I am the type of person who likes to always have a project going. Whenever I have free time I love to have something, whether it be an art project or a DIY craft, that I can work on. A few years ago I had the opportunity to make an altered book for a class, and I fell in love. An altered book can really be anything you want it to be, but the basic idea is that you turn an old book into a work of art.

Whether you paint it, add pictures, cut things out, glue things in, it doesn't matter. It was the ultimate long-term project that kept my hands busy, my mind engaged, and my year chronicled in a unique and creative way. And in the end, I created a keepsake that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

An altered book is more or less a scrapbook. I take that back - it is definitely more than a scrapbook, but the general idea is the same. An altered book is all about being creative and preserving memories and emotions like a scrapbook, but having also done a scrapbook myself, I know I became so much more invested in my altered book. There is more of an opportunity with this project to insert yourself and your life into the pages.

It's not just about adding pictures and using pretty paper from Michael's. You can paint every page or you can fill it with your favorite song lyrics. You can fill a page with new words, or you can make a page say nothing at all. Your book can be themed, but it doesn't have to be. There are really no rules, so the end product is always unique and always a pleasant surprise.

One of the great things about making an altered book is that it's good for the environment. When I made my altered book for school, my class salvaged books that my school would have thrown out. I loved that I was able to take something that was literally about to be trash and turn it into a work of art that has become a personal treasure.

But of course, you can use any kind of book that you want, especially one that has sentimental value for you. I recently started a new altered book with one of my childhood books that I couldn't bear to throw out or give away, and I'm so excited to see how it's going to turn out. In all honesty it's my complete book of cat breeds. Yes, I've been a crazy cat lady since childhood, and yes, this book will include a page dedicated to my cat.

Next time you find an old hardcover book lying around, I really encourage you to give this project a try. You don't need to be an artist or a DIY expert. All you need is a little time and a lot of creativity. I promise, you can't mess this up, and the end product is so worth it.

For ideas and inspiration click here, here, and here.

Have you ever made an altered book, Lovelies? Are you interested in giving this project a try?

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