Using a Dremel in an Altered Book


Dremel is the brand name of a multi-purpose, rotary tool. Although developed for the home handiperson, mixed media artists, including altered book artists, have embraced this tool for their art work.

The Dremel usually comes with a selection of basic attachments. You can purchase additional attachments as desired.

You can also choose between a battery operated tool or an electric tool. The pros and cons of each are self explanatory.

You may also try various other types of rotary tools on the market. Often, these are more economical than the Dremel, which is thought of as the Cadillac. I have heard various reports on satisfaction achieved from the other brands. Some people are satisfed with Brand X. Some are not.

Here are some of the things you might do with your Dremal or rotary tool. Some will require additional attachments.


  • Punching holes in CDs. Why do you needs holes in CDs? To dangle them from your AB. To thread ribbon, fibre, wires, beads, cords, etc, through them. To string embellishments from them. Go where your imagination takes you.

  • Engraving metals and other objects. You use the engravings as embellishments.

  • Drillng holes in the cover or in blocks of text that have been glued together. Dangle things, thread things through it, hang the book from a hanger. Whatever.

  • Drilling holes in board books, ceramic tile, leather.

  • Drilling and etching glass and polymer clay.

  • Cutting off screw ends that are too long.

  • Sanding. Take the rough edges off holes, niches, cut covers, etc. Sand boardbooks prior to applying gesso. Sand elements and pages to get an aged look.

  • Drilling holes through special embellishments to use in the book. Think dominoes, jewellery, altoid boxes, metal doo-dads, formica samples, etc.

  • Filing sharp edges on metal or glass objects that you plan on using in your AB art. Hint: think broken plates, crystal stemware, mirrors.

  • Polishing stones, rocks, or similar objects for inclusion.

  • Carving new book titles.

  • Drilling holes for eyelits and brads.

  • Cutting items into pieces that resemble a jigsaw.

Here is a video showing a Dremel tool:

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buy art & craft supplies at
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Return to Altered Book Home Page when finished with Dremel