Introduction: Poof Books

Poof Books are nifty little paper books that young kids can make entirely on their own.  As a matter of fact, it was a 1st grader that taught me how to make one!!

In a few short folding steps and just one cut, you'll have a 6-page book that's ready for stories and pictures - each page full of creative potential!  But why is it called a Poof Book, you ask?  Read on and find out!

Step 1: Materials

You only need two items on your project list:

  • a sheet of paper (8.5"x11" is what I used)

  • scissors

Step 2: Folds 1 & 2

Lay your paper out flat and then make two folds.

1) Fold the paper in half using a "hot dog" fold along the short side of the paper - making a crease parallel to the long side.

2) Fold the paper in half again, this time using a "hamburger" fold along the long side of the paper - making a crease parallel to the short side.

NOTE: Describing these folds as "hot dog" and "hamburger" was first shared with me by my high school math students... that sure changed the way we talked about geometry!  But it came in handy when I did this activity years later with some elementary students!  If you still don't get how to make them, take a moment to watch this silly video to explain it more.

Step 3: Folds 3 & 4

Now you will separately fold the top and bottom "buns" of last hamburger fold back toward the creased edge.

3) Take the paper on the top of the fold (it will seem like two pieces of paper because of the work you did in Fold 2), and fold it in half back upon itself.  The first two pictures should provide a nice visual to help explain this step.

4) Now flip your project over, and do the same thing with this part of the book-in-progress.

If you did it right, your paper should look like either an M, or W, when you stop holding the folds together.

Step 4: Setting Up for the Cut

Totally unfold your paper to show the eight rectangles formed by the different creases.

Then fold the paper back in half using a "hamburger" fold along the existing pair of creases - it's a pair of creases because one side will be creased up, and the other creased down.

Step 5: Making the Solitary Cut

You should see on you paper that you now have two creases, each splitting the paper in half.

Take your scissors to the folded side of the paper, and cut down the crease to the intersection in the center of paper.

Step 6: And Here Comes the POOF!

Unfold your "hamburger" fold, and redo the "hot dog" fold from the very first step... of course, you now should have a slit through the middle half of the crease that's toward you.

Grasping the ends of the paper with both hands, carefully push the paper together so that it "poofs" open. :-)

Keep pushing the paper together so that you form a paper plus sign as you look at the edges in your hands.

Step 7: Making the Last Folds to Create the Covers and Pages

Fold the wings of the plus sign down so that you form a book. 

You'll have done it right if you end up with a front and back "cover" to your book that has a single fold serving as the spline of the book.

Step 8: Now Tell Your Story

Here's the most fun part... writing and illustrating your story!