How-to Prep a Children’s Board Book for an Art Journal, and My Little Board Book of Verses

I love using old children’s board books for projects…they’re easily available, usually cheap (if you pick them up at garage sales, thrift stores, or used book stores), and so many of them are great sizes for making into little stand-alone art journals or projects.

One of my faves in the past is My Manifesto board book (check that out here).  If you haven’t looked at it before, take a peek, it makes a great comparison with the one I’m playing with now…and I want to share with you what’s working so much better for me with this current little board book.

On my little book of manifestos, I prepped the board book by carefully peeling off the actual story part of the pages.  The book itself was pretty banged up before I got a hold of it.  So the slick, printed part of the pages was already peeling up a bit on most pages, and it didn’t seem to be that much of a chore to peel it all off.  Wrong.  It was quite the chore, I griped and fought with it and even had some pages that it didn’t all come off the pages.

I didn’t let any of that sweat me at the time, I just chalked it all up to adding lovely texture 🙂 With a bunch of gesso, the pages did come out to be a mostly even canvas to use for the book.  Some of the pages did keep the look of the fuzzies from where the paper had been peeled off, and some of the pages had some smooth parts and some fuzzy parts, lol.

This time around, I’ve gone a different route.

I didn’t try to peel anything up.  This time I used some very rough sand paper to sand all of the pages.


This works way better.  I thought before that sanding was going to be way more work, and I was so incredibly wrong!  The sanding is less troublesome.  Sanding the pages gave a smoother and more pleasing canvas to work with.

You do not have to over-sand.  While much of the artwork will sand off from the printing, what you’re really going for is getting the plastic coating and the shine off of the pages.  Just about everything else can be covered up with gesso and paint (or whatever medium you’re using).

I do use a lot of NeoColors in my pages, so I did work at getting a lot of the printing off…so that I don’t have to worry so much about coverage.  And, I do like the texture and depth that a bit of the printing shows through the backgrounds.

Here’s what a page from my prepped book looks like:

The pages are a dream to work on, the smooth is so pleasing, I actually sat and ran my hands over the pages for a while before I ever got to working in it!  This little book is the perfect shape, very square.  And it has the perfect number of pages (one page at a time, not two-page spreads) for this project.

My hubby and I are taking a discipleship class together at our church, called Experiencing God (put out by LifeWay).  One of our weekly activities is to memorize that week’s Bible verse.  The class has 13 weeks and 13 memorization verses.  This little book has 13 pages.  Serendipity.  And making a page in the little book for each verse each week gives me a lovely art project to do along with my class and actually helps me memorize the verses, cuz I’m thinking about how the look to me visually.

Here’s the first two pages:



“I am the vine, you are the branches; if you stay in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.”  ~ John 15:5








“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  ~ Psalm 20:7




Prompt:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse?  Use it in your art journal, build the page around how the page looks to you in your mind’s eye.  It’s incredibly satisfying.

Prompt 2:  Find a board book and re-purpose it.  They make for great gifts and great inspirational books to carry with you!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s