I've always been fascinated when I have seen books folded into beautiful images and words. I looked around to see how to do this as I fancied trying this myself.
There are many articles on the web about using Excel or Photoshop to create patterns. I consider myself to be fairly "PC savvy", but these were very confusing, and software has changed and the instructions become out of date.
There are then books of patterns you can buy, which include all the measurements you need for where to make the folds (mark and measure method). I hate long lists of numbers and found it boring going through the whole book marking where to make each fold before I could even get started on the fun part of folding.
After talking through this with my husband (who is more PC savvy than me!), he disappeared off to the PC and over a weekend wrote a program which allows me to take an image and convert it into a template pattern for folding. No long lists of numbers, just a simple template which I slide under each page and it shows me exactly where to fold.
This instructable is not about the program, but shows you how quick and easy it is to use the template. I have now built up an ever expanding collection of patterns and also make custom words and designs for people. If you want to try this yourself you can see the patterns in my Etsy shop www.looksinviting.etsy.com
Step 1: Things You Need
The simplicity of book folding art means there are very few things you need. In fact, all you need is:
· A hardback book
· Your folding pattern
· A ruler (to line up your folds)
· A bone folder (or strong finger nails)
· An optional large elastic band or peg to hold folded pages out of the way
Top Tip! – A child’s elasticated fabric hairband is great for holding pages
Step 2: How to Choose Your Book
You need to choose a hardback book withenough pages for your chosen design. Make sure that the book has a strong spine so that it will stand firm when finished.
Each pattern has a number of columns and this is the number of sheets in the book which will be folded. Since each sheet of paper is 2 pages (there is a page on each side), the number of pages required is twice the number of sheets. This is the minimum number of pages you need.
Top Tip! - Remember that you can include any un-numbered pages at the beginning or end of the book in this number.
You also need to make sure that the book is tall enough for your pattern. The distance between the upper and lower lines on your pattern is the maximum height of the design, so you need a book at least a couple of centimetres taller than this.
Top Tip! – When measuring your book, measure the height of the pages, not the height of the hardback cover, as the covers are larger than the pages.
Top Tip! – Look out for books which have coloured page edges, these can be especially effective.
Top Tip! – Have fun matching the title of your book with your design. For example, “Moby Dick” for a whale design or a bird watching book for an owl design, a road map book for a car design etc.
Step 3: Calculate Where to Start Folding
To calculate how many sheets are in your book, find the last numbered page. Now add in the number of sheets which are not included in the numbering (there may be some at the beginning and the end of the book and photograph pages are often un-numbered). This gives the total number of pages in the book. Divide this by 2 to get the total number of sheets or folds.
Now subtract the number of sheets required in the pattern from the total number of sheets in the book. This gives you the number of spare sheets which will be left at the beginning and end of the book.
Let’s use the following as an example.
The pattern requires 255 sheets.
There are 507 pages in the book
There are 8 un-numbered sheets at the beginning of the book, 7 un-numbered at the back of the book and 6 un-numbered photo pages inside the book.
Total pages = 507 + 8 + 7 + 6 = 528
Total sheets = 528 / 2 = 264
Spare sheets = 264 – 255 = 9
We can leave 4 spare sheets at the start of the book and 5 sheets at the end. This means that the first sheet to be folded is the 5th sheet in the book.
Step 4: Lining Up the Pattern
Your pattern is printed over several pages and you need to use these in ascending order.
Have the book in front of you and lay the first page of your pattern on the first sheet of the book and position the pattern vertically where you want your design to be. There is a centre line printed on the pattern to help you.
Now carefully fold over the excess at the top of your pattern sheet. This crease will be used to “hook” over the top of the pages to position your pattern for every fold. Measure the amount that you folded over and make the same fold on the top of every pattern page.
If you are using a large book and the pattern does not extend over the top or bottom of your book, then use sticky tape to attach another sheet of paper to the top of your pattern to extend it.
Open the book and count the sheets until you reach your starting sheet (sheet 5 in our example).
Place your pattern under this sheet and use your top crease to align the pattern with the top of the page. Make sure that the pattern is straight by checking that the first column is parallel to the edge of the book.
You now ready to start folding!
Step 5: Folding Your Pattern
Line up your ruler underneath the top mark in column 1 of your pattern as shown in the photo. Now fold over the top corner of the page up to the ruler and firm the crease using your finger or a bone folder.
Top Tip! – You can use the line of text on the page to help line up your ruler
Now line up your ruler above the bottom mark in column 1 of your pattern and fold over the bottom corner of the page up to the ruler.
You have now folded your first sheet.
Tick column 1 as completed on your pattern to keep track of where you are in the pattern.
If the position of the fold does not allow you to line up your fold with the ruler, then fold over as far as your can and turn up any excess which goes past the spine of the book.
Turn over the page and repeat the process, positioning the pattern as before except this time ensuring that the second column of the pattern is parallel to the edge of the book. Make the folds, mark column 2 as complete on the pattern and continue to the next sheet. As you finish a section of pattern move on to the next section. Continue to the end of the book.
Top Tip! – When you can no longer slide your pattern underneath your next page either fold over some of the columns you have completed or cut these off with scissors.
Step 6: Making Use of Spacers
To help make your design “float” out of the book, spacers can be added at the beginning and end of the design. This is a good way of hiding the spare pages at each end of the book. Fold over the top corner of your sheet and line up with the middle of the sheet. Do the same with the bottom corner. Now fold the page over towards the centre spine of the book.
Spacers are also very useful between letters in word designs. We suggest that a maximum of four spacers are used otherwise the design can become too “loose”.