Altered Book Ideas ~ As the Earth Turns

Altered Book Ideas ~ As the Earth Turns

Altered Book Ideas ~ As the Earth Turns

I tried many different altered book ideas in my second major altered book — As the Earth Turns. The book was divided into five sections – winter, spring, summer, fall, and winter again. My plans were ambitious: I was going to do four double-page spreads for each season. Two of them would focus entirely on art, and two would involve found poetry as well as art work.

Altered Book Ideas ~ Earth Cover

I started off pretty strong.  But during the making of “Summer,” which by coincidence, I was working on during the summer, I started to get bogged down. My ideas felt stale and uncreative. I started doubting myself and wondered what the heck I was doing spending so much time making this book.

I decided I needed a change of pace, and set this book aside to do some shorter, faster, although not always easier, altered board books. Working in the board books allowed me to try altered book ideas that I couldn’t do in the larger novels. So I got side-tracked from this piece, and after doing the sunflower page, never came back to it. Someday, one day, I hope to come back to it and finish those last two seasons.

Altered Book Ideas ~ As the Earth Turns

The Title Page

I purchased the art chalks at my very first stamping convention. They are named “Nouvel Pastel Carre’ ” by Sakura. They were so pretty that I bought two color sets, and I know there are more. The only time I’ve ever used colored chalk in my life was to draw on the sidewalks in front of my house and to write on the chalkboard in my classroom. But for some reason the pearlescent ones said “Buy Me,” and since they were having a sale . . . well, I felt compelled to buy the brights set as well.

I have been looking at those chalks ever since without a clue about what to do with them. I have a lot of things like that in my room right now. Things that I’ve bought because they were beautiful that now sit in a drawer waiting…waiting… forever waiting… Well, at least I finally used the chalks. Now on to other challenges!


As the Earth Turns
Gladys Hasty Carroll
New York
the MacMillan Company


The first thing that I did was print out a photo of the earth on Kodak picture paper using my ink jet printer.  I had a color photocopy made of the picture, and I used that copy to make a Contact Paper transfer.

I have heard that the clear Contact shelf paper that you can buy today is not effective for these kinds of transfers. It is now “repositionable” and has less tack than the older version. The clear Contact paper that I have is from an old stash I bought many years ago when my students made their own books. This transfer method supposedly works well with cold laminate and clear packing tape, although I have not tried them yet.

When the transfer was ready, I took a Q-tip (a.k.a. a cotton bud) dipped in baby oil and used it to carefully remove some of the transferred ink from behind the earth. I wanted more of the book title and author name to be visible.

With the transfer done, I started preparing the background for the page. I took the maps and tore them up, paying attention to color and pattern schemes on the paper. Using matte medium, I glued the scraps around the book pages, starting in the corners and then working towards the earth. I was trying to do something fancy with the different types of papers, but it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted. However, I do like the blue water surrounding the planet.

I wasn’t happy with the colors of the maps; they were too washed out, and not in a good way. So I mixed up some acrylic paint. I used brown, ochre, and russet to make this earthy orange color. I added 1 part orange to 3 parts acrylic glaze and brushed it all over the pages, except the earth. I think it gives the page a more uniform appearance.

I used some lovely art chalks to color in the clip art of the woman, and I glued her in place.

Lessons Learned

  1. When gluing down a contact paper transfer, put the adhesive on the back of the transfer itself, not onto the book page.
  2. Chalks are an effective way to add subtle color to a piece of clip art.
  3. The back of the contact paper transfer will accept chalks!

Please click on the images below to find more altered book ideas from the other chapters of As the Earth Turns to use in your own altered books.

Altered Book Methods ~ WinterWinter




You can find more altered book ideas by checking out Altered Book Project ~ Motor Girls and Altered Book Journal ~ The Art of Happiness.