Introduction: Wooden Bookmark

For all those people in your life who still read brick and mortar books, this is the bookmark for them. It isn't my invention, I saw one in a store, bought it, and did some reverse engineering. Which at times was much harder than it appears. I have been unable to find a reference online for them, so here's my first Instructable.

First of all, you MUST FOLLOW ALL SAFETY STANDARDS FOR WOODWORKING. Second, you MUST have a table saw sled for cutting small parts. There are many references online and in wood magazines for a sled of this type - Handyman Table saw sled - is one, although a hold-down toggle clamp needs to be added for the bookmarks.


  • Wood - various colors and dimensions (see Step one)
  • Glue
  • Spray lacquer or other finish (optional)


  • Sled for cutting small parts
  • Hold-down toggle clamp like this one - from Rockler Toggle clamp
  • Table saw
  • Miter gauge
  • Thin rip blade (optional but really nice - this is one I highly HIGHLY recommend: MicroKerf 40)
  • Clamps
  • Drum sander (optional)
  • Hand sander, oscillating sander, or sandpaper

Step 1: Choose and Cut Your Wood

Various colors of wood, various thicknesses anywhere from 1/32 to ⅜ inches by approximately 4 inches wide, 36 inches long. Veneer pieces are great, since they are already very thin. I sort through leftover wood, looking for things that match in size, e.g., if I have several boards that are ¾ x 5 x 24 inches, I cater to that. It's a great way to use up some of those scraps - these take an amazing amount of wood and glue.

For those pieces you find that are not thin enough, resawing will be necessary. This can be done with a band saw, but I prefer to use the table saw since it makes much cleaner and more precise cuts. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS and your fence will need to be very close to the blade. Starting with a piece that is no less than ½ x 2 x 18 inches, square it up before resawing. There is a great Instructable, thanks to workislove here - Resaw wood on the bandsaw and table saw - Made at Techshop Please follow these instructions!

If the pieces you cut are too thick or irregular, a drum sander is great, otherwise you will have to sand it down by hand or cut another piece. I've found that a planer chews up anything this thin.

Step 2: Arrange, Glue, and Clamp

With a variety of colors and thicknesses, determine the order you want, the final thickness should be 1 - 1 ½ inches.

This is your first glue-up. Using basic wood glue, I spread it with a credit card on EACH mating surface.

Clamp clamp clamp wherever you can, attempt to use all your clamps. My favorites are the Bessey K-clamps. Begin by clamping in the middle, be sure the pieces are lined up along at least one long edge, then clamp from alternate sides, working toward either end until the whole length is clamped.

Step 3: True Up the Sides, Cut Lengths, Glue Again

After glue has set, true up the long sides. At the miter saw or with a miter gauge at the table saw, square up each end, then cut into lengths that, when stacked, will be 6 inches tall. E.g., if your piece is 1 ½ inches thick and 24 inches long, you would cut it into (4) 6 inch lengths (4 x 1 ½ = 6). This 6 inch height is the approximate length of your final bookmark - I make them 5 inches long by ⅞ to 1 inch wide.

Glue and clamp as in prior step.

Step 4: True Up the Sides and Crosscut Lengths

Truing up the sides of your blank can be tricky because it is so tall. I generally use the table saw to do this, ripping as outlined in workislove's previously cited Instructable, using the bandsaw if the table saw blade can't complete the cut.

Use the small parts cut-off sled or the miter gauge of your table saw with the fence as a stop block for this next cutting operation. If you are using the miter gauge/fence method, be sure your fence is moved in front of the blade so the cut-off doesn't get trapped by the blade. Since I didn't get very good photos at the time, I have substituted a square piece of plywood as a simulation. The cut-off widths are your choice, but I have found 3/16 to ¼ inch were most pleasing to the eye. You can combine varying and/or equal widths in the next step. In the last photo, I have hot glued that square piece of plywood to my blank so that I can cut as many pieces as possible.

Step 5: Arrange Cut-offs for Final Glue-up

I used the cut-offs in a variety of combinations. Some I lined up straight across, divided by perpendicular strips of wood (the cut-offs must line up really straight, any offset will be very noticeable), others I just offset the cut-offs. On all of them, I put an outside edge of 3/16 inch wood.

Final glue-ups. All are made from the same source of cut-offs, just arranged differently.

Step 6: True Up the Glue Up, Round the Edges, Cut the Bookmark!

After squaring them up, I rounded over the edges with a sander.

And back to the table saw, using the small parts cutting sled with a stop block and clamp-down toggle. (I put duct tape on the kerf in my sled.) Final thickness of a bookmark is about 1/32 inch. I'm using this jig for a stop block, as it's adjustable - Rockler's thin rip table saw jig - but you can also just clamp a stop block to the rear upright of your sled.

Step 7: Add a Finish

I use spray lacquer because it's convenient and dries quickly.

Center left is done by taking three very thin cut-offs, offsetting and gluing them. Using a board that was ¾ x 2 x 6 inches, I cut a curve with the bandsaw. After glue has set up on the three thin cut-offs, glue them into the curve you just cut. Clamp. Cut another curve and glue in a thin piece, being sure to line up the three thin cut-offs perfectly. Clamp. Cut bookmarks as illustrated in prior steps.

Center right was done by cutting a curve with the bandsaw up to where the flower head was going to be. Fit, glue, and slide a piece of wood into the cut for the stem. Drill a series of holes, gluing in plugs made with the corresponding plug cutter. This has to be done in a few separate steps since it involves drilling, gluing, and sanding flat the first round of plugs, then drilling holes that will place petal upon petal, and finally the center plug of a larger size drill/plug.

I hope you have fun and do post your photos!

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