Altered Books: Ideas for Your Next Party

A dear friend of mine from my newspaper days has her first book, a memoir coming out in September, and I can't wait to help her celebrate. Because the book is about raising and training a service dog, we're making arrangements for a reading at my local gourmet pet food shop and other friends are organizing a publishing party.

altered book by veska abad
Veska Abad made this altered book simply by folding
the pages. It's the perfect centerpiece for a book party!

I'll use any excuse to make themed party decorations, so my mind is already racing with ideas. Since the events revolve around a book, I want to focus on decorations I can make with book pages and altered book techniques.

So I turned to the Book Club Party section of I {Heart} Paper magazine for ideas and found the perfect altered book idea right off the bat: The Mustache Book by Veska Abad. Instead of a mustache, I'm going to fold my book pages into the shape of something canine–like the dog's face or perhaps a bone.

With patience and a little practice, these book sculptures are easy to make.

Here are Veska's instructions for the Mustache (or other shape) Book:


• Pencil
• Paper
• Hardcover book, about 2" thick
• Scissors
• Tape
• Pens, felt (I used blue,
green, purple, yellow,
and black.)


1. Choose an image. It should be a very simple object or shape. I chose a mustache, but it could be a heart, a fish, or something else.

2. Draw the pattern of the image on a sheet of paper. The dimensions (the width and height) of the drawing will depend on the thickness of the book. Remember that the shape will be stretched out in the final piece-adjust the drawing accordingly.

3. Cut the shape out with scissors and tape it to the pages of the book to use as a pattern. (Figure 1)

altered book techniques
Figures 1-4 for how to make altered books by folding.
Art by Veska Abad.

4. Trace the pattern on the outside pages of the book with the pencil or felt-tip pen, and then remove the template.

5. Start folding the pages following the line of the drawing. Fold the upper corner of the page down, tuck it into the center crease of the book, and then fold the bottom corner of the page into the crease. You can fold each page individually or take several pages (3, 5, or more) and fold them together. The important thing is to fold the same number of pages each time and use the same sequence for the entire book. (Figure 2)

6. Repeat the same action until all of the pages are folded. (Figures 3 and 4)

7. Adjust the folding as necessary until the line of the image is smooth and symmetrical. This is the step that requires the most patience and time.

8. Once all of the pages are folded, the book sculpture is ready. If you like, color the object with felt-tip pens to hide the outline of the pattern on the pages.
There you have it-the perfect book party centerpiece.

I have plenty of old books hanging around that I hate to part with but no longer read, so I'm always looking for altered book ideas and projects to make using book pages.

I {Heart} Paper is filled with tutorials on using book pages and other found papers in decorative ways. Get your copy now and start turning books into art!

P.S. What's your favorite way to use a book in your artwork? Share your ideas below.


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