Delays… and the Help of a Page Folding Jig

Superstition Prototype.
Superstition prototype.

My anxiety has been rising over my two Book Art Object Edition 4¬†contributions. They should have been finished long ago. Every time I start making progress, something happens to slow everything down. Let’s just say, in terms of productivity, a couple of weeks of dizziness and vertigo, capped off by an ER visit for something else, isn’t the most efficient way to go. (The ER was two days ago, and, I’m happy to say, what prompted that is now back under control.)

Alas. Books do not get made when the maker is in bed.

However, I have managed to carve out a little studio time here and there. I’ve finished prototypes for both of my editions. Here is the first one, a board book called¬†Superstition. It will be an edition of 13.

The first page spread is a foldout. The secret to these is that they do not get folded straight down the middle and across for both top and bottom portions. There won’t be enough room for the thickness of the paper and the page won’t fold together neatly if you don’t allow a bit of an offset. It’s easier to show a diagram than for my inarticulate brain to attempt an explanation. This is from a commercial book with a similar style page that folds out:

Foldout Diagram

In diagram form, it looks like this:

Foldout Diagram

For 13 books, it’s impractical to measure and fold each one without some kind of jig. But how to easily construct a jig with so many fussy score lines? There are different ways to do this, but the solution I like is to use a piece of Mylar. I marked the one large and one tiny cut lines and the three fold lines, then carefully cut or scored and folded them, just as I would for the finished page. The transparent material makes it easy to line it up correctly with the paper underneath.

Mylar Jig

As I score each section, I fold the Mylar down to reveal the next appropriate edge to score against.

Mylar Jig, First Score

Scoring against jig

I save the lines to be cut, rather than folded, for last. I carefully mark the end of each with a pin prick, and use a real straight edge for that. This works very well.

The platform/object you see me folding on is a corner jig a friend made for me. I have a small cutting mat that fits perfectly on top of it, if needed.

Corner Jig with Mat

However–at least with this mildly awkward foldout page–I’ve been experimenting with using my light box for the actual assembly (the part where it gets glued to the boards underneath).

Assembling page on lightbox

And now… to finish putting together the 13 books…!

16 thoughts on “Delays… and the Help of a Page Folding Jig”

  1. Being a superstitious soul I am not going to wish you luck. Instead, in theatrical speak I am going to say ‘break a leg’.

    It is time that things started working out for you. Past time.

  2. Based on everything of yours I’ve seen, these are bound (hey, did I just make a pun? Soooo clever) to be fabulous.

    Sorry to hear about your recent health problems. Here’s to feeling good and success in finishing the 13 books!!

  3. An edition of 13? Hahaha! I love that!
    Thank you for the explanation of that cut/fold. I’ll have to revisit this when my head has some space for it.

    • I’m glad you find the explanation useful. I hope it makes sense. My head did not have much space for anything while I was trying to explain it. And, yeah… 13. How could I not? At this point, though, I’ll be very relieved just to have the first 10 done! Good luck with yours as well!

  4. Great post Ellen, I’ve never done foldouts like that and wouldn’t have known how to do them. Thanks for the demo.

  5. I am so glad you are feeling better, Ellen :) My BAO books are way past due, too, and I think they will be past due longer than yours! Thanks for the fold out explanation.

  6. I am sorry to hear that you had such a bad time. Impressive that you still found the time and peace of mind to work – and blog about it.
    The prototype of superstition looks great. I like the mirror on the front cover (especially knowing there will be a broken mirror inside on some page).
    Phoo, an edition of 13 (haha! laughing with Dinah, shuddering remembering my last edition). From what I have seen here, you spend a good deal of time and though on how do streamline the process so it will hopefully be done quickly.

    And thanks for explaining the foldout. I wouldn’t have thought about folding off the center line, though reading about it, it makes sense.

    • Thanks Hilke! I originally thought I’d do 15, but then it occurred to me that (a) I couldn’t stand the thought of making that many (and, yes, your experience does come to mind!) and (b) an edition of 13 would be so much more appropriate.

      The fold thing is kind of interesting. I’d known that graphic designers allow an offset for inner folds, but I don’t think it ever really had sunk in when I was working on my own things. But when I started to look at the folds in commercial books more analytically, it finally made sense.

  7. I don’t know how you keep going Ellen or even contemplate making anything so complex. I have had a cold/flu all week and am fit for nothing. Even looking at the computer screen makes my eyes go funny and my brain feel muzzy.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and thanks for the detailed explanation and great photos of your process. All the best, Angela.

    • Hi Angela! Lovely to hear from you. At the moment, I’m not feeling too productive… urgh. Although I’m also busy putting stuff together for a workshop soon (post to come).

      I do hope that viral plague you’ve had is on the way out? UGH.


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