Skip to main content

craft & maker

Altered Books: Book Boxes

Lesson 6 of 9

Constructing the Box

Molly Meng

Altered Books: Book Boxes

Molly Meng

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Constructing the Box

Lesson Info

Constructing the Box

So what we're going to do now is actually construct the box into the book I'm going to leave the end papers in this particular book that we chose because I love this image of this woman holding the letter up she's going to play into what I end up using this book box for which is storing letters and stamps so I'm going to leave that and this for now, and we're going actually glue the walls right into the book now a common mistakes that ends up happening when you're ready to glue your walls in and build your box is if you spent all this time carefully collage in each one of these walls and having little secret messages pop out in different places things that you want to be sure that air scene you want to lay this out before you actually glue anything down so I know I want this stamp to show on the outside, so I'm gonna lay my wall down this way, which means when I glue it's going to stand up this way this side I want this stamp toe also be on the inside of the box so I know it's got to g...

o like this I want the stamp to show, so I know I have to glue this way so we believe that this way so when I come along with hot glue, which is a extremely hot and can be somewhat dangerous if it gets on your fingers glue I want to be ready to put my things in place once the hot clue is laid down. This little message that I put on the outside I mentioned earlier taking some pages from the book if you don't actually use them for collage ing the walls than grabbing some sentences out of the book. And so I found a little sentence that said, oh, that would be great, so I'm gonna have that facing on the outside of my book, so I want to make sure before I glue anything down that I know where that's going and the same for this wall. So I have my four walls mehdi this's kind of a tricky part and I'm going to actually stand up when I do it because manning the glue gun and the heat that that's giving off as well as the direction of the walls it's a good idea to be a little more in that perfectionist family than I normally am just so they can all come together and fit nice and tight. The first wall I want to do is this wall, which goes along the spine, and the reason that is is because if I end up gluing the spying to the wall, I want to make sure I have that at the very edge and it's perfectly straight from where I'm going, I don't want to put the hot glue onto the phone core because that contend to melt the phone core, especially if you're using a wider foam core thicker foam core it, khun borough little holes right down in there, so I'm going to go along the edge of the book really carefully. The great thing about hot glue is once it's dried, you can very, very easily go back over with an exacto knife, and if this happens to us, we can show it, but you can go along once it's dried and actually cut the glue up, so you'll cut from above and then you just slide your blade underneath. So if that happens and you don't like all those stringing hairs from the hot glue which contend to happen with hot glue it's easily correctable, so the first while I'm going to put in again is the spine and I'm going to go along following the book following the end paper and just glue a thin line of hot glue down along the spine. You need enough for it to stick, but you don't want so much that it'll squirt out both sides hot glue dries really quickly, so you want to be sure to get your object whatever it is on to the hot glue as quickly as possible it's, one of the easier glues to use because it does drive so quickly and it's just a push to get the glue out but it also could be a little tricky if you're using it with different materials if I were to glue it onto the paper and then try to take that off it could rip that paper right away which is why we leave that open space of the foam core down below we're never going to see that, but we want to make sure to leave that open down below already you can see the little hot glue hares getting in places so the next thing I want to do is glue one of the ends it doesn't matter if you blew the top or the bottom end but you want to be sure to glue one of the ends instead of gluing the long outside just to get again your box in the best shape possible I'm going to do just one more check of my box to make sure it's all going to fit the way I want it to with hot glue the great thing is you can pull it up again if you have a mistake but if I were to pull this up now it could rip that endpaper so I want to make sure you've got everything in place before I get it all down glued securely and yes, all my walls fit so that's going to be great so next thing we're going to do is put in one of the end walls, and again, I'm following the end paper that's on here, but you could just follow the edge of your book as well. This kind of a natural square that happens whenever you open up an old book and if there's not an end paper, they're going to put a little on the end, tio, because it has to get firm and I can clean up those hairs afterwards, but it has to get firmly against this wall as well. Hot glue dries really quickly, as I mentioned, so if you've got something in place, it's not that you have to hold it, but it does have a fifteen second movement, which is if you were to put something into hot glue and then walk away it could it just could bend slightly. It does have that movement, so we got a little hot glue around the edges, which, again, I'll show you once it dries, you can't do it when it's hot or when it's wet, but once it dries, we can take our exacto knife and clean it up. Then you want to work your way around the book, so you want to next put your long wall in here, so again, I'm gonna put the hot glue on the book. And then I'm going to set my wall and making sure do I want yes, that's what I want out with that stamp so coming down thiss length and again, I'm not too worried about the hot glue because I can clean it up afterwards and I want to do just enough, but it won't squish out all the sides, but not too much and then that wall comes along and I'm going to press against the end wall so we're nice and tight in all those walls, and with that little ten, fifteen seconds of movement with the hot glue, I was able to move my wall to the exact spot that I need it, you could use an elmer's glue. The problem with elmer's is it has too much movement for too long, so though in elmer's glue could be used if you don't have a hot glue gun, you would have to hold the walls in order for them to stay hot glue, it's dry and five seconds and you're done. We're going to finally put this wall in, making sure yep there's my little phrase, all that would be great at the end because that's, how I'm going to feel about that box that's where our end piece is going to go and you can see it will be a perfect little box so let me get the hot glue down on that final wall going along the edge of the book, same rule applies. I want to get it on the very edge just enough, but not too much, and I'm gonna put a little bit up here because that wall is going to rest inside these two walls, so I'm going to retire any tiny bit and then they're don't mind that hair will get rid of that hot glue hairs, and then we come in and fit that in exactly there's, no reason to rush this part whatsoever, because this is your main object is building this box it's good to take your time with it, and that way, making sure all your corners air straight now oftentimes you end up with these edges that you don't want to see, and I'm going to show you a little something you khun dio to cover those edges and it'll still look like part of that book box. Just finish. Is it going to go around? Look, see if I have hot glue, which I do have a little hot glue right there, so because it's dry, I can use a little bit of my exacto that way and a little bit of my exact of that way, and it should just pop up.

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. 

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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!