One Way to Make an Altered Book Sculpture


I have seen many fine examples of altered book sculptures. The pictures further down on this page represent my first attempt.

I made the project below to enter in a contest at Scrap Arts, my local scrapbook store. The contest terms stated we were to create a work of altered art, using Stella Ruby papers from Basic Grey.


altered book scupture

Proect's front view

altered book sculpture

Book sculpture, spine view

One old book, fairly thick

Clay flower pot

Paper, two sheets, each different but coordinating

Golden Acrylic White Gesso (Another brand of gesso would do just as well)

Flowers from the Dollar Store

Gold Pen or Gold Stickers for edging

Glue for adhering the pages together (I used Aleene's Tacky Glue )

Glue for attaching the decorative papers (I used Plaid Mod Podge matte )

Craft knife or box cutter

Sandpaper (optional)

Foam brush or other brush to apply the gesso

Clamp to hold the book shut during cutting (optional)

Directions for Making the Book Sculpture

1. Draw a rectangle on the top of your book, centering it or positioning as desired.

2. Clamp your book together to hold during cutting.

3. Using the craft knife and using the drawn rectangle as a guide, cut a "hole" in the book, going through the cover and extending about half way down through the book. Remove the rectangular portions of the pages that you have cut out. This can be quite a chore.

4. Sand around the inside of the hole, aiming to create even, tidy sides and corners.

5. Using the Aleene's Tacky Glue or any economical glue, paste the pages together as much as you can. You do not need to glue every page together -- just aim at smearing the glue on many pages so you end up with several blocks of glued together pages. I suggest using an economical glue like Aleene's Tacky Glue because for this project, you do not have to worry about warped pages.

6. Allow the glue to dry. This can take a few days.

7. When dry, paint the entire book with white gesso. I suggest gesso because it provides more adhesion for the edges than you would get with white paint. After covering everything with gesso, your book will be a solid block.

8. Decorate the book sculpture using the two papers and adhering with Mod Podge or other good quality adhesive. Refer to the picture as guide, or use your own design.

8. Go around the edges of the cut rectangle and the cover edges with a gold pen or gold stickers. I used stickers.

Directions for Decorating the Flower Pot

1. Paint the flower pot with white gesso

2. Trim with punched shapes or shapes cut from the colored papers.

3. Add flowers

Assemble the Altered Book Structure

1. Glue the flower pot in the hole in the book

2. Add flowers

3. Glue one leaf or flower petal across the book's spine

I'm thinking you could also omit the flower pot and adhere a photograph in the book sculpture's "hole". It would be quite a nice photo frame -- and you could display the coordinating flower pot beside it if desired.

I'm not even sure that "book sculpture" is the correct term for this project. I didn't know what else to call it.

Altered Books 103: Little Books, Decos, CDs & More! (#5215)

Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More. by Terry Taylor

Return to Altered Book Home Page when finished with Book Sculpture