Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stamping A to Z: Altered Book

At the beginning of October, I got an email from Jamie at Two Peas in a Bucket asking if I wanted to be a guest designer for their Stamping A to Z event. I was so very happy and honoured. Two Peas has been my home on the internet for a long time, it was where I posted my first layout online more than five years ago and I have met so many friends there. Of course I said yes! Here's the post on Two Peas, and here's my gallery post.

My letter is ‘X’, as in ‘X-acto knife’, a basic papercrafting tool. It was one of the very first tools that I bought and I use my x-acto knife on almost every project. I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before using an x-acto knife, and decided to do an altered book with two deep niches. The book was turned into a Christmas decoration. Here's the final result, on the inside:

I took some step-by-step photos while I was busy (but forgot to take photos of all the steps unfortunately), so I thought I would use both those and the final photos to explain the process.

The Base: I divided the book into two (about 150 pages on each side) and glued the pages together with multi-medium. The gel was applied to the edges of the pages, making sure to get some in between the pages especially at the front and at the back. The book dried overnight under a very heavy book and with wax paper in between the two blocks and between the blocks and the covers to prevent them from sticking together. I measured one window on each side and marked them with a pencil. The the two niches were cut with my x-acto knife, using a metallic ruler as support at the beginning. After about two or three cuts, I didn't need the ruler any longer.

I cut out about 6-8 pages at the time. It is easier with a sharp blade, I changed blades before cutting the second window. This is a close up of the second niche. After I cut it, I noticed that the line just above the niche is about stamps (although postage stamps). I love such little details and it was a total coincidence. I covered up most of the text with gesso, but left 'stamps' showing.

The edges and the corners were tidied up with a small craft file and then the gel was applied to the edges. Again, the book dried overnight underneath a heavy book. Now it was ready to be embellished.

The pages: The flourish, woodgrain and snowflakes were embossed with clear sparkly powder. Then the pages were covered with a light coat of gesso and a moist cloth was used to wipe the gesso off from the embossed areas. Gold embossing powder was applied as a border around the whole spread.

Platinum Stickles was applied to the edges of the pages (where they had been glued), to almost give the book a gilded look.There was almost too much glitter, so instead I used Distress Stickles Antique Linen on the edges of the big window and Rock Candy on the small window, creating a more subtle effect. Crackle paint was applied as a frame around the big window and ink around the smaller.

Left-hand page: The house was stamped on a piece of watercolour paper which had been coloured with Antique Linen Distress Stain. The roof was stamped a second time on patterned paper. I used my knife to cut out the windows and to cut the door so that it opens (the word ‘love’ is stamped on the inside). Mica is used as windows and I also added some lace curtains. The people were stamped on shrink plastic and shrunk to form a little family. The fence was die cut from grungeboard and coated with crackle paint. Glossy Accents and white flock were added to the fence. Enamel Accents is also used as snow on the roof. Mica flakes were glued to the base of the scene as snow and cotton wool was used as smoke. The frame was stamped on acetate and I used my knife to cut out the centre (I wanted the little scene to be touchable). The background of both niches was created with blue shades of Distress Stain and misted with Perfect Pearls and water. I used different Christmas sentiment stamps and a stamp with Swedish Christmas songs.

The branch was die cut from grungepaper, painted with crackle paint and when dry snow was added with Enamel Accents and white flock. The bird is die cut from mica.

Right-hand page: The trees were stamped five times (the blue tree on cream paper, the brown tree on the same paper as the house). They were folded in the middle and glued together.

The deer was stamped on modeling film, coloured with alcohol ink, heated and shaped and then coated at the back with Stickles. Mica flakes were added as snow. The heart was die cut from mica.

Here's a close-up where you can see the depth of the niche better:

The covers: The covers were originally black and yellow. They were painted with gesso.

After sanding them lightly, the covers were coated with Distress Crackle Rock Candy. Cool stuff. I applied an uneven coat to increase the texture. When dry, Weathered Wood Distress Stain was applied on top in a patchy fashion. You can see the results here on the back:

The panel on the cover is sticky-backed canvas which was die cut and coloured with Antique Linen applied in stripes. I wanted the cover to be flat, so that the book can be stored in a bookshelf when it is not displayed.

