More and more instruction in the book arts has been moved online because of Covid-19. For those of us who live far from major centres, this has been a real bonus. In April of this year the Minnesota Center for Book Arts posted a ‘make along’ video with instructions for producing a “Hidden Page” book.
You can find the twenty minute MCBA video here. To follow along, you will need to have ready the following materials and tools:
1x – 8½ x 11 in. sheet of paper cut in half lengthwise to 4 1/4x 11 in.
2x – 2 11/16 x 4 1/4 in. sheets of paper for hidden-page inserts
2x – 3 x 4 ½ in. sheets of paper 0r card stock (for covers, optional)
pencil, scissors, glue stick (for covers, optional), bone folder (or popsicle stick, table knife, or ruler), additional scrap paper for gluing
If you would rather see a very short set of step-by-step instructions designed for those who already know how to fold a piece of paper, I have created one.
You will need the materials described above. If you are starting with A4 paper, your sizes will be different.
1x – A4 sheet of paper cut in half lengthwise to 105 x 297 mm
2x – 74 x 105 mm sheets of paper for hidden-page inserts
2x – 75 x 106.5 mm sheets of paper or card stock (for optional covers)
Fold your long strip of paper in half, then fold the ends in to match the centre fold. This is the simplest accordion book there is. (We are ignoring paper grain for the model, but if you are making a ‘final’ version it is best to use paper that permits you to have the length of grain parallel to the folds.)
Open flat, then re-fold in the middle. With the folded edge at the right, cut slits through both layers from the visible central fold to the right hand edge. Your cuts can be parallel, or angled, or curved. You need at least two cuts.
Slide your pre-cut hidden-page inserts into place in the two central pages of your accordion book. Where the insert on the left is under the main paper, the insert on the right should be over.
If you have used a paper for your inserts that is different on its two sides, the hidden-page spread will be quite noticeable.
If you are gluing on covers, match one edge to the spine and allow the same amount of cover paper or card above and below the body of the book.
Since this structure is a form of Jacob’s Ladder, like the Magic Wallet, it can be used to perform a simple magic trick. Start with the book closed. Show your audience the book by opening it and turning the pages one at a time. They will see the central page spread —the pages with purple in my model. Close the book again, then open by pulling the covers directly away from one another to open the book flat. The central (purple) pages will have disappeared.
When I saw that MCBA was posting an instruction video for a hidden-page book, I thought it looked familiar. I went back to a post from Blue Roof Designs to try and track down credit for the original designer of the structure. Unfortunately Elissa Campbell can’t remember where she learned it. If you would like to make a hard-cover version, her instructions can be found here. She also made a video showing her version in operation.