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Have you tried the craft of book folding? It is so fun and you can repurpose old books by making them into the most delightful crafts. Christmas is an especially wonderful time to learn how to do this and start making gifts for all your friends and family. So let me tell you how I learned book folding.
Last fall when my daughter left for her freshman year of college, I was a little disoriented, so I made sure to fill my time with new and interesting activities. I was looking through a local magazine that we get in the mail, and there was an ad for a book folding class at one of our local libraries. I didn’t know a whole lot about book folding, so I did some looking around on the internet and loved what I saw. There is a seemingly endless array of patterns from which to choose. The class was free, I was free, so I signed up.
The librarian was a great teacher and gave us a couple of beginner patterns from which to choose for the class that day. The class was packed so I assume plenty of other people find this craft interesting, as well. I chose to make a heart pattern. It was fairly easy and I felt I could complete it in the time allotted for the class. As you can see below, it was a pretty simple project, and admittedly not my best work. 🙂
But I got excited that I knew the mechanics of how to create magical things from books so I started looking for other patterns. The librarian offered to email us more advanced patterns if we were interested. She sent lots of cool patterns like stars and flowers, and my favorite–the state of Texas. I knew I had to try to make that one for my daughter since she attends school out of state, and LOVES her Texas. 🙂 I messed up a little when I started out and had to start over, but in the end I couldn’t believe I had made this! I had gotten so much better very quickly. My daughter loves it and keeps it in her dorm room.
By then I knew I wanted to do some Christmas book folding patterns. I have found Etsy to have a really good assortment of patterns and they are reasonably priced. I chose to advance a bit and do a “cut and fold” pattern I found on Etsy, and the lady who created it emailed a helpful video tutorial showing how to do it. That was invaluable. I’m a visual learner so once I saw her do it I totally got what to do. I made this Santa. Isn’t he just the cutest?
When my daughter came home for Thanksgiving I showed her what I had made and showed her how to do it, so she made this adorable peeking reindeer to go with Santa.
We put them on our mantel as Christmas decorations.
When my mom came down for Christmas we showed her how to do book folding and she went home and made a George Washington pattern for her annual Daughters of the American Revolution George Washington Tea. Complete with a little bow for his ponytail. 🙂
I am an enormous book lover and hate to see books destroyed or languishing in a resale shop somewhere. So now I have something to do with all the big fat books I find. Resale shops have incredibly low prices on books, and Friends of the Library sales are also great resources. Some libraries have ongoing sales where you can purchase books on any given day. Almost all of them have periodic large book sales to raise funds for the library. These are usually on a Saturday and draw big crowds because the books are so inexpensively priced. I love to pick up large books for book folding projects because you can make a wonderful gift for just a few dollars. Start taking the dust jackets off of books to see what color the book is. You will probably find books of all different colors that will lend themselves very well to book folding projects.
The events you can make projects for are abundant. Not only all of the holidays but also weddings, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, or any life event. Just do a search for what you’re looking for in a book pattern, and you can probably find it. If you’re really good, you can also make your own. The librarian showed us how to do that in the class I took, but I haven’t done it yet. I haven’t needed to because there are so many wonderful patterns already available. But my mom did create her own pattern for her George Washington book.
There are two types of patterns you can use to create the images. One type is where the pattern gives you the measurements which you mark on the page then make the folds. The other type is an actual drawing of the pattern and you mark your pages using the drawing to mark where you should fold. I have tried both and do MUCH better with the actual drawing rather than the measurements. For some reason, I just don’t grasp the measurements as easily. So you should probably give both a try and see which one works best for you.
Here’s an example of a pattern you might see with measurements:
Here’s an example of a pattern with a drawing that you use to mark and fold your book:
One thing I learned while doing the first book folding in the class I took is that the crispness of the folds is what makes it look really good or not. The lady sitting next to me had obviously done this type of thing before, and she brought her own bone folder that she used to make really sharp folds. She told me it was the key to making your folds look precise. I started using a credit card in class trying to replicate the bone folder, but I ordered one the minute I got home. 🙂 Here’s what they look like:
As I mentioned before, folding patterns abound on Etsy, or you can purchase books of patterns, as well. If you are feeling really ambitious and want to crank out a folded book by Thanksgiving, you might want to try a book with some simple patterns like the Thanksgiving Book Folding Pattern Pack .
If you want to practice and then give some Christmas themed books as gifts, you might want to try a book like Christmas Holiday Pack.
The best way to way to create some wonderful book folding projects is to just get going! Pick a simple pattern and give it a try. Your first attempt may not look very good, and that’s totally okay! Just keep at it and you will get better very quickly. It’s really not hard to do, and it’s kind of therapeutic and something you can do while watching TV in the evenings.
I’d love to know if you’ve tried book folding or if you would like to try it for the holidays. If you do I want to see pictures! 🙂
Pinterest is a goldmine of book folding ideas, so be sure to check it out!