Tuesday 4 November 2014

Supplies list + prep notes for an altered book + collage adventure: 'Fortune & Geese Favour the Bold' Part 1

Hello you.

As I mentioned in last week's sneak peek over the coming weeks I'm going to share my latest collage / mixed-media / altered book project here and I decided that - rather than simply share my photos of the end results - I'd try to offer something a bit more useful.

EDITED: Here's a link to the complete series.
  • Part 1: Prep notes and supplies list
  • Part 2: Introducing a themed focus into your altered book / journal
  • Part 3: Turning an old book into a new home for your collage
  • Part 4: 101 alternative crafty supplies ... and where to find them
  • Part 5: Using figures to create a narrative in your collage
  • Part 6: Experimenting with Abstract collage (while playing with your favourite papers)
  • Part 7: [you are here!] Adding words to your pages.
  • Part 8: Adding the Midas touch: Ideas and inspiration for using gilding flakes and foil.

  • Ideally I'd like you to feel you could follow along with the project picking up whatever it is you fancy while making it your own.
    I'm calling it an 'adventure' because it's not exactly going to be a traditional full blown 'class' or 'workshop' as such ... but it is going to be a series of:
    • tutorials / 'How To's
    • information posts and ponderings
    • practical tips
    • and lots of photos ...
    ... all based around the topics of ...
    • altering a book to use as a journal
    • the style of collage I used inside
    • the kinds of supplies you might use to make something similar
    • ways to add additional details
    • and more!
    And I hope that, somewhere amongst all that there'll be something to inspire you to pick n' mix from the information and see where it takes you.
    • maybe you'd like some general arty/collagey inspiration and ideas [there'll be plenty of that as I share each page]
    • maybe you'd like some practical tips [I'll be explaining my process as we go along]
    • or maybe you'd be happy to hear some confidence boosting positive encouragement so you feel like you could start something similar or try out a new style or technique [there'll be lots of that ... I've got your back, creatively speaking. In fact I'll dust off my crafty cheerleading pompoms ASAP].
    And if you've never altered a book before now don't let a small fact like that that prevent you from joining in ... 
    ... until I worked on this project I'd never altered a book before either.

    Well ... I had altered one or two in so far as cutting them up and using their pages and covers for other things ... but I'd never actually created an 'altered book' from one! But now I have ... and you're welcome to take the plunge with me.

    Let me tell you a little bit about my own project first before I move on to a suggested checklist of supplies you may need if you're planning to follow along.

    The reason behind the project in the first place was to have somewhere to house my daily 'lessons' from joining in with the idea of 'Learn Something New Everyday' [a class hosted annually at shimelle.com]. It was my 4th year taking part and I was looking for a new method of recording my thoughts ... which is when the idea of collaging the pages of an old book popped into my head.

    So ... if you too feel a concrete reason / a specific focus to get you to pick up a new project ... then start thinking of one now! It could be to document something specific, [we've got Christmas coming ... maybe it could be related to that??] or to explore a themed series of pages ... it's up to you!

    And, while you're at it, here are some other practicalities to take a note of ...

    What You'll Need**: [practically, creatively ... and maybe even philosophically ...]

    **This list contains the things I used ... you can adapt and omit any of it to suit your self and your style. Just use it as a guide if you want to prepare a kit for yourself before you begin.

    A book to alter:
    • If you haven't got one on the shelf already, nip out to your nearest charity shop and have a look there. [Trust me, you'll feel better cutting into a book when you balance it with donating to charity!]
    • Ideally it would be: hardback, something you're not going to get too attached to and refuse to dismantle, something that isn't a relic and nothing especially beautiful!  
    • It should have: decent weight pages to make sturdy bases for your collage. However, you can always stick several thinner pages together, so don't worry if you can't find heavy paper. 
    • In fact something like one of those ubiquitous Reader's Digest compilations would be ideal.
    This is the tome I converted:
    I chose this one because:
    • the colours matched my theme exactly [more on this in the next post]
    • it was the 4th year I'd created something for Learn Something New Everyday so I thought it was going to be an appropriate part of a tradition of my own! 
    • the pages are quite thick
    • the subject matter was innocuous and I didn't need to worry about what kinds of words or phrases would be poking out behind my collage! [The same can't be said for another book on my shelf which I later discovered was part of an obscenity trial in the 1950s!! So, I'm just saying: choose your book carefully ...]

    A ruler:
    • Not to do anything as drastic as measuring with [why would I want to inflict anything as accurate as that on myself?]
    • No ... it's just to use as a straight edge when tearing out the unwanted pages of the book. [I'll explain more on this when we get to the destructive ripping and tearing stage!].
    A colour scheme and / or an overarching theme:
    As I mentioned above, I'm going to chat more about the whys and wherefores of this aspect in its own post, as the next instalment of the series. 

