Before I show you how to make a Folded Book Angel – there are a few things you need to know first:
1. Book Folding is kind of a free-form craft. There are a few techniques, however, that make it easier! If you have never folded a book before, then start with a sacrificial book that you can test on!
2. A few book terms – so that we are all on the same page, as it were. Book pages are printed two to a book leaf. The words ‘page’ and ‘leaf’ are NOT interchangeable – if the pattern you choose says you need 200 leaves, you need to use a book with at least 400 pages…
Also, choose a hard cover book so that the book will stand up on its own. You might want a book with cleanly cut page edges, not rough cut ones – though there might be patterns that would look good with rough edges.
3. Equipment: Besides the book, you will need
– a ruler;
– a pencil;
– a strip of cardstock that is about 2 inches by 10 inches (5cm by 25 cm),
– a couple of clothespegs to hold the book open when it would prefer to be closed. I use some ‘toaster tongs’ that my father-in-law made with two clothespegs (side by side) sandwiched by two strips of wood.)
– a creaser tool to make the folds crisper than your fingernail can make them. People who do a lot of book folding buy a tool called a bone folder. You could also use the rounded back of a spoon. I use a pointy stick that is slightly convex from side to side. (A remnant from pottery making days.)
4. The Dangerous Part – Marking the fold marks on the top and bottom of the pages. You do this so that all your folds begin at the same place on the top or bottom of the book. I do this by Measuring, Marking and scoring. You’ll need a pencil and exacto knife or a regular knife to do this. (Knives – the dangerous bit)
With the book partly closed, stand it on its top covers. You are going to create a scored line across all the pages. Measure about 3/4 inch (2 cm) from the spine and draw a line like you see in the photo. Using the ruler and an exacto knife or a regular knife, score the line so that you can see the score on each page when the book is flat and open. (It is very difficult to do a nice fold if that top mark is too close to the spine!)
You will do this to both the top and the bottom of the book.
If you don’t want do this step, then you can devise some other way to line up your folds so that they are consistent across the top and bottom of the book.
5. Turn the book so that the top of the book is on your right and the spine is at the top of your work surface. You should be able to faintly see the marks you made on the top and bottom of the book. You’ll make another mark on the side of the page. In this case, for the angel, I made a mark 1.25 inches (3 cm) from the bottom of the book.
6. Most folds begin (or end if you prefer) from a mark on the top of the page (or bottom of the page) to a mark on the side of the page. A cardstock strip is a handy tool for making straight folds. Align the cardstock so it touches the top of the page mark and the side page mark.
7. Hold the cardstock securely in place with one hand and use the other hand to fold the page along the cardstock. Press with your finger. This fold made a nice triangle, but it caused the page to overlap the previous page. A second small fold corrects the overlapping situation.
8. Your last fold goes from the bottom page mark to the side page mark.
9. When you are done, use your crease folding tool to make everything crisp.
10. For some projects, you will have two marks on the side of the page.
11. When you aren’t working on your book, close it and store it under a stack of two or three heavy books. That will help to compress the folded pages.
That is the basics. Other posts in this series:
Literary Origami – Heart and Cat
Literary Origami – Folded Book Angel
Book Fold Angel Decorated
Literary Origami – Book Folding 202 – A Paw Print
As the Month Unfolded – I Folded Easy Angles
Book Folding – the Letter ‘M’ and Fringe Flowers
The Dark Side of Book Folding
7 thoughts on “Literary Origami – Book Folding 101”
Looks like a great project to do while listening to a podcast or watching TV!
I love the red backing to your angel.
A book without it’s book cover becomes a different entity! I have to wonder if the author picks the colour of the cover or it is up to the publisher.
The folding does take quite a bit of time, but the measuring is the only part that takes some concentration. I listen to music and that seems to make the time fly.
You did a great job on this Margy.
Thanks Linda. It took quite a bit of time to write instructions that might be clear to everyone, not just me.
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It looked challenging Margy but you gave good directions and visual aids. I passed the post along to a fellow blogger who has a Christmas angel collection. I had never heard of a book angel and she said her husband bought her one and it sits on her piano.
This is incredible! I’ve never even heard of book folding. Beautifully photographed and explained, Margy. This is carrying craft to a whole new level!!
I just found this craft recently too. As my kids would say – I’ve got to get out more…
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