“Pages of Your Journey” Altered Book Art Journal

A guest post by Artist Nichole Rae

Happy New Year to you! This year I carry the words “Create What You Most Need To Find.” 2014 was a year of traveling + adventure for me, and documenting and collecting my journey in book form is a passion of mine. For this month’s project I will show you how you can take all your photographs, sentimental cards, letters, papers and bits you collect on your travels and create a mixed-media book to keep them in. This project was inspired by my time in living in Nova Scotia and for the adventures that are awaiting for 2015! Cheers to creating as you go!

Here is what you will need to create your book:

  • an old hardcover book {your choice of size, I used a 5″ x 7″ size book}
  • misc paper: pattern paper, book pages or misc books, journals to use pages from, music sheets, maps
  • envelopes {small + medium sizes}
  • photographs {from travels or any that you would like to use}
  • sentimental papers {cards, postcards, letters, misc. things you saved}
  • paint chip samples
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • craft knife
  • hole punch
  • twine or string
  • masking tape/washi tape {holiday colors}
  • black ink pad
  • small alphabet rubber stamp set {font will vary}
  • misc rubber stamps {flowers, birds, travel, etc}
  • date stamp {found at office supply store}
  • paper clips
  • buttons
  • oil pastels/crayons
  • paper tags {styles will vary}

Photographs, sentimental papers, letters, things you have collected along the way


Paint samples, misc. book pages {birds, dictionary}, small cards, papers


Postcards, misc envelopes, tags


Things to create with: masking/washi tape, oil pastels, paper clips, pens, a-z rubber stamps, misc rubber stamps, date stamp, glue stick, scissors, craft knife, twine, ink pad, glue stick

Begin with your hardcover book and craft knife. We will be removing the ALL the pages from the book.


Using your craft knife, carefully cut along the seam/binding of the book, see below.



It will take multiple cuts along the binding to remove all the pages. Take your time and work carefully.


Once you have cut the ALL the pages out, your book will look similar to above. I used an old book so I had to clean out the extra bits (see below).



After you have cut out the pages we will then punch one hole in the middle of the book binding (see image above). If you have cleaned out the pages well enough this edge should be very easy to punch through. I have put the hole punch through, pinching both layers together (see image below).


Once you have punched the hole this is what it will look like from the inside.


We will now start collecting our miscellaneous papers, photographs, envelopes and stack them together to make the pages of the book. Above you will see the pages can be different sizes. The focus is to center the middles together and then hole punch them.


Above you will see my pages stacked. I have turned the book in this image just to show the how the pages will lay in the book.


We will now estimate the middle and hole punch one hole through each paper. Using your top paper as a template.

NOTE: You will want to punch in a bit on the paper so they do not rip, but not too much that there is excess paper making it hard for the pages to turn. (See above image and black circle on top page.)


Above you will see that this envelope already had a center hole. I used this as a template for the rest of the pages.


Here are all the pages I will be using for the book. You will see how each page regardless of size has 1 hole punch in the left side of the page in the center.


We will now use our twine or string to “thread” or bind them all together. Cut a 12-15 inch piece of thread so you have enough to work with.



Take the twine and “thread” it through the hole in each of the papers. I usually keep the papers stacked, as close together and just go slowly. see below.



Here are the pages all together {above + below images}.



You will then create a knot. You will want to keep a fingers with of distance between the knot and papers. This will allow the pages to turn easily. Before you tie the knot completely test that the pages turn easily.


Then tread each end of the string through the 2 holes of the book binding. You will then make a bow and knot them. (See below.)

NOTE: Before you tie this knot make sure the book opens and the pages turn easily.



Now that you have your book made we will use our creative supplies and add words, text, color, little bits {postage stamps, buttons etc}. Have fun at this step. You may work on just a few pages each day, honor the journey you have been on and embrace your creative inner artist here.

Below I will show you a few steps of adding different elements to the pages. Then there will be a gallery of images from my first book I created in Nova Scotia.

This will give you visual guidance and spark your creativity.


Above: I used a date stamp to date the page.

Below: I added a vintage postage stamp I had found.



Above: I added a paper clip to the page.

Below: I used a rubber stamp to add a layered element.



Above: I added a button. Use extra glue or a white craft glue to adhere.

Below: I used a colored pen and boxed in the date to make it stand out.



Above: I used a yellow oil pastel to highlight words.

Below: Also to color in the petals of the flowers.



Above: I used mint green pen to color in the leaves and tie in the color of the paper clip.

Below is a gallery of images from the book that inspired this project that I had made while living in Nova Scotia. You can see different supplies I used for pages and creative bits. I also used my journal affirmations for some of the pages.









Below you will see that I used extra twine to wrap around the book and added a button on the end. This is just another way to keep the book closed if you would like.


“Create what you most need to find” in 2015. I wish you all a Happy New Year filled with creativity and inspiration!

I would love to connect with you, find me at artistnicholerae.com and connect with me via facebook or instagram. Share your projects – I would love to see them!

Art Journal Art Journey_160Nichole Rae is a mixed-media artist who has a passion for documenting her life through art journaling, books arts, photography, honest writing and typography design. She resides in Minnesota and is the author of the book Art Journal Art Journey: Collage and Storytelling for Honoring Your Creative Process.

Visit her website artistnicholerae.com.


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3 Responses to “Pages of Your Journey” Altered Book Art Journal

  1. dare2cre8 says:

    Fantastic tutorial! Thank you so much for presenting everything so spectacularly well. You’ve inspired me to make one of my own.

  2. JuniperBerri00 says:

    This is beautiful! I can’t wait to create my own! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  3. writerofdragons says:

    I want to actually play with this idea. I’ve been looking into making journals by hand and found this by accident.