Altered Book with Drawers–Romantic Era

Mom and I visit at least 2 of the trinity when I visit (in this case Michaels and Hobby Lobby; Joann’s is the third). The last couple of times we were in Hobby Lobby, we both stopped and looked at the faux boxes at then end of one of the aisles. One of these “book” boxes was 3 faux books with drawers coming out of the spine of each of the faux books.

One of my swap groups is doing an “altered book with drawer—romantic era” swap. I’m sure my idea isn’t new, but the only tutorials I found were for matchbook size drawers. On one of my “couldn’t get to sleep” nights, my brain started in on designing for this swap. It remembered the faux books with drawers, so I started pondering what I would need to do to make this happen. By the time I fell asleep, I came up with 3 or 4 variations on the same design.

I’m going to post the project as it progresses.

These are the books I started with….

unaltered booksThe first thing I did was apply a heavy coat of Aleene’s Tacky Glue on all 3 edges of each book, put them under weight and let the glue dry for a couple of hours. Once they were mostly dry, the book covers were separated from the book blocks. After letting them set overnight to make sure the glue was nice and dry, I marked about ¾” around 3 sides of the book, starting at the spine. With my scroll saw, I cut 3 sides of 2 of the books. The scroll saw cut nice, smooth edges. This is what they look like, now:

bookblocks cut with scroll sawNotes for future: use a dust mask! Also, the blade should have fairly small, close teeth. The first one I cut out took a long time; it had fewer teeth. The second blade (the first one bent as it exited the book block) is rated for 1-1/2” hardwood—worked very well thru the second book block. Also, keep a hand under the cut edge of the block as it comes around the other side—mine slipped off the edge and got a caught—no harm done.

After sawing, apply a heavy coat of glue to the inside edges of the partial block and weight it down. You will notice you now have another book block smaller than the original but it can be cut for another altered book or use the pages elsewhere.

notated book blocksThe book on the right is now ready for it’s next steps. I’ll make the drawer first, then determine how to attach it to the spine. I’m planning on cutting a frame out of the top bookboard so that a  picture can be added from underneath. Before I add the picture, though, I’ll  alter the cover and spine—paper distressed to a faux leather is my current thought. The spine will be separated from the book board.

2nd book block cutsThis second book, though, I’m going to miter cut
the corners of the block and make the drawer pull from that side. Again, the covers will be
altered, but I won’t separate the spine from the book board for this one. This block will  get glued back in as it came out, but the cavity will have a drawer. I’m hoping  the miter will be somewhat hidden, and will add a pull of some kind.

For the picture, I’m thinking of using an image either by Edmund Blair Leighton or John Singer Sargent. Next step is to cover the book board and spines.


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