Sunday, May 15, 2011

Repurposing Children's Board Books

Children's board books, the kind with super heavy pages, make great substrates for small paintings.
  1. Tear the book apart, page by page. Leave the tatters on the edges.
  2. Tear strips of cotton fabric, any weight from gauze to heavy duck, whatever you have. The strips should be approximately the size and shape of the boards. It's okay that the edges won't line up. This fabric helps cover the original images and colors and is used to add texture. Skip this step if you want smooth pages.
  3. Use any white glue (Elmer's, Sobo, PVA, etc.) to glue a strip of fabric to each side of each of the pages. Allow to dry.
  4. Optional: Coat all surfaces with acrylic gel medium to seal in any acids.
  5. Apply gesso liberally to all surfaces of the fabric and board. Dry.
  1. For the above book I painted, stamped and stenciled my designs onto 5 prepared book pages, allowing paint to dry between coats.  I set 2 grommets in each page on the inner edges where one page would attach to another, and then used short chains to bind the pages together.
  2. I have used some of the single pages for the substrate for small paintings. Sorry, no pictures available.
  3. Some board books have large holes which can be useful to create a niche by gluing a page with a hole on top of a solid page and then put something into this niche.
  4. Of course one could tell a new story on the painted pages.


  1. cool, cool, cool!! I love how they are attached on different sides and fold in on the middle page.

  2. Very cool idea, appreciate the step by step as I would not have thought to cover them in a fabric first. These turned out beautifully

  3. I agree that the fabric is a great idea. Love how you've reconnected the pages.

  4. An awesome post! I've missed alot being busy while away. Have to catch-up! I've been thinking about buying the kids board books-waiting for library sale.

  5. I get most of my board books from my grandchildren, books that are too damaged to pass on. Thrift stores are another good source.


I appreciate comments and questions.

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