Do you have to strip a board book before coating it with gesso?

(Alberta, Canada)

When altering a board book, is it necessary to strip off the shiny paper if you coat it with gesso?

In our article about how to make an altered board book we do suggest that you start by stripping away the shiny paper surface of the book. The surface of the particular book that we were using came away quite easily, but if the surface of your board book doesn't strip easily as ours you could try sanding it with a crafter's sanding block.

We wondered whether the gesso might be inclined to flake off if the surface were too shiny, but we don't believe that it's absolutely necessary to strip it completely. We think that you could probably just roughen it a little with your sanding block, if you preferred.

You may also be able to obtain undecorated board books at shops which stock altered art and scrapbooking supplies, and of course you can use these for your altered art projects without having to strip away the shiny outer surface before you start to apply the gesso.

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