Cut & Fold book folding – how to

I had my doubts that a complex design would work but I was wrong.  I had been itching to try using the Vainglory logo (DS has been casting a tournament and loves playing the game as well) but it was pretty complex for book FOLDING.

All those interruptions!  My word.  But with the cut&fold method, as each vertical line is a page, and multiple interruptions are dealt with on a single page, I thought it might just work. And by golly it did – OK sort of – I maybe went too deep, and a fatter book might have been better, but still..not bad.


Fiendishly hard to get a decent photo.


I really liked the book I used – wait for it….a primary school dictionary.  It was fairly long (380 or so pages so 700+ leaves) and I loved how the red text shows in the deep cuts


I think with a longer book and either a stretched image (so more lines) or folding both the black AND the white lines, it would have been spectacular. Must try again. But I need to get the perfect book for it.

I’m going to try to explain with photos, but do go back a couple of posts to watch the video of the woman who inspired me to give it a go.

Counting.  Always the critical first step.  Each line of the template is made up of an edge-folded page and a page of cut & folds.  So count the lines of the template, double it to get the number of LEAVES (pages) and double that to get the PAGE COUNT of the book. Remember, a book that has pages numbered 1 to 300 only has about 150 LEAVES as each page has a number on the front and a number on the back.  If you have a template that has 150 lines, it needs 300 leaves, or a book with a page count of at least 600 numbered pages.  I cannot state how critical understanding this is!! If  you encounter a case of two letters that will merge into each other (like the straight lines of the A and the I and the N) add a few pages. You will leave these uncut to provide a “space”.

Start by measuring your book from the spine fold to the edge.  I like to cut an old plastic placement to use as a spacer.  Tuck this into the spine and fold back the edge of EVERY OTHER PAGE in the book. Make a nice sharp crease with your fingernail or a bone folder. I went quite deep, folding back about 3/4 inch, because I wanted the text, black AND red, to show, but you might find it more attractive to fold back just to the text, so when you fold the cut sections, all you will see is the plain paper colour. Try to place the fold guide so the edge is the same on every page.  If it really matters to you to get it perfect, a more laborious choice is to cut a strip the width of the fold and use that along the edge.  It’s harder, takes longer, but produces a fold back that is identical on every page, if you are careful.


Find the middle of your book and the middle of your template. Start there.


Align the edge of the template with the top edge of the book. Align the first line on the template with the first line. Mark all of the black lines.  These are your cutting lines


When you encounter a case of two letters that will merge into each other (like the straight lines of the A and the I and the N) leave a few pages with no lines.  You can see the effect of this in the close up shot.  It gives some definition between the letters. Work out, towards the front or the back, then go back to the middle and complete the marking.

Once all the pages are marked and you know things are all going to work out, start cutting.  I must stress that if yo make a mistake and get to the end of the marking and realize you screwed it up, you can still salvage the book.  But once you make a cut, it’s hard to go back. Your cuts should be deep enough so you can fold back over the edge-folded pages.


Work methodically thru the book, folding every other cut section over the folded edge of the previous page, like so.  Each alternate cut section is a part of the letter


Once you have folded all the cut sections you should be able to see your word.  An alternative is to fold back all the not-black-line sections. That will make the word stand out in relief, rather than sinking into the book. You can see that in the video too, towards the very end. I haven’t done a sample of it yet myself, but I’m sure I will.


You might like to checkout some of the other inverted book folding designs like this online. This site has a series of tutorials that might prove helpful. A sample of her designs:

I love the ones that combine a concave shape with a pop out image, like above.  Check out her Etsy shop if this more complex design appeals to you! And please, if you want to pin her work, do so from her site, not from my blog.


Font choices for book folding

Here are two sheets of the fonts I use most often when making book folding templates.  If you request one, please also pick a font (or two!) This will give you more control over the final template – and don’t forget I am always happy to TRY a font of your choice, not from the list.  It has to be free for me to acquire (or one I already own) and a link to it would be helpful. I can Google with the best of them, but a link saves me time.




Seeing them will give you a good idea of how many interruptions letters are likely to have, so if you are a novice at book folding, pick a simple, straight and upright font like Helvetica or Mondo Cane. If you are just branching out into scripty ones, Habano has to be my top choice. To be honest, I would avoid Brush Script.  Not sure why I have it as a possible, I am not sure I’ve ever sent a template out using it LOL! Some of them, like Grand Hotel, works better if I fatten it up, some work well only for very specific words. I test the names/words requested, and usually send a sheet with one from the scripty list and one from the plain list.  And if nothing works for me I branch out to my whole 5000+ font library….

There will be another post with more interesting content arriving soon.