Tutorial Altered Art Journal

I will be showing you  how to make an altered art journal from a vintage or discarded  book. The fun thing about this technique is how the type/print can show through the art.

First step take a trip to the thrift store, or garage sale and find a book.
Then decide on a theme. I did an ABC journal about me.

Next step is to divide the pages in your book to a desired number of pages. I needed 26 since I'm doing an ABC journal.

Use a glue stick to glue the in between pages together. This gives substance to each page so you can add paint and elements. I like this blue colored stick so I can see where I put the glue. I've tried other glues for this project but this one is less messy and doesn't warp the pages. Make sure your cover every inch of each of the pages.

Use a credit card or a plastic piece like this to remove the air bubbles. Press and rub each of the pages together as you glue. If there are wrinkles don't worry this adds to the distressed look.

Next step is to add the paint and elements. At first the paint will make the pages buckle but as it dries the page goes back to normal.

Creativity is all that is need next.
I use acrylic paints, scrapbook papers, stamps and  found ephemera. I doodled and added my own art or found objects.

Last step is to paint and decorate the front and back covers.


  1. Oh, yes, I have a bunch of these books. A good way for me to start with altering!

    Thanks. Love this hop!


  2. I wanna do that! Oh man...thanks for adding to my list of projects. I remember your journal...very creative.


  3. What a great idea - and such a wonderful use of an old (destined for a landfill) book. You've definitely given it a new, and beautiful, life!

    Thanks for sharing your "lesson" with us!

  4. I can't wait to try this, Charlie! It's been a project in the back of my mind that I wanted to do, but thought it would be complicated and time-consuming. Your instructions make it seem very do-able!

    Your journal turned out great!

  5. Like Maggie this is something I've wanted to try for a while, so thank you for this advice Charlie! Your book is amazing and very inspiring!

  6. I have been toying with starting a journal and this just gives me even more inspiration to get started.

  7. A girl after my own heart. I LOVE altered art... especially altered art books and journals! your journal is fabulous! Keep creating! Love it!

  8. This is fun, easy and I have the perfect book for it! It's also a fun way to stay creative in between larger projects...I am SO doing this :D
    Thanks for sharing the pictures of yours...it would be fun to hold and page through the whole thing!

  9. Great tutorial, Charlie! I love what you did with it. Very fun.

  10. I'm finding so many wonderful tutorials I'd love to try and this is certainly one of them! I've never created an altered book or journal before. Thanks so much for the tips!

  11. Dear Charlie, I found a new friend- I love your project- I have so many books that I don't want to read and I just have to start altering them. Pictures always make it easier! THANK YOU! :^) patsy

  12. Wow, what a great idea! I have seen so many create these art journals and would love to create one myself and now I have an easy way that will make me get started.. and inexpensive too! Thank you!

    Found you through another great artist... Shelley of -Whimsical Folk Art The Charming Place. Great to meet you!

    ~Jaime of artsyfartsyme.blogspot.com

  13. Wow I love this idea. I think I'm going to take a trip to the thrift store tomorrow and pick out a book or maybe even two.

  14. Thanks so much. I've always wanted to see how one of these books were made. You did a great job in teaching.

  15. Oh, thank you so much for choosing to do this one as your tutorial! I've been wanting to make an art journal, but really don't have time to make my own book- I just wanted to get to the creating part! Love your images too, I remember when you posted a few pages of your journal a while back- gorgeous!

  16. I have been reading a lot about altered journals, but I like this tutorial the best. I can't wait to try it!

  17. I've been sitting on one of these books just waiting for the right inspiration to come along! Thanks :) (how am I going to find the time to do all these new things though???)

  18. How adorable. I have never put that many pages together before, but I sure like how you did yours. I also like your comment on pages that buckle. Truer words were never spoken. Lovely tutorial and a great asset to the Inspiration Avenue Blog Party.

  19. What a great idea! I teach third grade and I alway start the year with the theme "All About Me". I'm going to make an ABC book about me this summer. It will show my love of reading and art.