Folded Book Art Tutorial




About: HS Librarian

What you'll need:

* A book with the right number of sheets in it to complete your design.

* A blank EXCEL spreadsheet.

* The outline of your design or text.

* A printer and copy paper.

* A bright-colored, fine-point ink pen.

* A ruler

* (optional) A weighted object to hold down pages.

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Step 1: Selecting Your Book

Select the book you want to fold. Choose a book that has enough pages for the design you want to make.

In these examples, each heart has 80 pages (40 sheets); the apple has 190 pages (80 sheets), and the house has 312 pages (156 sheets).

Step 2: Choosing Your Design

Find, save, and copy the outline of the clip art or text that you want. If you want text, make sure you save the text as a picture. In either case, an outline works better than a solid for this tutorial.

Step 3: Using EXCEL

Open a blank EXCEL spreadsheet. Paste the copy of the clip art or text onto the blank spreadsheet and rotate the picture LEFT by 90º.

Step 4: Choosing Your Page Range

Identify the range of page numbers that you’re going to use to create the design.

· For ex., if you have a 300 page book and want to make your design from pages 15-285, that’s your range of numbers.

Step 5: Adding to the EXCEL Sheet

Begin typing in the ODD numbered pages in the column immediately to the RIGHT of your clip art.

· (I chose ODD since the right-hand pages of each two-page spread are usually the ODD numbered pages. If for some reason your book has even numbered pages on the right-hand side, then type the even numbers, instead.)

· Hint: You only need to type in the first 4 or 5 numbers because EXCEL allows you to choose that group of numbers and drag down the selection to auto-fill the rest of the column.

· Fill the numbers to the end of the picture; then sort the column LARGEST to SMALLEST.

Step 6: Highlighting the EXCEL Sheet

Highlight (shade) every other line; my example is in yellow. If you don’t have a printer with colored ink, you can use a shade of gray.

· When printed, the design should NOT fill the book from top to bottom; make sure you leave enough margin at the left and right side of the spreadsheet in order for the design to fit away from the top and bottom edges of the pages of the book by about an inch or 2.5 cm. (In this tutorial, that’s the top of the roof and the base of the house.)

· This means that in the print setting of EXCEL, make sure the margins of your page produce a picture that is well within the size of a page in your book. For example, if each book page measures 8"H x 5" W, then a printed out picture about 6 1/4" H x 4" W will work [on a regular 8 1/2"11" sheet of copy paper.]

· Print out the spreadsheet with the GRIDLINES and choose the option that allows the template to fit the sheet ALL ON ONE PAGE.

Step 7: Marking Your Points

This next part is time-consuming but well worth the effort. I started off with a highlighter, but found that a fine-point red pen to mark the places where I was eventually going to mark my book worked better. Use the ruler to help line up the intersecting points for each page number.

  • Each page can only have 2 folds, so once you hit the area that has chimney, roof, and house lines, you have to alternate pages. You mark ‘roof,’ then ‘house,’ then ‘chimney,’ then repeat: ‘roof,’ ‘house,’ ‘chimney;’ ‘roof,’ ‘house,’ ‘chimney’…

See the second diagram above… if it doesn’t confuse you even more

Step 8: Creating a Guide Rule

Open the book to the page on which you want to start (in the example above, it was page 15.) Slide the print out under that page and crease the top edge of margin over the top edge of the book to act as a guide rule.

Step 9: Lining Things Up

Then line up the edge of the page with the first line of the design template.

Step 10: Making Your First Marks

Then mark the 2 points where the template meets the page of the book with pencil.

Step 11: Turn the Page...

Turn the page, and then slide the template behind your second page. Mark, turn, slide, mark, repeat until the last line on the template. Remember to use the folded edge as a straightness guide and to use the page numbers at the bottom of the template to help you stay organized.

Step 12: Note:

Depending on the depth of the book, as you keep sliding the template to the left, you might have to cut the template when the left edge of the template meets the inside spine of the book.

Step 13: Time to Start Folding!

Once you have completed marking all of the pencil dots on the edges of the pages of the book, it’s time to start folding. Turn the book 90º so that the front cover is at the top of the book and the pencil marks are closest to you.

[Here, I weighted down the top of the book with my tape dispenser.]

Step 14: How to Fold

Begin folding each of the two pencil marks on each page at right angles (90º) in towards each other. Don’t worry if the back part of the fold isn’t perfect (white arrow); it’s the precision of the front of the fold, where you marked the points, that creates the design (yellow arrow).

Step 15: Turn the Page...

Turn the page and keep folding! Then again, then again, then again until you’ve reached your last pencil marks.

Step 16: FINISHED!

Crafting 101

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Crafting 101

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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    if it's a 300 page book do I only count 150 lines for the pattern ?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    I don't think so. May i ask to which step are you referring your question?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the great instructions. This is the birthday gift for my brother.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you for the feedback. I hope you get a chance to try it.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is really cool. I don't think I'v seen this done with the help of Excel before. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I did see it explained with EXCEL once, but it was precisely because of that that I ended up making my first Instructables... This one! I found the other person's tutorial a bit difficult, so I made my own method, and this was the result... I just had to share it, so I'm glad you liked it.

    I appreciate the positive feedback since it was my first attempt at an Instructables. Let me know if you try it out, what you think, and what your end result is. I'd be curious to see it!


    4 years ago

    this book art is really impressive. I have been looking for this art awhile. thanks for ur instructables. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it. Let me know if/when you try it and if you're successful, made tweaks, chose your own design, etc. I'd love to see your results!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I've seen that sight and tried it, but when I found it confusing, I decided to adapt the process to a way that I could understand. Hence, my first Instructables! Thanks for commenting.