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Book Page Fold Art

There are so many ways to express yourself through folded book art

There are so many ways to express yourself through folded book art

Book Folding Basics

Book folding is a super easy art form that you can master from the first time you give it a try. All you need is a used book and a template for your design, It is just that easy.

Book Folding Templates

There are plenty of free templates on the internet for you to use. Some templates may also be purchased at reasonable prices. You can also create your own templates, using your computer. Illustrator and Photoshop are popular programs to do just that.

Types of Folds

180 fold is simply folding all the pages toward the spine before you start marking and creating the project.

No fold patterns are exactly what the name sounds like. You don’t fold the page at all

Half Fold:

  • You can either fold each corner of that page to meet in the middle, to form a point. Then fold the point to the spine of the book.
  • You can simply cut that page out
  • Ignore the Half fold line and move onto the next measurement (This is what I do).

How Many Pages Does a Book Need to Have?

If you are working on an intricate pattern, you book should have a minimum of 300 pages. The more pages that you have, the better and more defined the project will be. Just remember that a page of a book is really two pages (front and back), so if there are 400 pages in the book, there are only 200 available folds.

Book Fold Art Projects

You can make book fold art as a decor item for your home or as a gift for a special occassion

You can make book fold art as a decor item for your home or as a gift for a special occassion

Picking Your Book

Minimally, you want to have a book that is at least 400 pages. For a more intricate pattern you need to have at least 600-900 pages.

Generally, you need to use a hardcover book. The pages in these books are stronger and will hold the shape of your art better. You can find good books to use in your art at your local thrift store. Sometimes libraries have book sales. Try getting your books at garage sales/ Often they are sold at extremely reasonable prices.

Print out the font/photo on an 8 ½ x 11 size sheets of paper. You’ll want it to match the size of the book, and make sure that you’ve got margins of about an inch/ inch and a half from the bottom and top of your book.

If you want to have additional pages before and after the folded sculpture, make sure and account for those. So for a 400-page book, I’d want a pattern that had about 150 folds (or 150 stripes) in it, so that I could have 25 pages at the front and 25 at the back. If I wanted a fold for every page, I’d need it to be 200 folds (or 200 stripes)

Make sure pages are easy to fold. I made the mistake of buying an older hardcover book that was quite well worn. The pages were very thick and “pulpy”. As I was folding, the pages would start cracking and ripping easily. Needless to say, this was very frustrating to have it fall apart as I was trying to make something beautiful.

More Book Choice Tips

  1. Check that the spine and pages are intact. You don’t want pages to fall out as you’re folding
  2. Choose books with at least 300-400 pages as that will usually cover most words to fold.
  3. Pull back the cover jacket on the hardcover book to see what is underneath. All books have beautiful covers and colors to choose from especially if you’re looking to do a specific décor theme. Sometimes you may want to find a specific book to use if there’s a special memory attached or for someone’s favorite author and the like.
  4. Make sure pages are easy to fold. Do not make the mistake of using older hardcover books. The pages are generally thick and very pulpy. The pages will rip and crack as you are working with them.
  5. Keep an extra book on hand to practice with or as a backup

Materials and Supplies Need to Create Book Art

There are only a few items needed to create your folded book art:

  • A pencil
  • A ruler that has centimeter markings
  • A bone folder to create crisp edges
  • Scissors
  • Elastics (extra-large)
  • Heavy books or another weighted object

Book Folding Art Resources

This is what a book fold pattern may look like

This is what a book fold pattern may look like

Choosing Your Pattern or Template

If you really get into book folding art, there are dozens of places that you can get patterns. Whatever occasion you might want to create for is available in any number of shops online. Many specialty items are reasonably priced.

There are freebies around, but you really have to search to find them.

Pattern Angel Policies

You will want to look at the angel policy the pattern you are getting ready to use. Some patterns, especially among the freebies will only allow you to use the pattern for your own use rather than commercial use.

Just like any other artwork, these patterns are created by an artist. So, if you purchase a pattern, it is strictly for your own use. Sharing copies of patterns only robs the artist of a sale they would have made. So direct people to the sight where you get the pattern instead. And follow the intended use as stated at the sale or download.

