Art Boards for Free!!

I was reminded recently by Arizona Artist, Cory Celaya, of the use of recycled hard book covers as art supports.  I’ve been doing this for a long time.  I use them for small works and have worked on them in a variety of media: graphite pencil, acrylic paint, collage, and even encaustic!

For collage, the covers can be resurfaced by collaging on pages from the book itself.  Pick covers that are in decent condition.  You don’t want “dog-eared” corners on your finished work.  Remove the text block and cut away the spine.  You’ll have two boards to finish. Use white glue (Tacky is my favorite) watered down to the consistency of cream.  Cover the front being sure to wrap around the sides.  While still wet, wrap the cover in waxed paper and place under a weight.  A brick wrapped in contact paper or felt will work well.  When dry, add a coat of gesso to provide a nice surface to receive your next layer.

If I want a “fine art” surface to work on for drawing,watercolor or encaustic then I usually will cover the board with Velin Arches or 90# watercolor paper.  I place the cover on the paper and draw a light line around the cover.  Next I add 3/4” margin all around.  Using a 45 degree angle I cut off the corners leaving about two cover thickness to cover the corner.  I paint the paper with a thin coat of the diluted glue and lay the cover on the page.  Then I glue the two long sides, tucking in the corners.  To finish I glue the short sides, cover with waxed paper and weight down.  It’s important to have a bone folder to make sure that you get all the air bubbles out before you turn the corners , and again before you wrap the board in waxed paper.