    For me this aspect comes under the category of 'philosophical' things you might need for the project ... and while I believe you'll find it useful ... you may disagree. But, I'm going to fight its corner for now!

    And, while we're on the topic of 'themes' here's the page from which the name of this series came from ...
    Maybe I'll explain it to you properly sometime ... or maybe that'll just spoil the mystery ...

    • A wet glue: I used a matte finish glaze medium [by Daler Rowney] because I like how it isn't overly tacky [when I inevitably get my fingers all 'clarty' with it!]. Plus, as it's matte, when it dries on top of the paper it doesn't leave a shine.
    • However, if you're not clarty-prone, or you don't mind shine, then PVA or any other paper glue would work just as well.
    • A glue stick - to stick your pages together [quicker and easier than spreading glue / cheaper than double-sided tape].
    • I also used staples to hold some of my elements in place. But that's purely because I like staples! They're not an integral part of the project. [Unless you too are addicted to office supplies].
    Collage materials / paper supplies:
    Packs of lucky-dip 'Collage Scraps' are now on sale in my Etsy shop and are made up from a broad range of off-cuts from both this particular project plus lots of other bits and pieces I've made. They're just £2.50 and would make a fun inspiration kick-start to any scrappy style project.

    Alternatively ... you can prepare by collecting together a variety of papers which inspire you ...
    • Things such as old book pages, music paper [all of which I can also help out with in my shop if you don't want to go trawling junk shops! OK ... end of hard sell ...]
    • Handmade papers, patterned papers
    • Hand painted papers
    • I feel I've been saying 'papers' a lot
    • Papers papers papers
    • A selection of pictures / figures / images [and yes, they're also papers ...]
    If you need a little help to work out where you can source some unusual / affordable papery items to use [rather than reaching directly for the new pre-packed patterned papers - as lovely as they are!] then hold on for a post later in the series where I'll be listing 100 places to find / types of supplies you could use in collage.

    [Well ... when I say 100 ... that seemed like a good number to aim for ... whether I'll reach it or not is yet to be determined!! Try not to think less of me if I only make it to 50 ...].

    Finishing touches
    • If you plan to add wording to your pages, you might want to think of how you'll do this; I typed mine but you could print it out, hand write, stamp, cut words from pages.
    • Also .. if you plan to add additional but HIDDEN journaling to your pages, you'll need some small envelopes/pouches too [I have a selection of those here and will happily take custom orders].
    • I gilded areas of some of my pages using a couple of methods including a Write N Rub pen and Tonertex foil. But, seriously ... that's not an essential! Just a fun added extra.
    • And, finally, I edged my finished pages with strips of washi tape.

    How does that all sound? There's nothing too extravagant [blingy gilding aside!] to hunt down is there?? And hopefully you'll be able to set some of that aside ready and waiting for the adventure to begin. And, as all successful adventures and expeditions begin with packing a kit ...

    **I suggest you put all your supplies together in a bag or box with a pair of scissors so that, whenever you're ready to snip and stick ... everything will be right there on hand.**

    OK, I'll leave you to sort out what you need and I'll be back soon with that look at why choosing to work to a theme can help you from the very start ... and right throughout the project.

    Any questions, suggestions or nice things to say ... then do drop me a comment. I really appreciate the feedback and support!

    Julie x


    1. Sounds great Julie, I'm ready to rock and roll!!! :D

    2. I'm liking the sound of this Julie so watching with interest

    3. I had started a boring old mini book to document our house building project but it isn't really inspiring me. I think an altered book would be just right. Off to look for a suitable book today :)

    4. Sounds great Julie! Might have to do a Christmas journal like this. Off to the charity shop later:)

    5. I have never done anything like this but the other week I spent a crafty day with a friend and she wanted to share the techniques she had learnt at a class on decorating old books. Having bought some Christmas themed packs from your Facebook sale I had already planned a slightly different approach to my JYC this year so having hacked a book apart (I have kept the innards as I want to read it later LOL) I now have my gesso'd and mod podged to death covers ready for it. So your mini series has come along at just the right time for me as I have never done anything art journally at all before and I was slightly worried about how to approach it. I look forward with interest x

    6. I'm very much looking forward to getting started Julie. Sounds great fun.

    7. This sounds cool and a great way of using up scrap bits of paper that are too nice to throw away. I think I might have to join in!!

    8. Sorting out supplies now, sounds a great idea.

    9. I found a book on my shelf called Barfields Blazer and other school stories. Ha ha, perfect! "you're health Tom" he said jovially...
      "Gossing, you cad!"... "Dear me!, Dear me!" he said drawing his gloves on... Oh yes, perfect.

    10. I came in at post 3 so have come back to the start - off to see the missing instalement now! This is really tickling my fancy. You have put LOTS of work into this. And thank-you for the washi-tape tip - I was peering and trying to work out what you used!


    Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.