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Picture of Book Art- How to Fold a Book into a Word.
I recently saw the following instructable on how to fold book pages into a number and it caught my attention.  Instead of just a number I wanted to do a word or image.  I love reading and thought this would make good gifts for friends.  In particular is a couple with a huge collection of books that hosts monthly game nights.  They make everyone feel welcome and I thought this would be a great gift for them.

The instructable said to draw the image on the book; my problem is a word or image might get complicated and I am horrible at drawing.  Searching the internet  led to several images but no English instructions.  I did find this page in French and used the screenshots to recreate instructions for folding using a graphics program I had available.  It has also been posted as an instructable.

The beauty of this project is its simplicity.  The image is made by simply folding the two corners of each page.  No cutting, gluing, or special equipment needed.

**NOTE**  When trying to find instructions for book folding I found the above referenced page in French, did not see the translation.  I used the screenshots to infer the method but did not originally reference that page.  That was wrong of me and the author has my apologies.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Book
Ruler- I used an engineering scale with 1/10th inch markings for ease of measuring
Pencil or pen
Plastic or stiff paper for folding template
Computer with basic graphics program

Step 2: Select Book

Picture of Select Book
This is an opportunity to recycle a book that may be discarded into a piece of art.  Yellowed pages, gilded or colored edges, and illustrations can all add to the appearance of the final piece.  Just remember that although the book is still intact you do not want to use valuable book.  Garage sales, libraries, or charity stores like Goodwill are good sources for cheap books.

This was a trial run at book folding so I chose an outdated paperback reference book .  For future projects I will use hardback books for added support.

Step 3: Design Basic Image

Picture of Design Basic Image
Decide on the word or image you would like to fold.  Open your graphics program.  I used Paint.net which is a free graphics program.  Most photo editing software should work, but the specific instructions for scaling the image may be different.

Set canvas height to the height of the book and set the width wide enough to fit the word or image.  Insert the image or select the font you would like.  For this project I used the word Love in Coopers Black font.  This font has thick letters that will show up well.  Type word in a size appropriate to the height and center word or image.  Set the contrast to 100 (under Adjustments tab) to ensure solid color with no gray edges.

Step 4: Prepare the Image

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The image will be made by folding individual sheets of paper.  Each sheet is two pages so divide the number of pages by 2 and add any unnumbered sheets to the total.

Select Resize in Image tab.  Do not select Canvas Size, this will cut off the image.  Make sure "Maintain aspect ratio" is NOT checked.  This will allow the width to change without effecting the height.  Set width to the number of sheets (one pixel per sheet), keep height the same, and set resolution to your ruler scale (10 pixels per inch in this case).  The word or image should distort to wider than the original.  Once folded the final image scale can be adjusted based on how compressed the book is.

Select show grid when zoomed and zoom in until grid is visible, only a portion of the image may be visible.  You will see empty (white) squares and filled (black) squares.  Some columns will have one solid line of filled squares, others will have two or more lines.  In columns with multiple sections filled, you will delete sections so that only one remains.  Alternate the deleted sections top, middle, bottom, top, etc.  When complete this will cause each section to be filled in without having to cut the pages.

Step 5: Make Excel File

Create an excel file with columns labeled PAGE NUMBER, START, and LENGTH.  Starting with the first filled column of the image, count spaces down  to first filled (black) space, multiply by pixel size you chose (0.1" for me), and enter result in first START row of the excel table.  Count number of filled spaces, multiply by pixel size you chose, and enter result into first LENGTH row.  Continue column by column across the image grid, skipping empty columns.  This will tell you how far down to make the folds.

When finished the number of filled row should be less than the number of sheets.  Divide the number of extra sheets by two, this will tell you how many pages before and after the image will be left.  These can be folded or not folded depending on what looks best when finished.  Count down the number of blank sheets indicated before the image.  Enter the page number in the first PAGE row.  Add two to the page number in the next row and then fill down the remaining rows.  This will give you a reference so you do not lose your place.

Attached is a file used to make the image I made.  Book must have at least 307 sheets and be 4.5" in height.  Fill in sheets, first folded page and height and it will do the rest.

Step 6: Template

Picture of Template
In order to keep the image consistent you will need to fold each page at the same angle using a folding guide or template.  Find the angle made by folding from one outside corner to the opposite corner.  This is the longest fold you could possible have.  I cut an index card to this angle but switched to a stiff piece of thin plastic (expired mirror hanger) because the paper did not keep an edge.

Step 7: Folding

Picture of Folding
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Open the book to the first page to be folded.  Line your ruler up on the edge of the page opposite the spine and make a mark at the START and END points for that page.  Line your template up at the top mark and the edge of the page with the slant going towards the top corner at the spine.  Mark a line along the template.  Flip the template over and repeat for bottom mark.

Fold the corners of the page in along the marks.  First sheet done, only a few hundred more to go.  Repeat for each sheet, if you lose your place simple look at the page number you are on and find it in the excel table.  Continue until all pages are finished.  Adjust looseness of the book until the image looks right.

Step 8: Finished- Enjoy

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Once you reach the last page tweak the book any way you want.  My wife suggested adding color to the edge for contrast (I used red chalk), but afterwards liked it better without the color.

