Using the Found Poetry Technique in Altered Books


Nope, it's not poetry you find on the Internet and adapt for your own purposes!

The Found Poetry technique involves skimming the text on a page you are altering, and isolating certain words to form a new message. As one altered artist said, "The book becomes a partner in the art I create."

How to Use Found Poetry

  1. Skim your page, identifying words, phrases or sentences that you want to use to create your new message.

  2. Mask these words. You can mask in various ways. I use ordinary, cheap Painter's Tape, available wherever housepaint is sold. There is a down side to Painter's Tape, however. You must take care to remove it carefully or you risk tearing the paper underneath. Other products used for masking include Post-it Correction, Cover-up Tape, or even Sticky Notes. If you're using Sticky Notes, you will have to use temporary adhesive to stick down the "other" three sides.

  3. Coat your entire page with a color. You might use Gesso, acrylic paint, rubber stamping inks or dyes, etc. Allow to dry.

  4. Carefully remove your masking substance, exposing the words. Your new message is visible.

Alternate Methods for Creating Found Poetry

Method 1: Cut text out of a book and glue the words on a page to spell out your new message.

Method 2. Highlight the words or phrases with markers or paint, using translucent color. OR underline the words.

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Return to Altered Book Home Page when finished with Found Poetry Technique