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  • Writer's pictureLa'la

Altered Book_02

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

The last altered book project gave me the idea of cutting through the book for this project. I chose the thickest book on my bookshelf to make the final work look like a box.

The name of the book that I chose is “break dawn ''. This gave me the idea to change it to “break down” to give this book’s title a new meaning. I decided to make a lot of stars with the cut off pieces. It would like to break down the papers into the stars. To make this altered book more exciting, I wanted to imbed a music box in the book’s spine. As the theme of the altered book affected by stars, I chose the “Castle in the Sky '' music box. “Castle in the sky” is one of my favourite animations by “Hayao Miyazaki” and It has a lovely melody.


I prepared the chosen book and music box. I had to consider the book thickness to hide the music box inside it.


I started with measure pages. I rely on a sharp Stanley knife for this project.


Cutting through pages was harder than I thought, but I was patient enough to continue cutting 😊.


So far, it is looking good.


I finished 1/3 of the book's pages. As cutting became harder, I decided to continue cutting from the back of the book. In this photo, I finished the 1/3 of pages from each side of the book.


The 1/3 middle was the trickiest part of my cutting. But I finished it. hooray


Now it was time to carve the music box’s place.


I made a hole with a screwdriver for the music box handle. It looks perfect.


Now, I was happy that I took care of the main carving. As the last carving, I cut off the front and back page. I was very glad about the result.


This is the hand-made book press that I prepared for this course.


I glued down the inside area of the book with acid-free PVA.


I put baking paper between some pages and put it between hand-made book press as well.


Now it was time to cut leftover pages into small strips to make stars.


Making small stars was taking time but I enjoyed making them.

After two days I took it off from the book press. it was flat (exactly what I want). While I was ready to glue down the music box, I realised that I made a mistake in measuring the music box place.


So, I started to carve more space for a music box. (This time, as I glue down the inside part of pages, the carving becomes more challenging.)


Finally, the music box glued down in its place. Hooray 😊.


In this stage, I glued down two transparent sheets on either side of the book to secure the stars inside it.


After I put it in the book press, I applied PVA glue on the pages and let it out.


After a day or two, I checked it and I realised some pages did not stick together properly. So, I applied glue again and put the book in a book press.


It is almost ready. I trimmed the edges. For the last touch, I decided to add metal corners on each side. Firstly, I glued them down.


After that, I used a hammer to put a nail on them.

At this stage, I finished my altered book. I was so happy, but I realised that the music box did not work. It was like a nightmare☹.



So, I opened the book from the middle pages to access the music box. I realised that the banging with a hammer dislocates one of the gears in the music box.


After I fixed it, I realised that opening the book from the middle was a big mistake. Because I couldn't glue back the music box in its place. So, I decided to glue all the pages together again. And let it dry.


My new strategy is to open it from the side.


Another fixation that I did: I made a semi cover as it shows in the photos, to prevent more complications in the future (as it is possible that the stars block the movement of the music box during playing the music).


I finally closed it down.


Add metal corners with more caution.

Everything went well this time. 😊 😊 😊



When I started this project, I never thought it would be this challenging. I thought I should make the book hollow, put a music box in it, fill it with stars and sill it. easy peasy 😉. Unfortunately, it was not like that, but each time I reminded myself I was going to learn new things after. For sure! 😊





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