The first few Art Journals I filled I bought in a book store. They were spiral bound and had great thick paper to work on. I was a beginner at everything art related, so buying was my best option to get started. But since then, I have learned to love working in vintage books.

Vintage book going to be a new art journal by iHanna

These days I almost always have an altered book going, with a colorful altered book cover of course, as my messy, everyday art journal. I love working in an altered book, and I fill it with collage and paint, scribbles, words, ephemera and color. This is the story of how I altered this sun bleached cover fabric to something a bit more… my taste!

I worked on two big vintage books at the same time, and covered them in white gesso before I took out my spray paint. Gesso makes the neon paints shine a bit better.

Painting the cover of an altered to be book by iHanna

The main components in this project were neon spray paint in warm colors, and a box of cardboard hearts found at an office supply store. I thought I’d alter them for future use, but then I found that they made excellent masks on the book cover.

Cardboard hearts in a box by iHanna
Neon oranges in spray bottles by iHanna

So I spread a few of them out on the painted cover, and sprayed a quick coat of neon orange on top of the painted cover.

Hearts as a mask by iHanna

So yummy!

Hearts as a mask by iHanna

You can’t even recognize the altered book cover in the before and after photos – it’s a total transformation. In the end I added pink and pink camouflage hockey tape on the spine, and lettered iHanna’s Art Journal using a Sharpie on the front.

If you haven’t already, I hope you will find a vintage book and give altering a book a go! I think you’ll like it.
Altered Book Art - the Before and after of my art journal, by iHanna #alteredbook

I’m drawn to pretty notebooks in the store, but I also really love putting my own spin on the cover of the books I work in. What ever journal you’re using, I think you should try to make it “your own”, inside out.

Make your Own Altered Art Journal Book

I have pimped a lot of notebooks over the years, using decoupage, paint, collage and wall paper! If you want to check out how I’ve altered previous notebooks you can click through the tag Pimped Cover.

If you want to learn how to prep a book for altering, read my Altered book tutorial.

My altered book / art journal, by iHanna
Altering the cover before you work in your Art Journal makes it even more fun to use it, but of course you can also altered it once the book is finished and full. I hope you give it a try.

I’m really loving this altered book cover and this as an art journal. What do you think?