Literary Origami – Book Folding 101

Angel Book: Hard cover book stands on its own; top view – the folds all begin at the same place along the top of the book. The same is true for the bottom.

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…

3. Equipment: top left: the ‘toaster tongs’ that my father in law made out of clothes pegs; bottom right, l-r: black cardstock strip, creaser tool, ruler, pencil

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: The pencil mark and scored line on the top end of the book.

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.

Top on the right. Spine at the top of the work surface. The mark on the top and bottom of the book are the ones you scored with the blade of a knife. The mark on the side of the page is, in this case, 1.25 inches (3 cm) from the bottom of the page.

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.

One fold is made from the mark on the top of the page to the mark on the side of the page. The second fold is from the mark on the bottom of the page to the mark on the side of the page. Align the marks along the piece of cardstock.

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.

Small fold.

8. Your last fold goes from the bottom page mark to the side page mark.

The last fold.


9. When you are done, use your crease folding tool to make everything crisp.

Make the folds crisp.

10. For some projects, you will have two marks on the side of the page.

The two folds when there are 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

Literary Origami – Book Folding Heart and Cat

Do you fold down a corner of a book page (dog-ear) to mark you place? I can’t bring myself to do that – maybe because I have so many cool book marks! Or maybe it is just a lifelong habit – I suppose a hold over from a time when books were less available and more valuable – handed down for the next generation to read and enjoy.

You can imagine, then, my initial horror at seeing a whole book of folded pages!

But the result was so wonderful! I saw this folded book this past August at the Hospice where my dad spent his last days. “Peace” – it was an appropriate sentiment in that caring environment.

The Craft of Book Folding has been around for quite a few years, even if it was brand new to me. I soon realized, too, that the number of books that end up in land fills makes Book Folding a very desirable way of recycling books. I made several trips to our local recycling center and selected a book for my first project – a Heart. When that heart went home with a friend, I made another Heart!

After the two Hearts, I moved on the a more difficult pattern – “Cat” (C Pawprint t.)


Other than the book itself, Book Folding equipment is quite simple – a ruler, a pencil, a bone folder tool, a few pieces of cardstock, and some big clips. The most challenging aspect were the patterns. (There are some free patterns on the internet.) I chose to make my own patterns, using a template that I made in Microsoft Excel.

There are many excellent YouTube videos and websites that give detailed instructions. I waded through a few of them until I understood the basics and found some techniques that worked best for me.

The pattern I’m working on now is a Wine Glass. I’m not really pleased with it so far, but it might look much better when it is done…

Goodreads conducted a poll on how people keep track of their place in a book. Thousands and thousands of people responded. The most popular choice was a  scrap of paper or some sort of bookmark. Almost 9% dog-ear the page. How do you mark your place?


Wonkey Weaving Gourd Baskets

I’ve taken three Gourd Art classes from a talented artist,  Margaret Sullivan of Rio Verde, Arizona.  In two of the classes we used very large gourds that we stained with leather dyes before we launched into the time consuming technique called ‘Wonkey Weaving’. The bare bones of the weaving is done with reeds soaked in water to make them pliable. The wonkey meant you were supposed to leave lots of odd shaped gaps to fill in later with wool or other pliable materials.

My first gourd had not become very ‘wonkey’ at all by the end of the class. I took it home and completed the rest of the weaving and added purchased feathers and beads.

At the second class, I achieved wonkey.

In the third class, we made a Totem Pole  from small gourds. We stained the gourds, etched them with a dremel, then decorated them with feathers, beads and paint.

Back in Canada, I could add feathers that I had collected from the grounds around our house. (In Alberta, it is legal to pick up feathers off the ground. It is not legal to do that in the United States, according to the American Migratory Bird Treaty Act.)

American Migratory Bird Treaty Act Reform – There is movement towards decriminalizing accidental bird killings. Federal Judge Edith H. Jones observed that the MBTA prohibits all acts or omissions that “directly” kill birds, but she also said that where these bird deaths are “foreseeable,” as is the case for all owners of big windows, communication towers, wind turbines, solar energy farms, cars, cats, and even church steeples, it seems unreasonable that these people or businesses should continue to be found guilty of violating the MBTA.

There are so many criminal and regulatory laws and regulations that no one can count them. It is estimated that the average citizen breaks 3 laws a day without even knowing it! Can you think what any of them might be!?

Crochet Owls and Great Horned Owl Update

We haven’t seen the Great Horned Owl Family very often this past month, but I now have a permanent set of Owlet triplets to remind me of how special it was to watch the Owls.


