How to make folded paper book sculptures

No single page of instruction could teach anyone all there is to know about the vast array of techniques involved in folded paper book sculpture, according to book upcycler Jason Thompson. New book sculpture techniques are constantly being discovered by talented craftspeople such as Jacqueline Rush Lee and Guy Laramee. If you're interested in book sculpture, you should aim to discover your own new techniques, not just copy the work of others. However, recreating a couple of simple projects is a good way to get started in this fascinating world of artistic possibilities.


Choose a book that is about twice as tall as it is wide to obtain the correct proportions for the accordion. Open the book at the last page. Fold the last page in half along its length. Turn the folded page over against the back cover. Use glue to stick the “back” half of the page in place against the back cover.

Fold and turn the next-to-last page in the same way. This folded page will simply rest against the previous one. Proceed in like manner for all the pages except the first one.

Fold the first page in half along its length but add another fold along its length about a ruler’s width away from where it meets the cover. This will give an impression of a treble reed block that sits adjacent to the keyboard on an accordion. Apply glue to the section of page remaining after the second fold. Glue it to the neighbouring page.

Glue felt circles to the inside of the back cover to replicate the bass buttons. Using a black felt pen and ruler, draw the white keys on the inside of the front cover to replicate the keyboard. Stick black felt rectangles in place for the black keys.

Glue a black cloth strip to the back cover to replicate the accordion strap.

Flower head

Choose a book that is roughly square. Apply plenty of glue to the front of the front cover. Bend both covers back so they touch and press them together. Hold them in place with clothes pegs. Leave to dry.

Remove the clothes pegs but leave them nearby to be used again. Manoeuvre the back page backwards so it forms an unfolded curve, with the edge of the paper touching the fold line between the cover and the pages. Glue the edge in place then attach clothes pegs to hold it while it dries.

Continue in like manner with the remaining pages. Leave to dry. Remove the clothes pegs and stand your book upright. When you look down on it, you will see a flower head form.

Things You'll Need

  • Books
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Black felt circles
  • Black felt pen
  • Black felt rectangles
  • Black cloth strip
  • Clothes pegs
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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.