Tutorial: Journal prep of a vintage book

Since I was starting a new journal I thought I’d share with you my process for prepping the book.  First find yourself an old book that appeals to you. For me it was the size of this book. Not too small or too big… Just call me Goldilocks.journal prep5

Look inside to see what kind of binding you have.journal prep1

This inside cover gave me a really good indication that I had a sewn binding but I had to make sure.journal prep4

Yep…sewn binding. Perfect! Now we’re ready for the thinning of pages without leaving chunks of torn pages along the inner spine. Removing pages reduces bulk since the altering of a book whether journal style or a themed altered book adds lots of bulk!

I find the center of each signature (as seen in the above photo) and remove the page from each side.journal prep3Like this. I go back and carefully pick out all of the torn fragments. It will appear as if nothing has changed until you look at the page numbers. You’ll have a definite gap which would make reading the story a real challenge at this point.

I remove at least one page from each signature, sometimes more. You can always go back and remove more. journal prep7

Here you can see the gaps along the spine and how the book is more narrow going toward the outer edge. This is exactly what you want. journal prep8

You have a nice stack of pages for your altering pleasure when you are done.


  1. I am also starting a new AB and am in the “thinning out” stage. I’m making it for Kathy because she left a TON (and I mean a TON) of images she had printed on her computer for an AB I am sure she wanted to make at one time of all the British Kings and Queens. I couldn’t believe all the Kings and Queens Great Britain has had since 1066, where she first started.

    Like you, I prefer to start somewhere in the middle of the book. Somewhere random. NOT at the front! But, when making a chronological AB, I know I’ll have to start there.

    I was hoping to have it started and finished next weekend (NBA All Stars Weekend), but I somehow don’t think that’s going to happen, since she has SO many images and so much history that should probably be added. At least it’s all written down and I won’t have to write very much by hand.

    So glad to see your new AB. I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

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