These instructions will explain how to create a mini book out of eight pieces of different weight paper. The book is constructed simply by folding paper together to create the final product without the use of any adhesives. It is recommended that at least three different stocks of paper are used, a text stock for the inside pages, a cover stock for the cover wraps, and cardboard or mat board for the cover itself. Using the calculator below will help you know the dimensions of the paper needed.
The pages are essentially a series of accordion (mountain & valley) folds. The
paper you need to fold the pages needs to be twice the number of pages, multiplied
by the desired width of a page, plus two more page widths. The additional page
widths are used to hold the pages onto the cover.
Start the acordian fold what would normally be the second fold. This means that the length of paper before your first fold should be two page widths. This is the end that will tuck into the cover, and waiting to fold it until it is in place will allow you more exact placement of your actual pages. Continue the accordion fold, folding at each page width, until you have two page widths left. Again this will be used for the back cover.
Set the folded pages aside for now.
The first wrap is the innermost cover wrap of you book and is used to hold the second
binding wrap in place. The final shape of the first wrap is a "C" shape. It is best to
do this piece in four folds, however two folds can be done with acceptable results.
The first and second folds (1A and 1B in the calculator), and the third and fourth folds (2A and 2B), when complete need to fit over your cover board, two pieces of cover stock, and one piece of text stock. The distance from the edge of the cut stock, to the first fold is half the height of your page. Folding here, and then placing the cover board, cover stock pieces, and text stock will allow you to easily locate your second fold. Do these folds, rotate the cut piece 180 degrees, and repeat the folds again. You will end up with your "C" shape.
You can also reduce each set of two folds to one, especially if you are using easy to fold stock or don't have a very thick cover stock.
Do this for both cut pieces and set aside.
The second wrap acts as the binding wrap for the covers of the book. It holds everything in place
and keeps everything nice and tight. It is hard to describe the final shape, two "U"s with their
outer-most legs attached from above, may be the best, but if you look at the calculator below
you can see what I am talking about. Six folds are needed, but as in the first wrap, this can
be reduced to three folds by combining each pair of folds.
The outermost folds (1A, 1B, 3A, and 3B), when complete need to fit over a single piece of cover stock.
The spine is used to hold the front and back covers together, as well as aid in
keeping the pages in place. The final shape of the spine is a "U" shape. The lengths
of stock on the left and right of the cut spine piece do not need to be exact, but
should not exceed the width of a page.
With this in mind, the easiest way to fold the spine is by taking two cover board pieces, six stock pieces, and your folded pages, and centering them on the cut spine piece. The edges of the stack of papers are where you need to fold your spine so it will be able to easily cover back of your book. You can use the calculator below for exact fold locations, or eyeball it.
Once you have the two folds completed, set the spine aside.
Cover Board - Pages - Wrap 1 - Wrap 2 - Spine
Putting everything together is fairly easy, but may get a little tight at times. I will explain
some tricks to getting everything to go together easier after I explain the whole thing. Make
sure you have everything cut and folded by now!
Start by taking one folded fist and second wrap. Lay the middle section of the first wrap on the second section (after the first set of folds, or first fold, depending on how you did it) of the second wrap. Then fold the first section of the second wrap over on top of the first wrap.
Now take a piece of cover board and place this ontop of the part you just folded over. Continue by folding over the next section of the first wrap. This will leave you with one final section of the first wrap. Tuck this section underneath the first section of the second wrap (which is now underneath the cover board). The first wrap should be in place, with no sections left dangling.
Take the remaining two sections (third and forth) of the second wrap and fold the third over so it is ontop of the middle section of the first wrap. This will leave you with the forth section of the second wrap, which you need to tuck in place. This goes between the cover stock, and the middle section of the first wrap. You should now have one of your covers done. If you did everything right, what you will have will resemble a sleeve made of two cover stock pieces, with a piece of cover board inside of the sleeve.
Repeat these steps for the other cover.
Now you need to put the pages in place. Take one end of your folded pages and slide it as far as you can into the hole in the sleeve, between the cover stock and the cover board. Once you have gotten it in far enough that you can fold the remaining paper over onto the top of the cover, and the remaining paper does not exceed any of the edges of you cover, do so.
Repeat this step for the other end of the pages, with the other cover.
Finally you can put the spine into place! Take the almost complete book, and close it, holding it so that the two exposed edges of the cover board are facing you. Now, take the spine, in the folded "U" shape and slide each end, simultaneously, into the space between the cover stock and the cover board on the outermost sides of your book.
You have no completed your book without using any adhesive! Congratulations!
Some hints for putting everything together:
- If you are having a hard time getting the final sections to tuck in, try slicing off a small notch in the two corners. This may allow the edge to go in without catching.
- Since the calculator is made for the perfect world scenario, you may find your spine is too tall to fit in the remaining room. If this is the case, feel free to trim a little off the height. You can also do all sorts of fun stuff like using two thin strips as your spine, etc. Just remember to keep everything folded nice and tight!
- Don't let your paper get too creased trying to get things in place, this will make it impossible to get in, or really take a hit on the craft of the final product. Don't be afraid to recut!