Earlier this year I spent some time playing with little pieces of paper. Inspired by the work of Tomoko Fuse, I came up with a variation of a paper quilt fold that permitted the construction of an accordion book.
With a little tweaking the same structure can be used to make a square book cover.
The picture below shows the two cover units (light green) and the hinge (dark green).
I used a square accordion book for my model, but a square codex would work too. The folded paper must be the size of the book, or a little larger to allow for overhang. The diagram below shows the proportions: the black square shows the size of the book, the larger green square shows the size of the cover paper before folding.
After cutting two covers, fold the four corners of each sheet in to the centre. They should be just shy of the pink dotted lines shown below to allow a little ease for adding the hinge and locking unit.
The next two diagrams show the relationship between the cover units and the hinge. The green diagonal lines in the upper square show the edges of the folded-in corners. The dotted green lines in the hinge unit —the lower rectangle— indicate crease lines. The rectangular hinge is the width of the cover plus the width of the book spine plus enough ease to permit the book to close easily.
The four corners of the hinge unit are folded in, making pockets that will slip over the folded-in point on the spine side of each cover unit. (If you would like to keep a record of making this book, the two diagrams above can be downloaded here. The page has lots of white space for any notes you might want to make.)
In my test model, an accordion book made of fairly heavy paper, I cut a point on the front and back pages. If you are making a cover for a book with lighter text paper, cut the front and back pages in half vertically, then fold in the corners the same way you did for the hinge unit.
To assemble the covers and hinge, lay the cover underneath the point at the front of the book. If you have a folded point rather than a cut one, slip it over the spine-side triangle on the cover unit.
Slip one end of the hinge unit over the point.
Turn your book over and repeat the assembly process for the back cover.
The next step is to make a lock that holds everything in place. The locking mechanism is created by interlocking two pieces of paper.
The rectangles for the locking unit are twice as wide as tall. You can make the lock any size you want, even the full size of the cover, but I recommend that the lock be at least half the height of the cover. You need to make two locks, one for the front and one for the back, so you should cut four rectangles. Fold the ends of each rectangle in to the middle. The ends should not butt. There should be a small space between them, a little more than the thickness of the paper you are using. Slide the ends of one piece into the spaces in a second piece, then repeat with the other two rectangles.
All four sides of each square locking unit have a space. Insert the four points of the cover into the four spaces. The point at the spine side of the cover will be the stiffest because it has multiple layers, so start with that one.
Your finished book should look something like this.
With a few adjustments, this style of cover could be used for rectangular books.
Karen Hanmer uses a version of the locking unit to create covers for flag books. Hers includes book board for stiffness. but that isn’t necessary for the cover I have shown. If you would like to read Karen’s full article, you can download her article —excerpted from The Bone Folder— here.
Tomorrow will feature the last instructional post for Advent: a self-closing cover inspired by my experimentation with the structure of the Zhen Xian Bao/Chinese Thread Book.