Handmade Books That Will Surprise You - And a Sale to Boot

25 Jan 2013

You know the expression, "You can't tell a book by its cover." I think this is especially true of handmade books, because when you open them up, you never know what will (sometimes literally) unfold.

meander book by susie lafond
This meander book by Susie LaFond folds
up to one small square.

There are so many different ways to make a book: with stitched signatures, accordion folds, meander folds, and star shapes among the most popular book-making techniques. Whether the pages inside yield words, drawings, mini collages, stitching or a combination, handmade books are always unique and surprising.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

The meander book. This book arts form unfolds every which way, allowing you to tell a story that is unique nearly every time you open it. Each page can be its own mini collage that stands on its own, or they can relate. You have to pay careful attention to the layout as you make a book in the meander form, but it's a fun creative and intellectual puzzle to make and read.

The star shape. Here is one of the most stunning examples of a book that surprises when opened. Yet the star book form is surprisingly easy to make. At its simplest, it's just a series of rectangular pieces of cardstock folded in half and glued together. However, depending on the kind of paper you use, the embellishments, and how you decorate each page, the star book can become a piece of sculpture in book form.

chinese star handmade books by dea fischer
Chinese star book by Dea Fischer.
The accordion (or concertina) book. If you want to know how to make a book that's fast, easy, and impressive, this is the book form for you. Accordion-fold books can close up to a very small size, then stretch wide when you open them to reveal the goodies inside. The simplest way to make a book this way is to fold a length of paper (or, for fabric books, use a stiff fiber material like Lutradur® or Timtex®) in equal segments, and decorate each page.

Of course, there are as many ways to make handmade books as there are book artists. You can take the most basic book form and elaborate on it any way you like.

In the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop, we have a wide array of book-making resources for you, from Dea Fischer's video Handmade Book Essentials to the Bound and Beautiful: One-of-a-Kind Handmade Books ebook, and more. With these techniques and inspiration, it's easy to learn how to make a book unique to you.

Did you resolve to learn something new and surprising this year? Here's some incentive: 30-70% off on hundreds of mixed-media books, magazines, and videos now through January 29!

P.S. What's your favorite book shape and why? Leave your comment below.


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