Altered Childrens Book

Altered Childrens Book

Posted by DecoArt on Jun 10th 2015

Completely transform an inexpensive children's book through the magic of DecoArt Acrylics and other products. Create the illusion of a chipped paint exterior with a few simple steps. Colorize and customize the interior backgrounds with a warm vintage feeling that will let your personality shine through as you embellish your altered book. This little vintage keepsake is a perfect mixed media art journal, mini book and/or photo album.

Items Needed:


Emboss heavyweight white cardstock with various images suitable from embossing folders to cover the exterior of the children’s’ book. Lay them out and cut them to fit the book cover.

NOTE: This particular book has cut out windows and some printed on the book pages. I used an exacto knife and cutting pad to cut out all of the windows and printed doors in the book. These openings will later display vintage photos of children peeking through.

Instruction Image #1

Working in sections, brush DecoArt Matte Decoupage onto the back cover of the book. Brush the DecoArt Matte Decoupage onto the back of a piece of embossed heavyweight cardstock and press the cardstock in place on the back of the book. By brushing the decoupage on both surfaces, you create a better adhesion. Repeat this process until the back of the book is covered with embossed images. Heat set to dry. Repeat this for the front cover of the book.

Instruction Image #2

Working an interior page at a time, add a material of choice to the page. In this book, I used just DecoArt White Gesso, patterned cardstock, tissue wrap, tissue tape and even some embossed heavy cardstock on my pages. But you can use anything that might give more dimension or pattern to your background, including stenciling or smearing a palette knife with DecoArt Molding Paste and DecoArt Crackle Paste. 

Instruction Image #3

On some of the pages that I used patterned cardstock, I first brushed the page with DecoArt Matte Decoupage and then added the cardstock. If there are windows or doors, I simply cut them away with an exacto knife. Once all of my pages were covered, I added a light topcoat of DecoArt Matte Decoupage to seal the pages for what would come later. Gently heat set to dry each page. 

Instruction Image #4

Brush each page of the interior of the book with a light coat of DecoArt White Gesso, using a baby wipe to wipe away excess gesso and reveal the pattern underneath. Heat set.

Instruction Image #5

NOTE: To create a “brick style: texture as done on page 2, simply load the brush with DecoArt White Gesso and make quick little push forward strokes with the brush in a vertical row. This gives a nice almost crackle, stacked brick effect with the gesso. 

Instruction Image #6

Brush a light coat of DecoArt White Gesso over the front and back exterior covers of the book. This will better meld the different embossed images together and give the entire surface of the book a more uniform look. Gently heat set to dry. 

Brush another light coat of DecoArt Matte Decoupage over the book, gently heat setting between each page to seal the pages.

Instruction Image #7

Paint the outer cover of the book with two coats of Burnt Umber Media Acrylic paint, allowing the paint to dry thoroughly between each coat. 

Instruction Image #8

Using an eye shadow stick, a wooden skewer or something similar, apply small amounts of Vaseline randomly over the surface of the exterior of the book to create a chipped paint look. Allow to dry.

Instruction Image #9

Randomly apply a generous amount of DecoArt Crackle Glaze (using a brush) to areas of the exterior cover that you want to have a light crackle effect. Let dry. 

Instruction Image #10

Apply two coats of paint for the top coat (your choice of color) over the exterior cover of the book. For this sample, I mixed Cadmium Red, Titan Buff and a touch of Hansa Yellow Medium to create a vintage pink color. Load the brush and lightly paint over the book exterior being careful not to disturb the Vaseline areas of the book as much as possible. Let dry. Repeat the second layer of paint onto the book cover and let thoroughly dry.

Instruction Image #11

Gently wipe the surface of the book cover with a baby wipe, removing the paint in the areas where the Vaseline has worked as a resist. Gently heat set.

Instruction Image #12

Using a smaller detail brush, add a touch of DecoArt Titanium White Media Acrylic paint at the bottom of the “chips” and a combination of DecoArt Burnt Umber and Carbon Black Media Acrylic paints at the top of the “chips” to give them more depth. Let dry.

Instruction Image #13

Brush a coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish over the entire book exterior to seal it. Let dry or gently heat set. 

Instruction Image #14

Brush or rub some DecoArt Raw Umber Antiquing Cream over the exterior surface of the book and wipe away the excess. Let dry or gently heat set.

Instruction Image #15

For a more metallic appearance, use an eye shadow tip or your finger to add some DecoArt Black Shimmer Metallic Lustre to the raised areas of the book exterior. Buff the metallic color.

Instruction Image #16

Add one more coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish to the exterior cover of the book as a final sealant. This strengthens and protects the cover and gives it a nice sheen and a soft leathery feel.

Instruction Image #17

Create a wash using DecoArt Yellow Ochre Media Acrylic paint and water. Brush the wash on the first set of interior pages and wipe away the excess. Repeat this process until the desired color is achieved. Using your finger, wipe a bit of paint onto the washed pages to deepen the Yellow Ochre color. Wipe away any excess color and continue to add and wipe until the desired effect is achieved. Heat set to dry. 

Instruction Image #18

Repeat Step for the next two interior pages only create a wash using DecoArt Cobalt Teal Hue and Titan Buff Media Acrylic paints and water. Heat set to dry.

Instruction Image #19

Repeat Steps for the next two interior pages only create a wash using DecoArt Burnt Sienna Media Acrylic paint and water. Heat set to dry.

Repeat Steps for the final two interior pages only create a wash using DecoArt Yellow Ochre Media paint and water. Heat set to dry. Next create a wash out of DecoArt Quinacridone Gold Media Acrylic paint and water and lightly wash all of the interior pages. Quinacridone Gold warms up the colors and pulls everything together. I also like to add just some Quinacridone Gold with my finger along the edges, under the windows and wherever some warmth and depth is needed.

Using your finger and DecoArt Burnt Umber Media Acrylic, gently wipe paint to distress the edges of the pages and also add more depth to the interior of pages, under windows and in embossed areas.

Instruction Image #22

Paint or roll a little DecoArt Burnt Umber Media Acrylic paint onto a craft sheet. Pick up the paint on Andy Skinner’s stamps by dabbing them into the paint or brushing the paint on the stamp. Do not use an acrylic block to stamp. Just randomly leave a portion of the stamps on the pages. I used the peeled paint looking stamp first and then later added the text stamp in random areas. Immediately wash the stamps when finished to clean them.

Instruction Image #23

Seal with a final coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish by brushing it on all interior pages.

Instruction Image #24

Have fun embellishing the interior pages of this fantastic altered book and let your imagination take over!

Instruction Image #25