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).


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!