Make a fold up pocket book!

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Here’s a versatile little structure for storing all the precious notions you want to remember of these strange times – make a fold up pocket book from a single sheet of paper.

This creative quarantine project has been created for Iona Primary School. It is designed using the minimum of materials, things you have to hand. I hope you’ll expand and develop what is a simple yet elegant form.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

You will need:

  • A sheet of A4 copy paper for practice (US letter paper)
  • A sheet of A4 heavy cartridge or watercolour paper for the real thing
  • A needle and thread OR washi tape
  • A bone folder
  • A selection of papers for the contents
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Begin by folding the sheet in half width-ways, and opening it out again. If you want to practice the folds, then try with a sheet of copy paper until you’re happy.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Then fold the sheet in half length-ways, and open out.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Fold the short ends in to meet the centre crease. Your page is neatly divided into eight!

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Measure three centimetres (one and a quarter inch) in from the long side.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

And fold the long side in.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Repeat on the other side, so you have two fold-ins, three centimetres deep, on either side – these are your pockets.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Get ready to cut! Snip along the centre crease to this point.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Mmm…looks a bit like a pair of trousers….

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Now begin folding. I want my pockets to be on the inside, so I’ve started by folding this way, pockets in.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Keep folding forwards and backwards, right up to the top.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Then bend around the corner…

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

…and keep folding, forwards and backwards, right down the other side.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

You’ll end up with this concertina, that has a curious fold in the middle. Don’t be alarmed, this is exactly right.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Now you can either seal up the pocket ends with a strip of washi tape, or use a needle and thread to secure each one with a single stitch.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Make a hole near the top of the pocket. Take your needle and thread through the hole.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Tie a double knot on the outside edge, and trim the ends.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Secure all the pockets in the same way.

Fold Up Pocket Book by Rachel Hazell of The Travelling Bookbinder

Now your fold up pocket book is ready to fill. Which bits of ephemera will you use?

Here are some ideas for the content of each pocket:

  • Write a miniature postcard to your future self. Design the stamp and the picture. And don’t forget to include your address.
  • Make a tiny concertina book with a very long sentence inside.
  • Write a wish and fold it up very small.
  • Put together a recipe, with ingredients…not necessarily to eat ie. A recipe for a perfect day.
  • A list of things to do. Things you want to do. Today, or one day…
  • An envelope containing homemade confetti for emergencies.
  • A paper-cut string of people. Using a strip of thin paper folded into a concertina, draw the shape of a person whose hands and feet go right to the edge of the fold. Carefully cut through the whole thickness and unfold the string of people holding hands.
  • Thank yous. Think of three good things about this time and make a note of them.

Finally, decide on the title of your book, and write, print or paint it on the front cover. Then put together some ‘blurb’ (what your book is about) for the back cover and you’re done – another artist’s book complete. Congratulations!

Photograph your Fold Up Pocket Book and share some images – we’d love to see what you’ve made – please tag #FoldUpPocketBook and post your pics at @PaperHazell on Instagram and PaperLove on Facebook.

A larger version of this structure can be found in Bound:15 Beautiful Bookbinding Projects by Rachel Hazell.

Have a good week!

9 thoughts on “Make a fold up pocket book!

  1. Thank you for this mini fold up book tutorial, Rachel!
    I really hope to get to see you one of these days,

    1. Dear Joni – Delighted that you’ve enjoyed this project and hope you’re keeping well! Oh yes, we are looking forward to the time when The Travelling Bookbinder can get back on the road….Best and bookiest, Rachel

    2. Rachel – I am so grateful for you ability to help me see my world differently everyday. I had made a larger pocket book following directions in Bound, but a smaller one…..Brilliant. I have made multiple of these now in various sizes as gifts for dear friends. The visual directions here are excellent by the way. Always appreciative, especially in this time of uncertainty and house boundness!!

      1. Dear Pat, Your warm words keep me going! Delighted to know that you’ve been making some of the projects in Bound…and enjoy the smaller version too – isn’t it amazing what a difference scale makes?! Thank you so much for your appreciation, it means a lot. Happy binding!

  2. Thanks, Rachel! I made one as a birthday card and put little slips of paper in each pocket with the link for a virtual experience: museum visit; gorilla live cam; video train ride. ( I also sent an email with the links so it would be easy to get to them without typing.)

    1. Dear Nancy, Oh what a wonderful idea for a virtual present – brilliant! Thank you for being a kind and thoughtful friend, and for sharing the love with us

  3. Hey Rachel, I think I wil put different kinds of flower seeds in little glassine envelopes in every pocket and give it away as a present!

  4. Thank you Rachel for sharing the making of this delightful little book. I shall be making at least one. 😉 Hope you are keeping well.
    Cheers, Kaye

    1. Dear Kaye, Glad to have inspired you! Hope you’ve made AT LEAST one Fold Up Pocket Book! Bests and thanks, Rachel

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