Display and enjoy.
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KathyE122 days ago

my pattern is going up in twos I.e 9,11,13 do I miss those pages and not fold

Averydon3 months ago
I made this but I am having trouble making a hole in letters like O and A
I am having trouble with this project. Anyone care to help me via email or facebook? Thanks!

FOLLOWING

rachaellouise6 months ago

Ive never used paint.net - would anyone be able to help with the steps regarding the graphical design programme used on here? I have no idea how to use this software so I don't know how to even create the word in there in the first place.......help anyone?

Olek41010 months ago

How did you do the O like the hollow part in the middle did you cut it then fold the inside or what please respond.

sinubuj11 months ago

Here you can create your own graphical pattern for free, to fold your own name.

http://www.orime.de/vorlagenprogramm/registrierung.php

imunique1 year ago

i did a heart, very simple, and used a red crayon to color the space left in between the folds, if the book is placed at an angle you see a solid red heart.

I love people who are passionate about eco friendly paper saving!!!they're great talking points.

After much trial and error I finally made my own pattern!! Thank you for getting me started doing this awesome craft :)
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Is there any chance you could create an Instructable written by a native English speaker? It shouldn't be that difficult, but this one has so many omissions and assumptions that my laptop is about to fly through the wall.

Is there a difference between the positive numbers and the negative numbers?

Sorry... Can't help with that since I don't use excel :(
DTwemlow911 year ago

Hi.

What does the Excel spread mean by "sheets at beginning"?

Magistro1 year ago

Wow very cool! Thanks for sharing!

After doing a little more research for this, as i wanted a cool gift for Valentine's Day, I discovered a website (www.foldedbookart.com) that has already made patterns to fold and also makes custom ones. I tried the one with two hearts and it looks really amazing.

Thought i'd share this with you :)

Anyone have problems with the pixel count plugin for paint.net? Every time I use it, whether an image or text, about 1/4 way into the pattern it extends my measurements so I manually have to correct the two or three columns.
  You can't copy MY TUTO and say it's yours !!

"Searching the internet  led to several images but no instructions"  FALSE ! My tuto has been posted since February 2012...

READERS : My tuto (the original one) http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Fold-a-Book-into-a-Word-The-original-tuto/
On my website http://www.faitmain-faitcoeur.fr/en/ you can find 2 other patterns for free !

Enjoy create !
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Do you know what the negative numbers are for? is that from the bottom of the page or the top and is this in cm or inches?

Where do you find "negative numbers" ?
Sorry, but I don't know what your are talking about....

On the excel spread sheet it says -1.95 to -1.75 and I didn't know what the negative numbers meant if it was maybe from the bottom up.

Oups, I reply to fast, you're talking about Teferrell's tuto ! I let him answer to you...

(on my tuto - the originial - there is no negative number, so I don't know what they are for).

Where can I find your tuto?

Click on my name ! ;-)

(or http://www.faitmain-faitcoeur.fr/en/ )

Teferrell (author) 1 year ago

Several people have asked about negative values in the attached spreadsheet. The spreadsheet generated the instructions for folding a book when you supply the dimensions. Enter the information about the book in columnn B and it will complete the rest. Without these values the formula assumes it to be 0 and the result is negative. Book must be at least 4.5" for the pattern to work; anything less will yield negative numbers because the folds will be off the page.

OK thanks, are the measurements in cm or inches?

Sandy...following the pattern your inside parts will form. To create the spaces of the letters you are actually alternating fold lines in order to create the spaces. Hope that helps :)

What are the negative numbers and are the numbers in cm or inches?

necktoback1 year ago

Can you tell me what the negative numbers are?

sandyme481 year ago

I don't understand how you fold the inside parts of the letters, like the O, part of the V, and the E. Can someone explain that to me?

I too have had trouble in understanding the creation of patterns. A YouTube video of the whole process would really be helpful. :)
necktoback1 year ago
I see the numbers on the excel sheet. I don't understand what -1.95 is. Is that the bottom of the page? Is that inches or cm? How do I measure it. I really want to do this as Christmas presents but I'm having such a hard time figuring out what the numbers are.
A lovely project and a nice, easy to understand 'ible, thanks!
Thanks for having modified your intro instructable and for your private message.

Enjoy create !
foobear1 year ago
fantastico!
Justin Mai2 years ago
I found that when I used a 720pt, Arial Black font ♥, cropping the canvas size to the image, then re-sizing to 600px (page) width and a 7inch height gave me an image that had black, grey, and off-white pixels. It made it hard to tell where the edge of the image was in order to translate it into a grid in Excel. What helped me was selecting "Resampling" -> "Nearest Neighbor" under the "Resize" tab. It made every pixel black and every non-pixel white :D That might help people with more complex images.
Teferrell (author)  Justin Mai2 years ago
Thank you for the comment, the same thing happened to me. When creating the image I set contrast to 100. I forgot to mention that in the instructions. Correcting now.
Teferrell (author) 2 years ago
Beachglassblazer: For similar programs for macs check here.  You may be able to check the forum at the link if you need help on converting file type.  

Glad you like it.
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Now I'm ready to go fold some books! Well except, I have a mac and no fancy photoshop... any ideas on paint.net equivalents?
jamie99482 years ago
Wow... That is one of the coolest things I've seen on this guide. It looks really nice!
PaulCat972 years ago
Cool!
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