What’s book art?
In various places, you can see those beautiful folded book art pieces (like in these instructables: Book-Art-How-to-Fold-a-Book-into-a-Word, Folded-Book-Art-Best-most-clear-Tutorial-available ) - and it seems you’d like to make your own one, with your own pattern, now!
This page will guide you how to accomplish this in an easy, step-by-step way.
Choose a picture
Best practice: Keep it simple!
The simpler the image, the fewer pages are necessary to make a good picture and the easier it will be to recognize which object you folded into your book pages.
You need a picture which fulfills the following requirements:
- A picture of a dark object in front of a bright background - preferably, a black object in front of a white or transparent background.
- The picture must be saved as a png or jpg image file
- In the picture, there may be no vertical gaps. This means, that, if you would trace any vertical line in your picture from top to bottom, there may be no line which is white all the way down. The only white vertical space is allowed to the sides of your object.
- There may be only few ‘holes’ in your object, especially if the holes stack vertically. I suggest having no more than 3 vertical holes directly above one another.
- The object should not have very many details. The simpler the shape, the better the result. Silhouettes or single letters are great.
- The object should not be too wide - the fewer pages in the book, the thinner your object should be.
- You must really want to fold THAT object, because… it’ll take a while. Even if my script spares you the work of preparing and measuring the picture, you will still have to measure pages and fold pages…. for hours on end.
Choose a book
A suitable book should fulfill the following requirements:
- You need a hardback book (a paperback will topple over!)
- One you don’t intend to read (again).
- And one with many pages.
How many pages exactly you will need depends on your picture - a wide picture needs more pages than a thin one and a detailed picture needs more pages than a very simple one. When you think of pages in terms of resolution of the picture, remember that only every second page number of the book is in fact one sheet of paper - and corresponds to one ‘pixel’ (or better: slice) in the width of your art work.
So if you think ‘Wow, this book has more than 200 pages’ - it is really only about 100. And think of pictures which are 100 by 100 pixels - they are SMALL. So take a book with many, many pages.
Hint (optional, but useful):
If you want to know the optimal width to height ratio for your picture, put your book upright and fan out its pages. When they have a ‘good’ distance from each other, so that you can imagine your picture being rendered well, you can measure the width to height ratio of your book. If you adjust the dimensions of your picture to this (by adding and removing empty space, not by distorting the image), you can optimize your result.
Create the pattern and preview
Now that you’ve got everything prepared, head over to the Bookart page and enter the values of your art project into the form. Tooltips will help you to choose the right options for your project.
If something is wrong with the settings you chose or with the image you used, you will get a feedback message telling you what you need to change.
After you clicked on “Create template!”, your pattern preview and pattern text will be available for checking and download.
When you make a pattern using this web site, your image data or settings will not be transmitted via the internet, as all processing will be done within your web browser. Nobody but you will be able to see what kind of picture you want to put on your book.
Check the preview
Take a look at the pattern preview. If you downloaded it, you might have to zoom in to see all vertical lines, else you’ll probably have to scroll to see everything.
Don’t worry about the aspect ratio, only check if the object is there, if the pages alternate well and if the level of detail is what you want.
If something’s wrong, check that your picture fulfills all requirements mentioned above.
If the alternation of the pages looks wrong, try starting at another even page of your book (for example, if the first even page number is 4, try 6 next time). You can also add or remove whitespace around your object to allow it to be better centered.
Tweak the settings and create patterns until you are happy with the preview.
Fold the book
How to read the pattern
- The first column tells you which page to fold.
- The second column tells you where to fold the top of the page down, measured from the top.
- The third column tells you where to fold the bottom of the page up, measured from the top.
Print the pattern out - or leave the file open to save paper and listen to music from your computer while folding.
Put on some good music, or audio book… and FOLD
Now it’s the time to MARK and FOLD. This may take some time - and it’s a bit meditative. If you don’t like to meditate, put on some good music or an audio book :-)
I found that I preferred marking and folding in one step. You might be more efficient if you mark all pages first and fold in a second step. The marking and folding in one step has the advantage that you notice errors (like jumping a page number or measuring wrongly) right away. Plus you can already see your partial result, which provides some motivation.
Cross off the pages in your pattern text which you have already marked (and folded). It’s easy to forget to check for the correct page number and to mark and fold the same part of the pattern more than once…
Mark with a thin pencil, using a long ruler. Put the marks some 2-3 mm away from the border of the page - this way, your marks cannot be seen in your finished project.
Use a ‘Geodreieck’ or a hard, triangular shape (45°-90°-45°, maybe from cardboard or plastic) to make your folds as precise as possible. Hover over the pictures for more information.
Admire your result
When you’re all through the pattern, put up your new artwork. Adjust the opening angle of the book to adjust the aspect ratio. Fan the pages out regularly.
Enjoy your very own, easy-made art work with your own, original pattern!
Use it as a gift, as decoration, whatever you like!
If you made a nice piece of art, tell others about it in the comment section! And if you attach a photo to your comment mail (licenced CC-By-SA 4.0 or higher), then I’d be happy to include it into the article’s gallery, as an inspiration for others.
How come this service exists?
Looking into one of the instructables (How-to-Fold-a-Book-into-a-Word-The-original-tuto ), which describes the process of making your own pattern, I saw that the measuring and mapping from picture to page is a really tedious, time-consuming process, which can also go wrong in many places. And I realized that the number of free ready-to-fold patterns is a bit, …. mmmh, limited - you don’t always want hearts…unless it’s Valentine’s day, of course.
As I was also learning how to program, and am a fan of (and humble contributor to) open source software, I thought I could try out my new skills and create something useful at the same time.
Now it’s available as a simple website - you choose your image, enter a few values, click some buttons - and get your pattern. No more Python installation, command-line interface, weird error messages - just a web page.
(and note the program licence if you decide to make derivative software)
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. You may share and adapt the contents, as long as you publish the result under the same license and give appropriate credit.