Origami Book Art: Turn an Old Novel into a Thoughtful Gift

book origami
Image Source: Robin Clement

When my fiancé and I were separated by 2,000 miles and the holidays rolled around, we decided to only give each other a handmade gift. It was a way to save money for my big move and show how much we care for one another (you know, all that ooey gooey romantic stuff).

We had just come back from a Costa Rican vacation where we read a book about Caribbean pirates. I was thinking about how much fun we had and then it struck me — I could use this novel to create book origami, in the shape of a heart. Not only was this cheap (costing $0) and sweet, it was also easy (just folding the pages to make the pattern) and fast (30 minutes to be exact).

I’ll admit, it’s a little girly. Which is why when I started thinking of homemade Mother’s Day gifts for my mom, this one immediately clicked. Moms of all ages would love this heartfelt present, using a book that’s near and dear to her!

The simple steps follow. You can find all sorts of complicated tutorials — like creating a template on your computer — but in the time you spend trying to figure it out, you can make this beauty. Feel free to get creative with different shapes and letters, but just note that they will be more difficult so leave extra time.


  • book
  • pencil


Step 1: Pick out a befitting hardcover book that has quite a few pages. Mine has about 300. While holding the book closed, draw a heart, with your pencil, on the for-edge (aka vertical edge). Try to make a dark line without putting too much pressure on the pages. Also be sure to mark all of the pages, as this will be your guide. Once done, if you don’t like the heart, no biggie, just erase and redraw the heart.

Note: I used a book with pages of various widths, which made it harder to draw the heart. It’s doable but if you can, use one with more even pages.

Step 2: Starting from the front, fold each page at the pencil mark. There will be two per page — towards the top and bottom. Fold until you get to the end of the book.

Step 3: Once you’ve finished, take a look at the heart shape. If it needs tweaking, go back and change a fold here or there. I had to do this a few times to make sure it was (almost) perfect. Now you’re done, and ready to gift the lovely origami to your mom, or other loved one!

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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