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Altered Books: Book Boxes

Lesson 9 of 9

Building more Complex Boxes

Molly Meng

Altered Books: Book Boxes

Molly Meng

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Lesson Info

9. Building more Complex Boxes

Lesson Info

Building more Complex Boxes

So in class we built the basics of a book box fun thing about this project is that you can actually go so much further with it. So while that khun b your basic book box, you can actually build a box that has other levels and layers, this was a jewelry box, so it has a mirror here on the front, which is a type of paper that you can buy it's, a very soft, workable paper, and you can put that on the front of your layer, and then it's got a soft fabric on the back so I can keep jewelry in different sections, and each one of these walls is built the same exact way that we built the four walls of the box. So I just measured the inside and decided to do two other little dividers. So I made that into a jewelry box because I thought that would be a fun object to have. And because it has this top player, which, again is foam core, measured and cut to this size and then covered in the paper and fabric on both sides, it holds everything in there, and then when the box is closed, I can hold it stra...

ight up, and everything stays safe inside their every box, every book that you choose and box that you make can have a different kind of theme. So it can also have a different level of materials this is an envelope that is glued into the inner side of the book and then when you open the tab you have different objects inside and in here I put a little a little metal and a little old playing card and a photograph so it's something that's kind of three d for your box that you can have uh I did a little handle in here I don't know yet what that's for but I just liked the way it had that pop out visual I used ribbon along the spine and I hear I used a web next paper for the cover for the inside of the cover this's a box that I loved the cover and I loved everything about it the spine was getting pretty old so I ended abusing repair tape as well and I didn't care that the age didn't disappear when I use the repair tape I actually wanted it to look like it was a book that had been around in this person's hands forever because this little book box which I've closed with eh fabric excuse me a furniture pin this was for a pollster on furniture it's this little pin that I ended up putting in the cover and so when it comes down to the foam core pins book closed but this is somebody's plant book box so they've got their ruler for measuring they've got their plant id cards here in this little pocket, this pocket was added on it's made out of actually tree bark, but this was glued down on two sides. They keep their paper and they're for notes. I've left the end papers of this original book because I really liked that writing in there and then inside here I just made one divider inside the box, and so in the top is where they keep their specimen collections, and down here in the bottom is where they keep their dried flowers and other flower cards, the little the little notes that they'll write the image of the flower on. So is this concept that it was somebody's flower collection box you'll see in here even in order to make the spying a little bit stiffer and a little bit stronger? I used fabric, I just glued it down, I actually used elmer's glue, and that was a really good adhesive for fabric and the book box, so that helps in there as well. So that's another kind. If you think about the seam of what you might like your book fox to be, maybe it's going to be a baby box that holds baby photos and its first rattle inside? Or maybe it's going to be a gift for somebody else. This is a bigger box and I actually ended up using a thicker foam core which you khun dio so it's the same concept for the walls it's just a thicker foam core and sometimes with a bigger box like a large cookbook or a big dictionary it's fun to use the wider walls so that's what was done here and then we just used marble paper and then similar to when we covered the edges of that other book I didn't want to see the edges here so I end up using ribbon and each one of the edges and then the other book that we actually collage the cover of this too has a kind of a secret inside so I ended up collage ing inside the end papers there was just a blank paper for the end paper there so I collaged in here built a little pocket for things to go in and out of and then this top box which is like the jewelry box same thing cut it down to size it's out of the foam core and I put a little handle inside. And so then what I did appears actually put a little ice crew and just screwed that into the foam core and it hangs onto this key and then underneath that key you have an envelope of goods, photographs and old letters and other little secret things but again, this was all collaged out of old dictionary paper, and this is kind of newer paper that I ended up using on the book ends. I made this pocket out of the dictionary page and then anything you want to put inside, but I thought it would be kind of fun. I ended up using a thesaurus page about hidden things and that's the cover of this so fat is like my secret stash box, and that closes up just like that. So I'm going to show you how to do a little bit more complex box like the ones we just viewed. And if you think about the theme when you're looking for books and looking for papers to collage with, if you think about the theme of where you're going it's always a good idea to start with that theme blank palette, a blank page could be pretty overwhelming when you're trying to have a finished project. So I loved this book. I found this book this summer when we were traveling in france and I knew I wanted to use it for a book box it's just a gorgeous cover. I love the old spine I did nothing to this, but I would have happily added that and I love the back so it's a beautiful old geography book I ended up using on the inside old maps for the end papers it had blank and papers, and so I thought it would really pop if I use some old maps for the end paper and then I use marbled paper for the walls, so we had marbled some paper this summer, and then I'm very lucky to be able to use that paper, so we're going to actually glue in these two walls and then I'll show you how we're going to end up gluing that third while fifth well, technically fifth wall inside and that's going to hold a little something because this is going to be a map carrier book it's gonna hold maps it's gonna hold this great little map and it's going to hold this very important little pencil that we need as well, so we're going to do the same thing. We're going to glue those four walls and then our final wall it's going to just talk right up inside here so we can have a little space to hold something else. You're going to use your hot glue gun, do the same through the same thing where you ride along the edge of the paper, being really careful of the heat of the hot glue gun and don't mind the hairs, those can all be cut off later just make sure, yeah, so this is my end piece and I'm going to tuck that right in there and again because the glue gun the glue of the glue gun drives so quickly you don't need to keep hanging on to it and we're going to put our final wall there on that last edge of the book I love the way the maps pop out the rest of the paper as well and it's such a fun color pop you'll notice I ended up using pretty bright colors for these things because the outside of the book is so kind of downplayed in its grays and blues that I love the idea when you open it up it had these bright pinks it's a great way to contrast your books you have one cover on the outside and you open it up and you have something completely different on the inside so that's our finished box and then we want to add another layer in here I'm using this book as my measurement tool because I know that I want to I know that I want to have that fit definitely so I don't want to go you know I don't wanna glue without thinking I want to make sure that fits in there and then I know I can put this layer here it's true of anything that you're using like this when I was making a book box the other day I ended up glowing in the whole entire box and then I went to close the book and realized that I glued the entire thing upside down so it happens so you kind of always want to be checking yourself in any of these paper and book box projects it's something that you always want to be looking like I'm just going to double check okay it's going the right way just going to double check all my walls are in the right space great so I don't want to have that in their wall I'm using the hot glue it's not it's not the best thing to d'oh in the case of this because I don't know my exact line on the inside I'm actually going to use the hot glue on the foam core itself, so I'm going to put it on pretty quickly and then and then set that in pretty quickly so it doesn't have time to dry and it doesn't have time to go down into the phone court you can see that heat coming off it's just unbelievable so I'm gonna put that up but the top all your measurement rules are the same you wantto measure measure measure than cut and then check it again and then then cut some more if you have to but you just always want to be measuring and making sure things are going to fit again if I needed to cut off any of the hot glue I could use my exacto knife and cut on top of the hot glue and underneath and pop it off, but looking around, I don't see anything sticking out, which is great, we're going to put our map book in there, and we're gonna put our very important tool in there or a pencil tool, and now we have our very own map box as well, and then that can close up and keep our things safe and that's just a bit about more of the complex boxes that you can make it's something if you know your theme and you know where you're going with it, it makes it a little easier to create the walls, the collage and if you want to get more complex it's a lot of fun. I've seen people actually so scissors on the outside here, where they have sown the handles of the scissors into the spine because they had a nice, strong spine and then in here put an entire other little book that goes inside that can flip open there's all kinds of things you can add to it it's, a never ending process, which makes it so fun you can make more than one book box. Once you've got it, you just keep adding to it, and that is a little more of the complex book box.

