Making A Zhen Xian Bao/Chinese Thread Book: Postscript —The Hedi Kyle Belt Fold and the Byopia Press Belt Fold

The Hedi Kyle Belt Fold has been used by a number of people as the closure for their Chinese Thread Books. Here’s one by Elissa Campbell.

(You can read more about Elissa’s versions here.) The belt closure is suitable for other applications as well, from scroll books to birthday presents.

The instruction page (images only) can be found in Hedi Kyle’s handout for her 2005 presentation on preservation enclosures to the Guild of Bookworkers. You can download a copy here. The instructions are on page 14. Apparently I am not the only one who found the instructions confusing the first time through. Elissa commented on her blog:

The belt was not easy to make. Erin had belts in various states of completion so we could see each step as we worked. Everyone was crowded around the table, folding and cursing under their breath (okay, that was just me).

To make things simpler for anyone who wants to try this, I have put together a pdf with Hedi Kyle’s images followed by a page of my written instructions. You can download it here. Please note: Elissa’s version, learned from Erin Sweeney, has the long end of the belt tucked through the bottom opening of the ‘buckle’. It is my interpretation of the photo instructions that Hedi Kyle intended that the long end be inserted under the two triangles and I have written the instructions accordingly. It works either way!

After folding the Hedi Kyle belt, I played with some strips of paper and came up with a version which uses less paper (and is therefor less bulky) and which I think is easier to fold. Below are the instructions for the Byopia Press Belt Fold. You will need a strip of paper about 11 times longer than it is wide. I used a strip about 4.5 cm (a little over 1.75″) x 50 (19.75″) cut from Canson Mi-Teintes. A little surface texture on the paper helps the belt to stay closed.

Step 1:

Fold left end of paper over to make a square. The width and height of the folded area are the same, so my square was 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm. Using the right hand edge of the folded section (indicated by yellow pointy finger) as a guide, score a line on the lower part of the strip.

Step 2:

Fold the left end to the right along the score line. Flip the strip horizontally. The long end should be at the left side and the folded section should be underneath the strip.

Step 3:

Fold left end down. Make sure your strip is centred and that the edges are parallel with the edges of the square. Flip horizontally so that the square is on top.

Step 4:

Score along lower edge of the square (indicated by yellow pointy finger) and fold back and forth a couple of times. Put tip of long end through opening at the bottom of the square between the first and second layers. Pull all the way through and tighten. The belt will look much the same, but the long end will be shorter and above the square and the ‘buckle’ section will be locked in place.

Step 5:

To close belt, bring long end under and put the end through the space under the top square. The opening is indicated by yet another yellow pointy finger.

Here are the two belts shown together. They are fitted on a tube with a circumference of 29 cm (about 11.5″).

The Hedi Kyle version used about 10 cm (4 inches) more paper. The extra paper (and accompanying bulk) may not be a problem in many situations, but there may be times when my smaller, thinner version would be a better solution. Do try them both!

In other book arts news:

You might want to check out Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder’s podcast series, Books in the Wild, begun in February this year. You can listen to the audio here, or read transcripts of episodes here.

One final (?) note on the Chinese Thread Book: Melinda Collins Knick sent me pictures of the version she made.

I think Melinda’s use of old sewing patterns (reinforced) for the pockets is brilliant!





About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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4 Responses to Making A Zhen Xian Bao/Chinese Thread Book: Postscript —The Hedi Kyle Belt Fold and the Byopia Press Belt Fold

  1. Hi Cathryn, This sounds like one could use Hedi Kyle’s Belt Fold for any book that needs to be kept closed. Thanks.


  2. Alba Scarpellino says:

    Sono bellissimi…molto interessanti..!!! Potrei sapere come si rinforza la carta da modello…? Grazie.


    • Byopia Press says:

      The paper is not strengthened. It is a durable cotton rag paper which is quite strong on its own. If you are concerned about strength, you could use something like Tyvek for the band.
      La carta non è rinforzata. È una carta di stracci di cotone resistente che è abbastanza forte da sola. Se sei preoccupato per la forza, potresti usare qualcosa come Tyvek per la band.
      ; ]


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