Book Folding

Hello dino peeps!  It is I, Bronto Incognito, here with another nerdy book craft to share with you!

This time: Book Folding.

So, if you’re like me, you’ve seen pics like this all over Pinterest:








Beautiful, right?  And, if you’re like me, something you would never think in a million years that you could pull off.

But guess what!  You totally can!

There are TONS of patterns available on Etsy (where I bought my pattern from and where these all came from as well).  The only other thing you need is an old book that you’re willing to part with.

Heck, if you’re not comfortable with that, do like I did and hit Half Price and pick up a clearance copy of Eldest for $2 and use that!

Now for some dumb reason I didn’t remember to take my own pick of the book, but it looks basically like this:

Eldest_book_cover.pngBut with much more wear and tear through it.


So first, let me back up.  I was needing to figure out somethign to do for my amazingly wonderful mother for Mother’s Day, and if you know me I like to craft.  It feels like it means more than just picking her up another book I’m not sure she wants to read just so she has SOMETHING to read for the summer.

Well I came across these patterns when I was looking for a different book craft to do for a different project and suddenly Pinterest popped into mind and I went to follow some links around until I came upon this beauty at BookFoldingForever (which is where I bought my patter, by the way.  Most of the patterns there are under $6 so it’s totally affordable.)

readThe shop has almost 400 designs, so it took some time to pick this one, but the hubby helped me decide.  I thought it was the perfect decoration to add to her 5th grade classroom, so then it was off to hike to the bookstore and back!  (Car’s in the shop and luckily Half Price is not too far from the house!)

After I downloaded the pattern I realized something: the books I’d been planning on using weren’t going to cut it.  Apparently there are 2 types of patterns.  1 tells you what page number to start and end on.  The other (like the one I used) tells you how many folds there are.  Luckily the pattern came with a handy How To PDF, and it reminded me that while 1 page = 1 fold, that = 2 numbered pages in a book.  Page 1 and page 2 are on one sheet of paper and that sheet of paper counts as 1 fold.  So since my pattern had 273 folds, I was going to need a book with at least 546 pages to it.  The ones I had planned on using were like 300 pages.  So off to the store!

Obviously the Eragon books had PLENTY of pages for folding, and even though no one would ever see them, they had these really pretty maps as well:


Now before you start it’s a good idea to do a bit of math.  I know, I know, but hear me out.  Eldest has 661 NUMBERED pages, which is way more than I would need for my folding, PLUS there are other pages in there that aren’t numbered.  So add those in, subtract the number of pages you’ll be folding, and divide by two.  That’s how many individual sheets you’ll need to count in from the beginning so that the leftover pages at the front and the back will be at least ABOUT equal.

So the way that the pattern worked is like this: each fold has two measurements in cm (that’s how precise this thing is).  You line up your ruler to the top of the page and make a small mark where the first measurement is and one for the second.  It should look like this:


The first mark is where the top fold will go and the second is where the bottom fold will be.  You should have two folds for every page you do.

*Also, a really good tip is to print out the instructions and cross off each line as you do it.  It’s WAY too much work to get lost and half to go back and measure pages again to see where your last 5 marks were.

Sometimes the marks would be far apart on the page, and sometimes the difference in the fold was only a milometer.


Another tip? Find a comfortable place to sit and do your marking.  And if your muscles start to get stiff about halfway through, get up, walk around a bit, and when you come back try changing the set up a bit so that you’re not sitting in the same position forever.  Because 276 folds mean 543 marks you’ll be measuring and making.  Binging something on Netflix is a good idea right about now.

So! After 3 full episodes of the 60s documentary series on Netflix, I’d gotten all my pages done.  Now it was onto the folding!


Now you get to go page by page and make your folds.  One that lines up with each pencil marking.  At first I kept trying to follow the pattern along in my mind, imagining where each fold would go in each letter, but I gave that up really quickly. Finally after a while something started to emerge….


Look how awesome that looks!  Though you can see in that picture a little of how damaged the cover looked, though I wasn’t too worried since I wasn’t going to keep it on there for display.

*If you’re planning on removing a dust jacket when you’re done, it’s a good idea to slip it off at the store to check for damage to the book itself.  I didn’t do that, though luckily the dents, scratches, etc. to the book itself were minimal.

Now, I don’t know if other people that do book folding have this problem, or what they do about it, but sometimes my folds needed to fold further in that the page would allow.  Basically they were at more than a 90 degree angle and if you folded it down, the excess would push outward towards the edge of the page and change where your edge is.  The first few times I ran into this I just folded over the extra, but I started to worry that doing that too many times would add too much width and throw off the design. So in the end I did this:


That’s right!  I did it!  I cut the book!  And I ain’t even bovvered about it!!!

Seriously, though, no one’s going to see if you trim a little off the bottom of the pages when needed, and you’re already folding the book up so it’s not like anyone’s going to be reading it either…


Every time a new letter took shape I got excited.  Now occasionally the folds wouldn’t line up where I wanted them to, but I made myself wait until the end to see which ones really stood out and were still bugging me before I went to fix them.

*You don’t want to fold and refold a page too many times.  An art professor of mine always reminded us that “paper has a memory” and if there are too many creases the paper becomes soft and ends up doing whatever it wants to in the end.

Unless you tape it.

Not that I did that or anything…..

Anyway…after lots of measuring and folding and 3 days of work…this is what I finally got!!!




I love it.  It’s not PERFECT, but it looks so cool that people won’t really notice.  Plus I plan on doing more of these sometime and I’m pretty sure this is the kind of thing you can only get better at.

Now if this project seems too hard, or you don’t want to fork over the cash for your first book folding project, here’s a YouTube video on how to make a birdcage out of a book.  NO MEASURING REQUIRED!!!!

Have you tried any book folding projects?  What did you do?  I’d love to see your pictures!!!!


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