Friday, January 10, 2014

Tutorial: Altered Composition Book

 This year my passion for books has me diving in to the world of book-making.  I like to watch articles and tutorial videos by book designers and fabricators.  I made my first journal in October of 2013.  It was a mess but I've been hooked ever since.
Altered Composition Books are one of the more inexpensive and easier book projects to make. This idea is not my own.  I'll only take credit for my creative spin and decorating on my projects. The basics come from many talented crafters before me. In this post I'll pass on what I've learned from them and show you how I make a tabbed composition book like this:
The main ingredient is TIME.
At every step be patient and let the glue dry.  If you skip this important step and rush the book, it will end up an unsightly, warped mess.
I know firsthand :\
Let's get started!
Supply List:
Sewn signature (NOT GLUED) composition book
2 pieces of 8.5" X 11" scrap or parchment paper for mess
2 pieces of 8.5" X 11" designer paper for covers
Bone folder
Score board
Book press or heavy books

Place a piece of scrap or wax paper between the covers and the pages of your book to create an apron.  This prevents glue from sticking to the pages.  Coat the entire cardboard surface of the book cover with glue. (DO NOT put glue on the spine.  We will cover that later.)

Apply designer paper to the glued surface of the book.
Butt the paper right up to the edge of the cloth black spine. 
Use a bone folder to smooth away air bubbles.
 Trim the corners of the paper on an angle.
Use your bone folder to carefully tuck and crease the corners of your paper.
Fold the flaps to the inside and glue.


Place parchment paper apron between the glued covers and pages, close the book and press it dry.

Once the front and back covers are dry, you can add tabs to your pages.  I used a label punch by EK and cut each label in half.  I glued one tab on each side of the page for strength.

  Most of my comps have 3 tabs but this book was a custom project that required 12 tabs.
Tab spacing can be a bit of a challenge.  But once you've done it once or twice it's easy peasy!
To position tabs, lay them out on the book and space evenly, mark location lightly with a pencil then glue to the appropriate pages.

I added a size 16 snap closure to my book using a snap tool from my local art store.
I seated the snap receiver on front cover
and the snap on a closure ribbon attached to the back cover

To cover the spine, measure the width and height of the black cloth spine.
I cut the paper for the spine 1 inch taller than the height measurement and folded 1/2" on each end to the inside. (See below)  It adds strength and is more aesthetic than raw edged paper.
Slightly bend your spine cover into a u-shape as shown above and dry fit to the spine double checking your measurements. (You want the entire black cloth spine to disappear)
Put glue on the entire inside surface of the spine cover then adhere it to the black cloth spine.
Make sure the spine seats evenly and is straight from front to back/top to bottom.
Let the spine dry completely before continuing.

Glue a ribbon to hide the seam where the spine and cover papers meet.  Cut your ribbon 2" longer that the height of the book. Glue the ribbon to the seam then fold each ribbon flap around and glue to the inside of your covers.

Next we will conceal your work on the inside of the cover.  Measure and cut the paper so that it will leave 1/4" border on all sides.  Put glue on the entire surface of the paper and adhere to the inside of your covers.  Use a bone folder to smooth out air bubbles.  Place parchment apron between the cover and pages, close the cover and press the book dry.
Check to make sure all edges are sealed with glue.  If you find any unsealed areas, add a bit of glue and seal it.  Once dry, you can add pockets.
Cut designer paper to half the width of the book cover and 1/4" shorter than the height.  Adhere with glue on 3 sides and allow to dry.

Add embellishments and decorations as desired.  The combinations are endless.
I hope you enjoy making your own altered composition book.
Hugs and happy crafting!


1 comment:

Linda Compton said...

What are you going to use this masterpiece for. I have one of those snappy tools. I used it to make rompers for my son when he was a baby. LOL