Getting Started

The first thing to consider when selecting a pattern for your book fold art is that you want a pattern that has less pages than the book you want to use (If you find a pattern that you really love then locate a book with more pages than the pattern).

So start by counting the pages of your book or books before you get started on your project. Remember, each line in the pattern is made with a folded page.

Count the lines of the template, double it to get the number of LEAVES (pages) and double that to get the PAGE COUNT of the book. Remember, a book that has pages numbered 1 to 300 only has about 150 LEAVES as each page has a number on the front and a number on the back. If you have a template that has 150 lines, it needs 300 leaves, or a book with a page count of at least 600 numbered pages.

Note: You will often see the abbreviation of MMF. This term means measure, mark and fold.

Does the Height of the Book Matter?

When you are choosing the book art pattern for your project, you will see recommended height for the book. All this means is the pattern will sit central if you use the same size that is stated. It was either made as a custom for someone or the designer made it in a common height.

The pattern that you chose will tell you the number of pages that the pattern needs as well as the required length of the page for the pattern. Make sure to measure and understand both measurements of the books that you have available so that you get the right length of pages. Otherwise, your pattern may not turn out as selected. Measurements are important!

Free Book Fold Patterns And Tutorials


Folding Your Pages

There are a few things to keep in mind when you start your book fold art project. The first thing to think about is where you will be working on your book. You need to have a flat surface with good lighting so that you can work the book and see the template.

  1. First, fold the top of your pattern sheet down so that you’ll have a guide for the top of your page. This will ensure that your folded section is even across the top.
  2. Take a pencil and with your book closed, make a mark across all the pages about halfway between the spine of the book and the edge of the book. Do the same on the bottom of the page. These will be your folding guides.
  3. Next, tuck the pattern underneath the first page you want to start folding and line up your top guide with the top of your book. You’ll want to make sure the first stripe of your pattern is parallel with the outside edge of the book.
  4. To make the first fold, you’ll take the top right-hand corner of the page and fold it towards the middle to make a triangle. The angles of the triangle will be determined by the two guides you have – the mark you made at the top of the book as one corner, and the top of the first stripe as the second.
  5. Now take the bottom right corner of that same page and repeat the process using the bottom of the first stripe as a guide and the bottom mark you made.
  6. Make a hash mark on your pattern to indicate that you have completed that stripe. Then push the pattern in towards the second of the book so that the second line is parallel with the edge of the book. Repeat the process.

Folding Tips

  • Use heavy-duty books or weights to help keep your book from moving around as you fold.
  • I like to use these extra big Staples rubber bands to keep the folded pages out of the way as I continue folding.
  • With folded books that have 6 or more letters or if you find the spine of the book is weak, you may want to tie a ribbon around the bottom part of the book to keep your folded book art standing upright.

Fold Techniques With Free Patterns

The basic barrel fold is an easy fold to strart with

The basic barrel fold is an easy fold to strart with

Great First Book Fold Project

How to Center Your Pattern

The pattern that you are choosing may not be centered chosen. If the book you have chosen. If the pattern is not centered, you may have an uneven number of pages in the front or the back.

To get your pattern centered in your book, you can use the following formula:

Your books page count – the patterns page count = extra pages divided by 2 = start page

So, if you had a book that was 742 pages and your pattern was 612 pages, you would 742-612=30. 30 divided by 2=15. So, you would start on page 15.Make sure to round off any numbers.

Pattern Tutorials

Create a special piece of artwork for your own home decor or to give as a gift

Create a special piece of artwork for your own home decor or to give as a gift

Creating Word Folding Book Art

A simple word is one of the most popular books folded art project.

  • Chose a word with no more than 5 letters
  • You’ll need about 80 pages approximately per letter although this can vary depending on how think your page sheets are, how long the book is etc.
  • Make sure the edges of the pages are flat. Sometimes books are intentionally published with a deckle or “jagged” edge but this will make your craft project so much harder to fold.

