Introduction: Make a Miniature Book (for Charms, Ornaments, Keychains, Etc.)

My family draws names for Christmas gifts, with the rule being that each gift is to be handmade, and can be made for less than $10. This year I drew my youngest daughter, who (like my other two daughters) is a fervent Harry Potter fan -- and I made her a miniature set of Harry Potter books.

This Instructable shows an easy way to make tiny books, for charms, tree ornaments, key chains, necklaces, or just for display. The realistic-looking miniatures make great personalized gifts for the book-lovers in your life.

Step 1: Create a Basic Book-shape Out of Wood

Start with a thin piece of wood. I used 1/4" craft basswood, but you could use any 1/4" scrap wood for this. Rip the wood (on a tablesaw or with a handsaw) to about 1-3/8 inches width. Then cross cut (using a fine-tooth saw, like a Japanese pull-saw) to a length of about 2-1/8 inches.

Step 2: Add Slight Grooves to the Edges

Use a small round file to slightly burrow out a well on the top, bottom, and one side. A non-tapered round file works best.

Step 3: Scratch in a Crease Near the Spine

Scribe a line along the edge of the front, near the "spine," to simulate the hinging of the cover. Repeat on the back side.

Step 4: Simulate Pages

Create the appearance of pages by scraping lines into the top, bottom, and right side of book. A clean wire bush works well for this, or a dremel with a circular wire brush bit.

Step 5: Clean It Up

Smooth all surfaces and edges using fine sandpaper (e.g. 220-grit).

Step 6: (Optional) Make Thicker Books

Variation: if desired, make thicker books.

For the Harry Potter book set, I wanted to have each miniature book vary in thickness, just like the real books. I estimated the relative widths of the books based on the number of pages for each.

Laminate 1/4" and 1/8" basswood together to make the various thicknesses. Glue up the laminations with carpenter's glue and clamp overnight.

Then, file the groove on the edges, and scrape in the hinge creases as described before.

Step 7: Make a Graphic Image of the Cover

Now you need an image of the front, spine, and back of the book. You have a couple of options here:

A. You can assemble the cover digitally. Find and download images of the front and back covers, and the spine, and copy/paste them into a single image with your favorite graphics software (e.g. PAINT, GIMP, PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro).

...or...

B. Go old-school and just photograph the physical dustjacket, as shown in the first picture above. That's what I did -- because I had the books on hand, and I found it difficult to find good online images of the book spines.

Then, using graphics software, crop the image and size it to the desired dimensions. (Hint: I set the measurement units to "inches" in my graphics software, and scaled the back, front, and spine to fit the actual dimensions of the wooden book.)

Tip: Make the spine slightly over-size in width. That way it will spring out a bit and look more realistic.

Print the image on an inkjet printer, using regular paper.

Step 8: Attach the Book Cover

Brush a light layer of Mod Podge on the front and back of the wooden piece, then position the cover on it. Using your fingernail or a straight-edge, gently tuck the cover into the front and back creases near the spines, taking care not to tear the paper.

No need to glue the spine down, as you want it to spring out naturally from the book.

Brush a light layer of Mod Podge on the exterior of the cover (back, spine, and front). Let dry.

Step 9: Optional Accessories

At this point, you're done.

If you want to use this as charm or a tree ornament, drill a 1/8" hole near the corner.

For the Harry Potter book set pictured, I made a simple bookshelf to hold the books, and accessorized it with a little wand that sits in a holder on the top of the bookcase.

You could also make a small bookstand by bending a paper clip into an easel or other suitable shape.

Wrap it up and put a smile on some book-lover's face!

Comments

author
mommywoman (author)2015-01-13

This is absolutely magical! Great job on the details. I just may try this!

author
hchute (author)mommywoman2015-01-14

Thank you very much! If you do, please post pix! :)

author
Juanamac (author)2015-01-12

Totally awesome. This I need to try.... even with my severely lacking woodworking skills.

author
hchute (author)Juanamac2015-01-12

Thank you! It's easier than it might look. :)

author
featherwurm (author)2014-12-26

Delightfully adorable with lovely attention to detail. I may give it a go with a miniature LotR set for a friend who I know would enjoy it!

author
hchute (author)featherwurm2014-12-26

Thanks so much. LotR would be perfect for this... and the three books are of similar size, so that's convenient! Good luck -- and post a pic if you do make it!

author
AmandaB14 (author)2015-12-17

So very awesome! Now I want to make my own miniature library!

author
idiot is my name (author)2015-12-10

so cool thanks for sharing

author
TripleX13 (author)2015-12-05

that is very creative. I'm going to give it a try myself. It looks so..., amazing,I can't describe.

author
TiaRiaa (author)2015-11-03

Did you ever read every Harry Potter book?

author
geoboyds00 (author)2015-03-14

Are there any set dimensions for the bookcase?

author
hchute (author)geoboyds002015-03-14

Ah -- no, sorry. I kind of eye-balled it once I had the book set made, and cut the pieces measure-to-fit for the way the books ended up. I left a little room height-wise, and width-wise, so the books could lean a little bit and be easier to pull out one-by-one.

author
CementTruck (author)2014-12-31

I've always enjoyed looking hand crafted miniatures. Great job.

author
hchute (author)CementTruck2014-12-31

Thanks!

author
CementTruck (author)2014-12-31

Hardy boys/Nancy Drew next? ;)

author
hchute (author)CementTruck2014-12-31

Haha! Now that would be ambitious! But also look so cool. Hmm...

author
chiragvarma1 (author)2014-12-30

Very beautiful.

author
hchute (author)chiragvarma12014-12-30

Thank you very much!

author
gwalker107 (author)2014-12-27

Wow! Awesome!

author
hchute (author)gwalker1072014-12-27

Thanks, gwalker!

author
Mysterious_Gal (author)2014-12-26

Love this.

author
hchute (author)Mysterious_Gal2014-12-26

Thanks!

author
Wolf321 (author)2014-12-26

So cool!

author
hchute (author)Wolf3212014-12-26

Thanks! :)

author
NathanSellers (author)2014-12-25

This is really cool! well done. what a gray idea.

author
hchute (author)NathanSellers2014-12-26

Thank you!

author
loompiggytutorials (author)2014-12-25

These are so small and cute!

author

Thank you! Daughter seems pleased. :)

author
JavaProgrammer (author)2014-12-25

that's so cool! and depending on what book your miniaturizing you could paint the paper sides white.

author
hchute (author)JavaProgrammer2014-12-25

I think that's a very good suggestion -- and I may do that when I make my next miniature book. Thanks!

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