November 12

Altered Book & Mixed Media Canvas Photo Album

How Do You Craft a Project to Hold 49 Pictures?

Mixed Media Canvas
Mixed Media Canvas

Earlier this year I found a great deal where I could go to Glamour Shots and get our pictures taken for free.  The deal allowed me to get a DVD with all of the pictures plus 1 print out.

My mom had previously asked me to get nice pictures done of my son and I because I hadn’t done so in years.  So I saw this deal as the perfect opportunity to do so.

The problem was that I had nearly 50 pictures when I was done and I wanted to give them to my parents in the form of a Christmas gift.  So I wanted to make something special for them instead of just handing them a stack of 49 pictures.

And this is where the Mixed Media Canvas came in.


How I Made It

This was another fairly simple but time consuming project.  It was messy too.  I was talking to a friend and co-worker about what to craft to hold the pictures.  He suggested some form of tree, I liked where he was going with the idea.  When I think of tree, I picture lots of branches and family pictures as I work on family ancestry a lot.

The Altered Book

This led me to thinking of a book.  So I decided to alter a book and use the book pages to form pockets.  I would turn the pictures into bookmarks and then attach the altered book to a mixed media canvas so that my parents can display it on their wall if they so choose.

Altered Book
Altered Book

So I took a rather thick book and distressed the pages.  Do to this, I alternated between a pocket knife and a tool from my Making Memories Distress Kit.  this roughed up the pages for me.  The next step was to paint the page edges.  For this, I used a travel toothbrush, Americana’s Oak Gel Stain, and Lumiere’s Metallic Gold paint.  I first applied the stain with the toothbrush and then went over it with the gold paint.  This made the book look old.  Next I used Tim Holt’s Tea Dye distress ink to distress the pages that the book is open to.  I crumpled the pages a little first to give it some age and character and then I just distressed it lightly.

Once the book was done, I started creating the bookmarks.  I printed all of the pictures from screenshots of the DVD.  I had some tag die cuts that were given to me in a swap that somebody created with a tag die.  I distressed the tags with the Tea Dye distress ink and then glued the pictures to the front and back of each tag until I had 24 tags.  Then I took some miscellaneous embellishments and glued them to the top of each tag to keep them from sliding down into the book.  They make it easier to pull each tag out and look at the picture as well without tearing up the tags.  Once they were dry, I slid them into the book pages and used Mod Podge to glue the pages together creating pockets for the tags.

Craft Supplies

The Mixed Media Canvas

Once the book was done, it was time to start the mixed media canvas.  I took a blank canvas and used my X-Acto knife to cut slits in the canvas to hold the corners of the book.  This will help with the stress on the glue since the book is so heavy.  With the hidden pockets holding the book corners, there is less chance of the book eventually breaking off of the canvas.  I slid the corners into the cuts and used duct tape to secure each corner in the cut canvas and help prevent the canvas from tearing any.

Mini Canvas
Mini Canvas In Progress

Next I mod podged a sewing pattern down in the corners to give the canvas more texture.  I cut two pieces of lace and mod podged them down to the top and bottom edges of the canvas for texture as well.  Next I glued down a bunch of embellishments like gears, beads, flowers, ect.  Once everything was glued on and the glue was dry, I covered everything but the book in a layer of gesso to prime it for painting.

I covered the book with seran wrap so that I wouldn’t mess it up while I was painting and spraying the canvas.  In hindsight, I should have measured the book and marked the canvas without gluing it down until the painting was done.  But the seran wrap worked perfectly at protecting the book and I think it turned out better than it would’ve had I attached the book last.

Once the gesso was dry, I sprayed the canvas with the following Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist colors:  Chocolate Covered Cherries, Dragonfly, and Autumn Nights.  I also used Adirondack’s Purple Twilight Colorwash.  After the first layer of sprays, I painted a coat of Lumiere’s Pearlescent White over everything.  Once that was dry, I put a second coat of the glimmer mists and color wash on.  Finally, after the second coat of mists was dry, I used Lumiere’s Metallic Bronze paint to touch up the embellishments and edges of the canvas to give it an aged appearance.

After all of that was done, I cut a piece of cardboard slightly bigger than the main display picture and I decorated it similarly to the actual canvas.  Once it dried, I glued the main picture to it and glued it to the open pages of the book as the main display.

The Final Result

This project is designed to hold a lot of pictures in a unique way so that it doesn’t wind up on some dusty shelf with a bunch of old photo albums.  I firmly believe that handmade gifts that have a lot of thought involved mean so much more than store bought gifts.  I think this project might end up being one of my mom’s all time favorites.

The following video shows the making of this altered book and mixed media canvas.  It’s a pretty long video so I have increased the speed so that you see me working quickly but get an idea of how I did it.  Feel free to fast forward to the very end so you can see how it all came together.


I hope this post has inspired you to find your own unique ways to display your family portraits and maybe get creative for your mom and give her something truly from your heart.

Happy Crafting!