Word Book Fold Resources and Ideas

  • Another try – book folding DIY | scrappystickyinkymess
    OK, I am still trying to work out a good way to share book folding alphabets that are easy for people to use. While it us certainly easy enough, with the right tools and knowledge, for you to copy>paste individual letters and build a word you then

More Book Fold Art Tips

Here are a few more tips to get the best results when you are creating your book fold art projects:

  1. As the saying goes, "measure twice, cut once". Checking your measurements before you pick up your scissors will help avoid unintended mistakes.
  2. Check your work as you go along. take time to make sure that your pages look clean and neat.
  3. Remember, the more you practice and do projects, the better you will get

The 180 Fold

A 180 fold is made by folding each page back (180 degrees!) towards the spine creating a ‘180 base’ for your pattern to be made on. This bulks out the pages giving a wider and more substantial finish. Depending on the design this can double, or even triple the overall width of the open book when finished.

So, in order to carry out a 180-fold, you simply fold every page towards the spine PRIOR to marking and cutting. The fold should be precise on every page, and no bigger than 1 cm. The reason for using a 180-fold is so the design stands out more and is more defined. It also allows for some of the wording to be visible, meaning not only greater contrast, but also greater impact displaying the beauty of the book.

Some people prefer to fold back by 1cm and keep the front of the book clean looking. Then when the design is cut into the book the dark text can help the pattern stand out

The 180 method works best on the Inverted cut and folds and the Shadow cut and folds.

180-Fold Tips and Resources

Cut and Fold Book Art

A tip for all types of cut & fold patterns: make a mark on your scissors that is 1-cm deep. When you begin to cut the pages, always cut to the depth of the mark and your cuts will all be even.

The cut and fold patterns list all of the marks required for each leaf.

If a pattern is not clear whether it is giving the number of pages or folds, you can usually determine which by looking at the pattern sequence. If it specifies 1,2,3,4 etc. then it is likely to be referring to leaves in which case you will need to double the total number to give the number of pages needed. If the sequence runs 1,3,5,7 etc. then this is pages, and you will not need to double the total.

Marking the Book

You always mark your book with the 0 of your ruler at top of the page:

  • If the spine of the book is towards you, mark from left to right
  • If the spine of the book is away from you, mark from right to left.

Types of Cuts and Fold Methods

There are several methods that designers use for cutting and fold projects:

  1. With folded Inset Folds. Every other page with a blank folded (inset) page between them. They are often not used with intricate designs.The inset fold is a full-length fold typically 1cm or 1.5cm (this is not set in stone but are the sizes that are felt to give the most appealing results).
  2. With unfolded Inset Fold (Partial or Shadow fold). This method is virtually the same as the with folded inset page method, but you leave the inset pages unfolded.
  3. Without Inset Folds. Just Cut and Fold: This method involves cutting and folding every single page. It’s often used for more detailed designs as it: This creates a tighter design because the pages are not separated.
  4. Without Inset Folds. Fold, Cut & Fold: This method involves folding every page as an inset (typically by 2 or 3cm) and then cutting and folding every single page (typically by 1 or 1.5cm). This method provides volume to the fold without increasing the number of pages.
  5. Traditional Fold & Cut and Fold Combination (Combi fold). This consists of traditionally folding the outside edge of the design and cut and folding the internal pattern. Most patterns used for the basis of a combi fold DO NOT use insets, although it is possible to do so. A combi fold is used to make your pattern stand out more from the book. In order to create this effect, measure and mark the page as normal, but instead of folding the first and last fold straight, fold it so it creates a 45-degree angle.
  6. Traditional Fold & Cut and Fold Combination (Inverted Combi). The process of folding a regular combi, results in the inset and outset parts of the design being reversed. In order to preserve these, you can fold as what’s known as an inverted combi. The process is exactly the same as for a regular combi (see above) but in addition to folding the first and last marks, you also cut them.

Cut and Fold Resources

Shadow Folding

An easy explanation of shadow folding is that you create a shadow by leaving every other page unmarked.

Shadow Folding is very similar to a normal cut and fold, with the exception that every other page is unmarked leading for a more subtle “shadow” like result. In order to try out a shadow fold, it is important to use a pattern that is suitable for shadow folding as otherwise you may not receive the required result.

Shadow Book Folding Art Projects