I crocheted my own owls from a pattern at Jacquie’s Website. Jacquie says “If you are proficient at crochet you will be able to make one of these sweet little owls in no time at all.” Proficient is the operative word. My crochet skills were rusty, and apparently my counting skills were too. ‘No time at all’ took several weeks. There are many fiddly bits to the project.

The hardest part, however, was getting a decent photo of them. Their light weight little bodies didn’t want to sit on the branches of the trees. I finally had to wedge them between branches or skewer them a bit with the poky thorns.

As for real owls, two of the owlets were hunting here on July 19. There were several other owls too, but they didn’t land.

Here are photos of the two Owlets, altered with a Super Sharp filter in Topaz Studio.

Happy August! How is your summer or winter so far? Decent weather? Travel? Visitors? Done anything crafty lately?

Christmas Tangle 2017 – A Star

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.
– Author Unknown –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts:  2016, 2015, 2014

Christmas Tangle 2016 – Pine Needles

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
There’ll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
— Eddie Pola and George Wyle –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts: 2015, 2014

Spare Time Crafting Stories – Knitting

My mom was a knitter. She knit in her spare time – but she could knit in ‘unspare’ time too. By that, I mean she was a multitasker long before that term became popular. She could knit and watch TV. She could knit and enjoy the scenery on long road trips. She could knit and have conversations with friends. She probably could have knit and played bridge if Dad had built some sort of card holder for her.

green wool

My children are knitters too. Eldest daughter likes to knit in her spare time. Wander over to her blog, The Good Life List and you will see a photo of this lovely project when it was finished.

pink wool

Middle daughter likes to knit too. She takes her knitting on road trips (like her grandma). Last I heard she couldn’t multitask – she has to watch the progress of each and every stitch very carefully. If she doesn’t, she ‘drops stitches’ which is a knitters term that means a stitch got lost about 6 rows ago.

dog scarf

Youngest daughter knits, though I don’t think she has as much passion for that as she does for making lampwork glass beads (Beadlejuice Beads). The dog is a good model for knitted scarves, but not so good for glass bead necklaces and bracelets.

pantyhose craft
Me? If the love of knitting is passed down from generation to generation, it skipped mine. I don’t remember my mom even trying to teach me to knit. That task, which must have been an incredible challenge, was given to a no nonsense family friend, Norrie. Norrie tried to teach me European knitting and how to make Scottish Shortbread Cakes.

To Norrie’s and my credit, I did knit several sweaters. Bob, in the photo above, is wearing the first one I ever completed. I made it for The Car Guy while we were still dating. Bob has had the sweater on for just over an hour now, and that is the longest it has ever been worn. Enough said.

purple wool needles

knitting the years I did knit a few other things, but I can’t claim to enjoy it much. I like to buy wool, though. Sometimes I roll it into balls. Sometimes I even find a pattern and some needles. I might even think about knitting, but that is as far as I usually get!

Have you ever tried knitting? What do you like to do in your spare time?

This week’s photo Challenge is Spare.

Our Library, The Alphabet and a Good Crafting Intention

Our ‘Snowbird’ Community has a small Library. The volunteer librarians have developed a book filing system that theoretically allows them to house the largest number of books. The books are sorted by subject, then by size, then alphabetically by author’s name. This means that book cases with shorter paperback books have one more shelf than the taller hard cover book cases.

The problem with this system becomes apparent when the users want to find books by a particular author. Books by Stephen King, for example, can be found in 6 different locations – non-fiction, science fiction, fiction paperback, fiction hard cover, mystery paperback, and mystery hard cover. On any given day, the whim of the volunteer who shelves the book will determine where the book is.  This means that two hard cover copies of a single book will invariably be shelved in two different places.

Now and then, whole shelves of books will simply disappear. I’m assuming there were multiple copies of some books, and they were  donated to another little library. But in a system like this, it would be very time consuming to find duplicates. Suspiciously though, most of the books by my favourite British authors have disappeared…

This library really is an interesting example of how logic and good intentions can have unintended consequences.

Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
– Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon –


527-rudolphcorksI can appreciate what can happen to good intentions. Last Christmas I was going to make a whole herd of Cork Rudolphs. Their little bodies and heads would be etched with the ‘alphabet soup‘ of the wine world. Each little ungulate would be a reminder of  those special events when the wine flowed freely.

After many attempts, much oddly bent wire, and a bit of blood letting, a single reindeer was produced. Wine corks firmly resist any attempt to poke wires into them…

YOUR TURN: How do you organize your library? Do you alphabetize anything besides books?

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Alphabet

Christmas Tangle 2015 – Winter Snowman

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
– Oren Arnold –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts: 2014