Altered Book Art

How to Make a Book

When I was looking for information on how to make books I ran across quite a few with videos. I guess I’m behind the times, but I simply do not enjoy learning from a video. I prefer photos and written instructions, and that’s how I’ve styled this tutorial. By the end of this article you’ll be ready to make your very own refillable, unique journal!


Antique Paper (or regular paper)

Writing Paper (I use printer paper)

Paper Cutter (scissors can also be used, but it will take considerably longer)

Three-Hole Hole Puncher (you can get away with a hand-held)

Hand-Held Hole Punch


Ring Binders


Step 1

For this journal I used antique pages as the cover with a sturdy 140lb paper for backing. I upcycle everything, nothing goes to waste, so these pages were from 1880 antique covers that I used to make an upcycled journal.


You can draw anything you want, of course, and if you don’t have access to antique paper just use regular paper! I cut my pages down to a 6×4″ size so the edges were a bit smoother.

Once you’ve drawn your design it’s time to laminate. If using antique paper I strongly recommend using a heavier paper as a backing. I don’t have a picture of my laminator, I will confess that this time around I simply forgot to have my phone out. Once laminated cut your covers down to size using a handy-dandy cutter (or scissors, although I’ve noticed the edges aren’t quite as smooth. Then, using your hole puncher, go ahead and punch the holes for the ring binders.

Step 2

Time to cut paper! Confession: I use printer paper. I wouldn’t have thought of using that, but it’s what my husband uses for drawing and taking notes, and it holds up incredibly well. I have bought acid free paper, of course (HP claims that their papers are truly acid and lignin free, unlike other printer papers that make them acid free then add a thin coating containing acid back in).


I’m able to cut 3 pages at a time, cutting them down to the size of my covers (in this case 6×4″). The lower right hand stack of paper is my leftover paper, which I’m saving for another book project. I never waste paper!

Step 3

This device is a lifesaver. I had been using a handheld hole punch for these books when I read that some bigger hole punches are adjustable; I checked the one I had gathering dust and LO, it was adjustable. I did a happy dance that day.


I eyeball my pages when cutting holes, and so far haven’t had an issue with them not lining up.

Step 4

Put it all together! I used ring binders-available at any supermarket-to bind the pages together. I like using these because the journal is refillable and it’s easy to lay the page you’re working on flat.


This is available in my etsy store; the business owner in me feels compelled to mention that BUT hopefully you’ve found this tutorial informative!

Art on, my friends.



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