Class Description

Book boxes are a classic way to store small treasures, and making boxes is great way to upcycle old books. In Altered Books: Book Boxes with Molly Meng, you’ll learn how to collect, convert, and add, you’ll learn how to collect, convert, and add new functions to hardbound tomes. 

Molly is an artist, teacher, and storyteller. She owns and designs cards for the hand-crafted greeting card company 8mm Ideas. In this class she’ll share her expertise in repurposing antiquated books. 

You’ll learn how to: 

  • Select the perfect book to convert  
  • Gut the book, break the spine, and create a simple box frame  
  • Use collage to create color and story  
  • Create both simple and more complex book boxes  

You’ll also learn about the tools that will make the job easier and Molly will share future project ideas for the paper you remove.  

Book boxes are infused with an air of mystery – learn how to make your own magical repository in Altered Books: Book Boxes with Molly Meng. 



I learned so many things by watching this class that I always wanted to know. Molly gives great detailed instructions and fascinating suggestions for what you can do with these boxes. I got the sense that she is incredibly excited about doing this and it makes me want to do it to. It sparked a lot of ideas for me even though I doubt I will do exactly what she demonstrates.

Elizabeth Haen

This is such a fun project, can't wait to try it all out! I love Molly's calm and professional manner and upbeat approach to teaching as well.

Mia Reeves

I love the clear step by step directions. I also love the fact that she uses pretty basic tools and materials. The possibilities for creating some very unique book boxes all start here!