If you’ve ever seen books with the pages folded into the shape of words and wondered how the heck it’s done, here is one method. I’ve seen methods that use precise mathematical calculations for each page and the use of a ruler for each fold.
Thanks to my laziness, I came up with this simpler method for folded book art.
The first video shows my method of making a pattern in Photoshop before I discovered how to make stripes automatically in Photoshop. Tedious, but still faster than the “correct” method. The second video explains an even better shortcut to making a word pattern in Photoshop. And by the way, you can make a pattern for any design (well, almost any). It doesn’t have to be a word. The third video shows in detail how I use the patterns to actually fold a book.
How to Make a Folded Book Pattern
Simpler way to Make Stripes in Photoshop
After making the video above, I got a ton of questions. So I made another video to answer those questions:
Detailed Book Folding Tutorial
One of the most frequent questions I get is “how many pages per letter do I need?”
The answer is at least 35 folds per lower case letter, which means 70 page numbers per letter. Caps will use more folds, and “i” and “l” will use fewer. But that’s a general guide. I prefer to have 40 folds per letter as that gives you a cleaner image.
If you don’t have Photoshop, you can still make a pattern–even by hand–using my striped backgrounds. Below are links to several striped backgrounds for books with 352, 462, 550, 616 and 792 pages. Just print a word or draw a design on the pattern that most closely matches the book you have, and then follow the folding instructions in my first video. The links to the backgrounds are here: 352 Pages, 462 Pages, 550 Pages, 616 Pages, 792 Pages.
Hi there thanks for your great tutorial. I gave one a try using one of your pre set up pages of lines for a hard back book. I completed a letter but it just seemed so thin and not containing many folded pages?
When printing the page of lines I changed the orientation to land scape and printed an entire word onto landscape also, cut out the word and placed over the lines.
Am I doing something wrong?
Should I be doing a letter at a time?
I hope my nproblem makes sense.
Thanks in advance
I think you’re going in the right direction, Freddy. A couple things to remember: fold both on the black and the white stripe. And when you place the letters onto the striped background, don’t leave any spaces between the letters. Use the entire page for the word (in landscape orientation). Let me know how that works out.
Hi can u please do me a pattern for word family please i just cant get the letters right eternally grateful xx
Just want to say first, thanks so much for your tutorials! they are so much easier than marking pages. I just wanted a little advice about making the stencils. I am a bit confused about the wavelength part of the tutorial. If i were to have a 300 page book and was writing MUM what would i put into the wave? I tried to do a different one of my name but couldn’t figure it out but used one of your striped backgrounds instead. I can figure out everything else but the wave part confuses me lol.
I too would love to buy a stencil from you via PayPal! The book is 507 pages long, and the word I would like is Gabby, in either Baskerville Old Face or Calisto MT. What are the next steps? Thank you!
Your pattern in photo shop video was so informative. Do you have a video on how to make silhouette patterns in photo shop?
do you think you can make me a stencil? i will pay you through pay pal
Sure. I charge $4 a stencil if it’s digital. Five dollars if I have to print and mail it. That sound good? What stencil do you want?