The spine was coloured with Antique Linen Distress Stain, sponged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink and stamped with Stazon.

And here's a close up of the glitter on the edges:

Finally, the covers were glued to the blocks and left to dry overnight. Here's a photo of the book from the top:

Thank you for visiting and for looking at this long post!
Thank you so much Two Peas for asking me to be a guest designer at Stamping A to Z!

Supplies: Hero Arts stamps: Snowy Tree CG370, Tiny Flakes CG387, Fabulous Flourish S5449, Enjoy the Season CG210, Starry Sky S5448, Winking Reindeer H5457, Two Houses CG182, Plaid Person G5500, Polka Dot Person G5499, Three People LP204, Designer Woodgrain S5208, Simple Frame S5324, Christmas Reindeers CL540, Magic of Christmas CL462, Merry Christmas Trees CL459, Holiday Sayings CL343, Sending Holiday Cheer CL464, Sparkle Clear: Merry Always CL252, Many Dots CL519, Basic Lowercase Letters LL188; Tim Holtz Stamper’s Anonymous Mini Holidays, Mini Holidays 2; Stampelboden Christmas song stamp; Distress Stain: Antique Linen, Weathered Wood, Faded Jeans, Tumbled Glass; Distress Ink: Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain; Jenni Bowlin Brown Sugar, Spice Tin; Archival ink Coffee; Stazon Jet Black and Timber Brown; Versafine Onyx black; Ranger Alcohol ink Ginger; Ranger Multi-Medium Gloss; Glossy Accents; Distress Crackle Paint: Rock Candy, Vintage Photo, Antique Linen, Picket Fence; white and black Enamel Accents; Stickles: Antique Linen, Rock Candy, Tarnished Brass, Platinum; Perfect Pearls; Hero Arts Sparkle embossing powder; Ranger Seafoam white EP; Judikins Super Gold EP; gesso; Tim Holtz Sizzix Ornamental, On the Fence, Branch Tree, Heart, Bird & Cage dies; Ranger shrink plastic and sticky-back canvas; Stamper’s Anonymous Modeling Film; Stampendous Fun Flock; Tim Holtz grungeboard, grungepaper, tissue tape; BasicGrey Nordic Holiday and Basics patterned papers; mica and mica flakes; Imaginisce rhinestones; acetate; gauze; old book; lace trim; pompom.


  1. Such a masterpiece Anna-Karin. Don't have enough words to say how beautiful this is. Really brilliant details. Love the cracks, the whole christmas atmosphere.

  2. This is simply amazing! I enjoyed this quite throughly! Thanks so much for making a tutorial too! You are an amazing artist!

  3. Hi, Anna-Karin! Godelieve used the exact word I was going to: MASTERPIECE! This is such a STUNNING project! Wow! Wow! Wow! Love it! ♥

  4. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome book! Like all the beautiful details!

  5. Totally amazing project - wow!!!!

  6. Pragtig Anna Karin!! Ek het die idee om 2 openinge te los opgeslaan, ek het al wel ´n keer ´n fotolysie daarvan gemaak. Die boek is ook aan die buitekant pragtig versier!! Gaan so aan LOL

    As ek dit so kyk, het jy nou baie nederlandse volgers?!

  7. OMG this is stunning!
    Thanks for sharing!!!!
    Love it! You are an artist!

  8. Simply amazing creation! You must be so pleased with it. It's a great piece of home decor.

  9. Nog 'n keer ekke:
    as jy nou baie reaksies kry van nederlanders, ek het 'n beriggie gestuur op 'n nederlandse yahoo groep, en daar jou scenery met die maan op, laat sien, dit is waarlik 'n kunswerk...

  10. I love altered books. I think they are beautiful and this vintage way is adorable.

  11. Wonderful project! Beautiful to look at!

  12. I love this project. I started one of my own, but having trouble gluing pages. What exactly is multi-medium?

  13. Thank you Rita! Multi-medium is a multi-purpose gel by Ranger. Any gel medium would work fine - it acts as a glue here, but can also be used for other things. Or you could try a liquid glue. Let me know how it goes!

  14. This is awesome....I'm inspired to give it a theme idea at the moment. I hope I can make something as beautiful as you have....Again thanks for sharing.


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