Clamshell : Folded Book Art

Clamshell : Folded Book Art

This book sculpture is called Clamshell because it looks like the giant clams found in the coral reefs of the South Pacific. Giant clams ( Tridacna gigas) can weigh over 400 pounds and live over 100 years. Luckily, this clamshell book sculpture is not quite as heavy and it doesn’t need 100 years to make.

To be able to complete this book sculpture, you should be able to do the Zigzag design. Indeed, you can think of this project as two zigzags one on top of the other. Zigzags are described with peaks, troughs, and “sections” (distance from peak to trough). See here for details.

Let’s assume that you have over 150 pages in your book and we allot 10 pages per “section”. Because we are making two zigzags, you will need 20 pages for one “section”. Ten of the pages (odd-numbered pages) will be used to make the lower zigzag, and the other 10 pages (even-numbered pages) will be used to make the upper zigzag. The two zigzags are offset by just a single page so they will appear as if they are stacked one on top of the other. The diagram below shows which the pages will be folded to make the double zigzags.

folded book

folded book

folded book

You can add more pages per section to make each section more wide with a less-steep slope. If you have too many pages, you can always remove a few extra pages to get an evenly divisible number of pages.

Take a deep breath and let’s dive into the project.

Book Sculpture: Clamshell

folded book

Step 1:

Take a book and remove the front and back cover but leave the pages bound together. Without ripping off the pages, remove small bits of binding glue that may still be adhering to the spine of the book.

folded book

Step 2:

Page 1: Fold down the top-corner of the page so the top edge of the paper touches the spine of the book.
Fold up the bottom-corner of the page so the edges meet.

folded book

Step 3:

Notice the pointy part of the paper (red arrow). This represents the trough of the lower zigzag as shown on the diagram above. 1).
Turn the page.

folded book

Step 4:

Page 2: Fold down the top-corner of the page. At the same time, fold up the bottom-corner of the page. Allow the two edges to meet in the middle. Press down to establish creases.

folded book

Step 5:

Notice the pointy part of the paper (green arrow). This is the trough of the upper zigzag in the diagram above.

folded book

Step 6:

Count off pages until you get to the next section. In this example, it would be page 21.

folded book

Step 7:

Page 21: Fold down the top-corner and fold up the bottom-corner so they meet in the middle. Press down to establish the creases.

folded book

Step 8:

Notice the pointy part of the paper (pink arrow). This is the peak of the lower zigzag.
Turn the page.

folded book

Step 9:

Page 22: Fold up the bottom-corner of the page so the bottom edge meets the spine of the book.

Fold down the top-right corner of the page so the edges meet. The lime green arrow shows the peak of the upper zigzag.

folded book

folded book

Your goal is to fold the pages in between so the pointy part of the paper ascends from the red arrow to the pink arrow; and from the green arrow to the lime arrow. The odd-numbered pages will be for the lower zigzag and the even-numbered pages will be for the upper zigzag.

folded book

Step 10:

Turn back to page 1. Use your fingernail to make a small notch (gray arrow) a few millimeters above the trough of the lower zigzag.

folded book

folded book

Step 11:

turn to page 3 and fold down the top-right corner of the paper so the crease meets the notch made above. Fold up the bottom-right corner as shown. Result is shown on the right panel.

folded book

Step 12:

Turn back to page 1. Again, use your fingernail to make a notch a few millimeters above (gray arrow) the trough of the upper zigzag.

folded book

folded book

Step 13:

Turn to page 4 and fold the top and bottom corners so they meet at the notch. Result is shown on the right panel. Continue in this manner until all the pages in the section have been folded.

folded book

This is how it looks like when you have completed one section of the Clamshell book sculpture.

The next step will be to fold the pages so the pointy part of the paper descends to the next trough which would be on pages 41 & 42.

folded book

Side view of the Clamshell after a few iterations of trough –> peak.

folded book

These sculptures can be stacked on top of one another to give fabulous towers.
Zigzag is on top.
Ruff Collar is in the middle.
Clamshell is at the bottom.

Buy Personalized Book Sculptures

folded book art folded book art folded book art

Book sculptures or altered books are often created by modifying the pages of a book while the pages are still bound together. You can cut, fold, paint, and do all sorts of interesting things with the paper to create beautiful structures. The book sculptures on this web site are made by folding only.