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Tutorial // Make a Book from a Single Sheet of Paper

May 3, 2020 by Erin Fletcher

In this video for North Bennet Street School, I follow along as Colin Urbina shares how to fold a single sheet of paper into a folded book with 8 pages. Even though this video is geared towards kids, this technique is great for any age group. You can find more online content created for NBSS here.

If you are looking for even more instructional content, I have a growing list of tutorials and I also teach live workshops in-person and online. Check out my list of Upcoming Workshops.

– One 8.5×11″ sheet of paper
– Scissors
– Pencil
– Coloring and decorating supplies (markers, colored pencils, or crayons)

This style of folding is rooted in traditional book layouts and printing, where a single printed sheet could be folded into eight equal sections and then cut at the head edge to create a gathering of 16 pages. This process is described with the Latin word octavo, which means “in eighth” or “for the eighth time”. The final pages of the book would represent one eighth of the original sheet of paper (or roughly the size of the original sheet if the pages were trimmed down after folding).

If you are looking for some great content for this type of structure, go to Quarantine Public Library. This free repository of finished works can be printed for free and assembled using the tutorial above. Katie Garth and Tracy Honn dreamed up this project in the early days of quarantine and by the generosity of the artists they collaborated with is making this library free for everyone. Any donations generated by this project will be given to EveryoneOn, a non-profit organization that connects low income families to computers and affordable internet. When the internet is our most important means of connection right, this organization is very important and necessary.

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  • My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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