Wednesday 9 March 2016

Crafting Corner: Book Folding Art inspired by Pierce Brown's Red Rising Trilogy

I'm a bit of a random crafter, I love trying different things and I tend to jump from one completely random activity to the next (something you've probably already noticed if you've seen any of my other Crafting Corner posts!) so you really never know what I'm going to discover next and hopefully I'll get to introduce you guys to something fun along the way :o)

Anyway, Book Folding is something I've been wanting to try for a long time now. I managed something very quick and easy when I created my Book Tree at Christmas (read all about that here) but I've been wanting to try one of the more complicated designs for months. I was planning on buying a pattern to try (you can find lots to choose from if you search for Book Folding on Etsy), especially for my first attempt but the other day I just got this idea into my head and I couldn't shift it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a HUGE fan of Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy and I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to meet him when he was over for his UK tour to celebrate the release of Morning Star. I got my hardbacks for the entire trilogy signed and they're now in pride of place on my favourites shelf but I still had a paperback copy of Red Rising sitting around and I figured it would be the perfect book to use for my first book folding project. As soon as I decided to create something related to this series I knew what image I wanted to use:

The House Mars Crest from the Red Rising trilogy

I've actually been thinking of getting this image as a tattoo so it seemed like the obvious place to start. To be honest if I'd had any clue how complicated this design would be to fold I'd probably never have started but I'm thrilled with the results so I'm glad I gave it a go :o) I'm not even going to talk about creating the pattern here, I'll just tell you it took me the best part of a day and there was a lot of swearing involved - it definitely wasn't an easy task LOL. Once you have the pattern it's time to get started on actually making your folded book art though and that's the fun part!

First let's look at the things you'll need:

What you need to get started

Obviously most importantly is a book, it doesn't have to be a new book (as long as the pages aren't loose and likely to fall out) and a hardback is probably better because it gives you a more solid frame for your image but I'm using a paperback because it's a book I had spare. The main thing to bear in mind is that the book needs to have enough pages for your design (if you buy a pattern it should tell you how many pages you need and of course creating your own design you can work it to the book you want to use like I did) and is also the right height (some images require a taller book than others). You'll also need your pattern, a pencil, ruler and a sharp knife (not pictured).

The first thing you'll need to do is score the top and bottom of the book using a sharp knife about 1.5 inches from the edge of the binding. You'll be folding every page to these lines so you need to leave enough of an indent to make it easy to see where the mark is. You could mark this line with a pencil if you prefer but I found scoring made the folding process a lot easier. Don't forget to do both the top and the bottom of the book, you can choose to make the mark at a different point but you want the top and bottom marked at the same place.

Scoring the edges

Now it's time to start marking your pages, I think some of the patterns you can buy skip this step and instead give you a template to fold to but I've not tried that way so I'm talking about what I did here. I had a list of measurements for each page, the space between the two marks will be the front part of the design and you'll be folding away the space on the left and right of those marks to get a 3D effect but we'll get to that in a minute. I found it easier to go through the entire book and mark all of the pages before starting to fold the design. It takes a long time to do but it's the kind of mindless task you can do when watching TV or listening to an audio book so it's not all bad.

Marking the pages

Once you've completed the marks it's time to start folding, this is also quite a big task (it took me around 4-5 hours to mark and fold the pages for this design!) and it takes a LONG time before you can actually see your design start to take shape. For quite a while I was convinced that my attempt was going to be a complete fail but you just have to stick with it and trust that the pattern is correct and it'll be worth it in the long run!

I started at the back of the book and worked my way forwards but there's no right or wrong way to do it so go with whatever works best for you. As you can see from the picture above you're folding from the first pencil mark on each page to the scoring mark on the top of the book (that mark about 1.5 inches from the top) which will always be the back edge of the design. Then you're folding from the second pencil mark to the scoring mark at the bottom of the book. The angles of your folds will be different for each page but the edges are ALWAYS those top and bottom scored marks.

The folding process may take a long time but it's fun to gradually see your image come to life and it's incredibly satisfying to make those last few folds, especially when you end up with a piece of art like this:

Finally Finished!

Close up of the design

My finished piece along with the rest of the trilogy

So, this may have ended up being a lot more work than I expected but I'm absolutely thrilled with the results! Even if you're not familiar with the House Mars Crest I think the wolf looks great and it's going to have pride of place on my shelves.

What do you think? Have you ever tried book folding before? If you have please link me to your pictures because I'd love to see them! I've already got a couple of ideas about what book folding projects I'm going to do next (I'm working on an Harry Potter idea and a design for the Midnight Breed series) but if there are any other book related things you'd like to see let me know and I'll see what I can do.

I've actually had a couple of people ask about whether I'd consider selling either finished projects or the patterns on Etsy and it's something I'm going to look into but I'd love to know if you'd be interested in making a purchase so I can decide whether it's worth doing.

Update February 2018:

Last week I got the chance to meet Pierce Brown when he was in London for the Iron Gold release tour. I couldn't resist making another of my Howler book folds as a gift for him & I think he quite liked it :o)

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