About: When I was a kid I had the good fortune to have parents that let me build a fort under the stairs & paint murals on my bedroom walls. I get a kick out of making stuff with other stuff. And it usually ends…

If you are new to Book Folding, I highly recommend image-searching "book folding" because you will be amazed and inspired by what people are doing with book folding.

I wanted to try something different from what I've seen online, so I came up with a repeating pattern of Peaks and Valleys. What's really cool about this pattern is that you can adjust for the number of pages in any book and you can decide how many peaks and valleys you want.

At the end of the tutorial, I will show you a few photos of my other variations of this pattern.

So let's jump in and get folding...


You only need a few tools and materials...


  • Bone folder or Teflon folder or fingernail or handle of a butter knife
  • Eraser
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Template Pattern.
    • You can use Grid Paper to create a template


  • Hardbound book in good condition
  • Page holder:
    • Options include a Coat Hanger or a large elastic of some kind
  • Grid paper


  • Audio entertainment
  • Flat Surface
  • Good Lighting
  • A Refreshing Beverage of your choosing. Stay hydrated.
  • Patience
  • Time

Step 1: Selecting a Book to Fold

Think of selecting the right book the way a sculptor might select the right marble. You are turning this raw material into a work of art, so you want to select a hardcover book with clean pages and a spine that looks in good condition.

Step 2: Count Foldable Pages/Leaves

Before we get to countin', I just want to differentiate the difference between pages and leaves. I think everyone knows what a page is, it's what you see in a book as a number. A leaf is 2 pages. It is the piece of paper that has a page number on the front and a page number on the back.

And the reason this is important is because when you are measuring where to make your folds throughout your book, you are only making marks on one side of the leaf. Explaining it in words is more difficult for me than showing you with photos. So I hope my photos tell a clear story.

  1. The page width of this book is 5 3/4" I like to start the pattern about 1/2" to 1" out from the spine.
  2. I thought 5" would be a nice even number to work with.
  3. I made a pattern where each fold is 1/4" apart. So I ended up with 20 marks. So there are 20 folds in the template separated by 1/4"
  4. 1 section is folding from 1 through 20 and then 19 back to 1 (you don't fold the 20th mark twice on the turn around), which creates a lovely symmetry.
  5. So we have 39 folds in the section I folded 3 sections:
  6. Section 1: 1 through 20 and then 19 back to 1 = 39 folds
  7. Section 2: 2 through 20 and then 19 back to 1 = 38 folds
  8. Section 3: 2 through 20 and then 19 back to 1 = 38 folds
  9. For a grand total of 135 folds.
  10. 135 folds = 135 leaves
  11. 135 leaves = 270 pages.
  12. To do this exact pattern, you'll need a book that has at least 270 pages.

Step 3: Mark the Leaves

We are going to mark the entire book before we fold, so it is crucial to find a way that works for you to not double up numbers or skip numbers. Here is what works for me:

  1. Place the book in front of you as you would to read it.
  2. On the 1st leaf, begin marking the numbers starting with number 1 at the top left.
  3. Turn to the next leaf and mark number 2 and so on until you get to the 20th mark.
  4. I write the number below every 5th or 10th mark.
  5. Then I return to the beginning and mark from 1 to 20 on the bottom of the book from right to left.
  6. I write the number above every 5th or 10th mark.
  7. As I'm writing the number, I can check if it matches the one I wrote above. This way I have checks and balances to make sure I don't make any mistakes all through the marking process

Step 4: Make a Template

  1. I used a 1/4" grid paper, so each mark was on the grid line.
  2. Cut grid paper with a 1/4" extra on the left hand side and about 1 1/2" extra for the right:
  3. 1/4" + 5" + 1 1/2" = 6 3/4"
  4. On the top of the of the grid paper, number from left to right 1 through 20 on each vertical line.
  5. At the 20 mark, you will fold this line under itself.
  6. On the bottom of the grid template, mark every vertical line from right to left 1 through 20, with the 1 being on the same vertical line as the 20 above and the number 20 on the same vertical line as the 1 above.

The photo tells the story much better.

Step 5: Fold and Unfold Leaves

  1. Line up your ruler to the marks on the top and bottom of the page.
  2. Fold the leaf up 90 degrees to the edge of the ruler and run your fingernail along that line to crease a crease
  3. Remove the ruler and continue folding the leaf over flat, running your fingers or bone folder along the edge of the fold to smooth it down.
  4. Take the folded tip of the page - the part that is overlapping the gully - and fold it back on itself, so the new fold is away from the spine as far as possible without crossing the first diagonal fold.
    1. The idea is to avoid having excess paper at the gully of the pages, but not cross over the original fold as it will interfere with the design.
  5. Repeat the folding technique you did on the first leaf on the second leaf
    1. You should notice that there is a tiny little overlap of the leaf on the bottom edge. The size of this overlap will increase until you get to the mid mark of the 20 marks. At that point, the excess paper will be on the top of the book.
    2. Push the overlapping piece of the leaf over the edge of the book, creating a crease.
    3. Lift the leaf up and fold the piece under itself.
  6. So once you get to the 20th mark on the top, you will then reverse the order and count down. So you folded 1 to 20. Now you will fold from 19 back to 1.
  7. Repeat this step for each pair of marks on the remaining pages.

Step 6: Erase Pencil Marks and Refold the Leaves

Why erase the pencil marks? The marks create a dark smudge right at the point of the fold and can be seen and look dirty.

  1. Turn the book a quarter turn to the right, so the front cover is across from you and the page is sideways.
  2. Put an elastic around the front cover.
  3. Erase the marking.
  4. Fold the pre-folded page
  5. Slip the folded page under the elastic.
  6. Repeat until all the leaves are folded
  7. Remove elastic

Step 7: Add an Endpaper (optional)

I find that adding a darker end page, helps the white or cream colored pages stand out.

  1. Measure the height and width of the endpaper that is on the back and front of the book.
  2. Cut a piece of cardstock slightly bigger than the endpaper that is on the book.
  3. I would add 1/8" total to the height and 1/16" to the width
  4. Put an elastic around the folded pages, including the back cover to hold it out of the way.
  5. Apply glue to the back of the new endpaper. I prefer using a glue stick to white (pva) glue as it's less messy.
  6. On the front cover place the new endpaper over the original endpaper, making sure to cover it entirely
  7. Smooth down endpaper to get out any air bubbles
  8. Place a few books or something heavy on the endpaper, being careful not to damage the folded pages.
  9. Let dry for a few hours
  10. Repeat with the back cover.

Step 8: A Few More Experiments With Peaks & Valleys

It's always nice to finish a project. Maybe take some photos and share with your friends.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to make this book folding pattern of peaks and valleys or try something of your own design.

These photos are some variations on the pattern. I tried more sections with about the same amount of folds per section. And then I tried making one symmetrical section with a lot more folds.

And I left the paper sticking up on the top side, which I love the look of.

And that's the joy of exploring and experimenting. I don't always go into a project knowing exactly how it's going to look or if I might alter something along the way.

Oh, one last thing. I was curious to see if a folded book could be returned to a readable state and from the experiments I have done, I can say that it is possible. In fact, I have folded a book with one pattern and the unfolded it and tried a new one. I would recommend pressing the unfolded book with something super heavy.

Okay, I guess that's about it. Oh, and please let me know if you try this design or if you are already doing some cool book folding projects.


Wade (Waydabbles)

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