Part bookbinding, part bibliovandalism, part mixed-media collage, and part scrapbooking, the craft of altered books is becoming increasingly popular and recognized as the distinct art form it is. But what exactly is an altered book? According to the International Society of Altered Book Artists (, it’s “any book, old or new, that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art. They can be … rebound, painted, cut, burned, folded, added to, collaged in, gold-leafed, rubber stamped, drilled, or otherwise adorned…”

Note the trailing ellipsis: the possibilities are as open as your mind, so no list of embellishments will ever be complete. The techniques presented here are by no means meant to be exhaustive, but these common examples should provide enough tools and inspiration to get you started with altered books.