how to fold a book into a state diy

There are moments in life when you realize that even the ordinary….

….can become extraordinary.

(total aside:  I know you might not have had a cup of coffee yet….but I wanted you to know we are going all profound this morning)


Like this simple Kentucky law book.

Out-of-date.  Destined for the trash.  Overlooked.  Under appreciated.  Forlorn.

Okay….you get the picture.

But with a little paper folding, this book becomes something that looks more like this.

folding a book into a state

It’s the state of Kentucky.

I know….right?

Isn’t it amazing?  The weekend before last my sister taught a class on how to make these and how to book fold and how to transform an old, out-of-date book into something wonderful.

I folded this book into Kentucky, but you can make other states or words or monograms or hearts or arrows or….or…..or…..or the possibilities are endless.

And it’s easy.  Time-consuming, yes.  But really easy.  If you can fold a piece of paper….you can make this book.

And the best part?  My sister of previous book folding fame wrote up directions for all of us.

Here’s how to make your own.

fold a book into a state

How to Make a Folded Book Sculpture

Tools needed:

Vintage book


Ruler (optional)




1. Pick your book.

You probably want one that is at least 400 pages, unless you have a more

intricate design. In which case, then you’d want one that is more than that.

how to fold a book

2. Choose what you’d like to add to a book

Print out the font/photo on an 8 ½ x 11 size sheet of paper. You’ll want it to match the size of the book, and make sure that you’ve got margins of about an inch/ inch and a half from the bottom and top of your book.

This will allow you ample folding room.

book folding diy

3. Create a pattern

You can do this on the computer, or on your own with a little patience. You’ll want to add lines/stripes to your design as folding guides. I like to use Illustrator or Photoshop to do this, but you could mark it out with a ruler and a pen. Remember that a page of a book is really two pages (front and back), so if there are 400 pages in the book, there’s only 200 available folds. Each fold needs a stripe, so you’ll need at least two different colors of contrasting stripes (use highlighters).

book folding project


If you want to have additional pages before and after the folded sculpture, make sure and account for those. So for a 400 page book, I’d want a pattern that had about 150 folds (or 150 stripes) in it, so that I could have 25 pages at the front and 25 at the back. If I wanted a fold for every page, I’d need it to be 200 folds (or 200 stripes)

diy fold a book into a state

4. Start folding

Okay, you’ve got your pattern, you’ve got your book. How do you start?

First fold the top of your pattern sheet down so that you’ll have a guide for the top of your page. This will ensure that your folded section is even across the top.

5. Make a folding mark.

Take a pencil and with your book closed, make a mark across all the pages about

halfway between the spine of the book and the edge of the book. Do the same on the bottom

of the page. These will be your folding guides.

book folding simple diy

6. Fold the first page.

Next, tuck the pattern underneath the first page you want to start folding, and line up your top

guide with the top of your book. You’ll want to make sure the first stripe of your pattern is

parallel with the outside edge of the book.

7. Mark the stripe after you have folded that page.

To make the first fold, you’ll take the top right hand corner of the page and fold it towards the

middle to make a triangle. The angles of the triangle will be determined by the two guides you

have – the mark you made at the top of the book as one corner, and the top of the first stripe as

the second.

8. Press and fold.

book folding

9. Keep folding.

Now take the bottom right corner of that same page and repeat the process using the bottom of the first stripe as a guide and the bottom mark you made.

10. Make another hash mark.

Make a hash mark on your pattern to indicate that you have completed that stripe.  Then push the pattern in towards the second of the book so that the second line is parallel with the

edge of the book. Repeat the process.

11.  Keep folding until you have folded all the lines on the outline.

12.  Tell yourself you are brilliant when you’re finished.


PS  Here’s a couple of project notes:

1.  Turn on a television marathon.  This project took me about 3 hours from start to finish.

2.  At first you will be convinced that your book will never look like what you planned.

Trust me.

At first it looks like a bunch of folded papers and then about half way through it all starts to look like something amazing.

3.  If this is all a little overwhelming and your eyes are glazing over.

No worries.  I completely understand.

My sister listed a few of these books in her  ETSY shop…

And she takes custom orders.

Now that is truly amazing. 🙂


  1. Image for Mary Mary

    This goes down as my favorite project ever! It combines two of my favorite things... michigan and books! Thank you so much for sharing. I can't wait to do this!

  2. Image for Jere Jere

    After patiently trying to see Kentucky in your fold, I thought I'll do my home state of Texas. Then reality set in. Texas is the 2nd largest state....big big book....many many folds....long long time...old old me. I'll just print out Kentucky Book and enjoy..I like Kentucky. Jere

  3. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    Whaat? I think you must have needed to be there! Congrats to you and your creative siblings (don't you have a creative brother too?), but these are way too complicated for me.

  4. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Are you kidding me??? My lack of time as well as patience for this sort of thing.....priceless....$36.00 sounds cheap for one already made!

  5. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I am so impressed!! The first thing I thought of was to make the shape of Italy but then my saner self talked myself out of it :-( I do have patience -- I knit, sew crochet etc. but this seems way out of my league. So, I will fully appreciate your talent and well as your sister's. Great job!!!!

  6. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Amazing! But, no way. I don't think my brain can do that?! Glad your sis takes custom orders on these books. Oh, by-the-way, what about them Wildcats?!!! I bleed blue! C-A-T-S!!!

  7. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    I think I either need more pictures or a how to video...I dont understand...wah! I really want to try this. I have old books just begging to be used.

  8. Image for Jane Jane

    This is awesome!! My sister in law gifted me with two books and the instructions for making them into works of art. I'm going to pull them out next fall (they are Christmas themed) and see how I do. Kudos to your sister. Does she have a blog? Jane

  9. Image for Linda Linda

    your family is just too talented for words. that being said, I got lost when you said to make the mark between the spine and something...I must not be too bright. this would be fun to do however..... Linda xoxo

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