like to try an altered book, let me highly recommend Elizabeth's class.  It's SO thorough and so clear, she makes it easy and fun to succeed.  I can't wait to try the next pages!  There are as many styles of books as there are participants, so be sure to visit the links and see what others are making.  Thanks Elizabeth!


  1. This is going to be a wonderfully coloured book. I am learning so much visiting the various participants and their wonderful variety. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing all your gorgeous results Terrie! So many great tips and tricks. Looks like you had a very successful day!!! I love the idea of a quote book--I seem to have them on scraps all over the place.

  3. You are learning some wonderful techniques at the class, it looks really worthwhile! Valerie

  4. What fabulous pages you have created. They are SO well done and so colorful, too. Very impressive.

    I was surprised that the glue stick was stiffer than the others. I agree that gel medium is way too expensive to use every day. I have had one jar for YEARS and it is still more than 3/4 full. I hoard it for times when nothing else will do. As for gesso, I was quite impressed with the new gesso I got from Hobby Lobby. It is MUCH thicker than the student grade I have bought in the past. In fact, it may be a bit too thick in its current form. But it is SO cheap, I couldn't pass it up. 2500 mL for around $9.00 with coupon. I know it's a ways to travel, but in the end, it may be worth it. Of course, if you are like me, you will end up using gesso for everything once you see how versatile it is. And speaking of cheap, glue sticks are NOT cheap. The kind I buy costs around $2.00 a stick and they go in the blink of an eye. Even the cheap ones from WalMart only last for a few pages.

    What I like about your theme is, each page can be a totally different theme, as long as it supports the quote you are spotlighting. That shows lots of freedom. Thanks SO much for sharing these gorgeous pages.

  5. Like Elle, I am learning so much by popping round & seeing others AB's! Your is looking amazing...so much colour & interest in it :-D x

  6. Oh Terri, your book is coming out so beautiful! The quotes and the way you chose to illustrate them are so colorful and joyous! Elizabeth is doing a wonderful job with this course!

  7. I love the pockets you made to hold your tags, mind if I use a simialr idea? And I also love quotes, I made a quote book once, but it's more along the mini album style, although was thinking of doing another one and making a AB...maybe next time? Your book is coming along fabulously, keep up the great work! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

  8. Your book is amazing! I haven't decorated my glue experiment pages yet, or done my glue as resist (don't think I will be now...!) Can't wait to see what you do next.

  9. Oh WOW!! Your book is awsome!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Jackie x

  10. Anonymous1:02 PM

    haha just visitd from WOYWW and said I'd love to see inside your AB and look what I've found! Great pages, especially the one with the flowers and yellow circles. Love your style.

    Claire #85

  11. This is such a treat to read through, Terrie! I had a bit of Life pop up and so I hadn't really got on with my book. Reading and seeing you/yours has lit me up and I love, too, your idea of favourite quotes. I was sort of waffling and telling myself I needed a theme to get started [aren't excuses creative?! LOL] then when I read your journey down that same road I realised straightaway that I finally have something to DO with a bunch of the poems I've written daily for the past year in my Gratitude. It started out for Poetry Month last April and where I used to use quotes I love, Now each of my Gratitudes BEgin with some of my art and a poem I write then and there. MayBE TMI, but I wanted to thank you anyway for inspiring me and of course, Elizabeth, for her wondrous course. So generous you creative every day folk I am meeting here!!

  12. I love the colourful approach to your AB, it's truly beautiful. I just finished my glued page and inked them but haven't got round to decorating yet - it's a bit scary for me.

  13. Brilliant AB so far, love all the colour. - BJ


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