Hourglass: Folded Book Art

Hourglass: Folded Book Art


I call this book sculpture “hourglass” because it has two distinct sections connected with a narrow neck. This shape cannot be achieved from all books: your book must have:
    – a height:width ratio greater than 1:1 and
    – a height:width ratio less than 2:1

Confused? Don’t worry, it just means that your book has to be not square (too stout) and not skinny (too narrow). A standard USA 8.5″ x 11″ page works and most magazines in USA will work too.

The book sculptures shown on this web site require folding only: no cutting, glueing; painting or other alterations. This type of artwork shows how folding alone can transform paper in a dramatic way.

The instructions are simple; you basically perform the same steps as in the spinning top design except you switch from top to bottom on alternate pages. This gives you two points (lobes) instead of the one point found in spinning top.

Better get started because the sands of time are ticking…

folded book sculpture

Book Sculpture Instructions for Hourglass

folded book sculpture

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. The book used here was a day-planner donated by Slingshot.

folded book sculpture

Step 2:

Fold down the top-corner of the page allowing the top-edge of the paper to jam up against the binding.

folded book sculpture

Step 3:

Fold up the bottom corner of the paper so it meets with the flap made above.

folded book sculpture

Step 4:

Turn the page.

folded book sculpture

Step 5:

Repeat steps 2 & 3 but from bottom to top. So,… fold the bottom corner up so the bottom-edge of the paper meets the spine of the book.

folded book sculpture

Step 6:

Fold down the top corner.

folded book sculpture

Step 7:

Turn the page.

folded book sculpture

Step 8:

Repeat steps 2 through 7 over and over again until you run out of pages or you run out of time.

folded book sculpture

This is how it looks when 4 pages are done.

folded book sculpture

Side view when all the pages are done.

folded book sculpture
Pretty!

folded book sculpture

Can you identify the hourglass in the fabulous towers below?

folded book sculpture
Second from top.
folded book sculpture
Third from top.
folded book sculpture
Bottom structure.

Buy Personalized Book Sculptures

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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.