The addition of a new 7th period literacy-focused class to my schedule inspired this folded book project. Luckily I had freedom to interpret the meaning of “Literacy” for myself and design my own Art-based curriculum. For our first project, each student folded a 3 to 4 letter word, and then wrote a blog post to explain the artistic process and choices.


Drawing inspiration from artist Isaac Salazar, students brainstormed a list of inspiring words. Many also selected a word that related specifically to reading, books, or learning. We discussed how certain books (specifically encyclopedias) are now being replaced with tablets and online technology. What better way to recycle old obsolete books than to transform them into a new sculptural art form?


Our school librarian donated a two sets of old encyclopedias for our project that worked perfectly! It helps to have a sturdy hard cover and lots of pages for folding, and I’m happy that these discards won’t be added to Kauai’s growing landfill.

By Julia

22 thoughts on “Folded Book Scupture”
  1. How do you do this? and teach the student how to fold words? I am also a middle school teacher and love this project but I have no idea how to start this….

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I saw this idea and figured it out by watching several video tutorials. Try searching “Folded Book Art Using Photoshop.” The hardest part is creating a pattern that has the right number of lines and spacing to fit the books and words you are working with. I required that my students count before folding to make sure (and still some ran out of pages!). Even with good directions, you will need to adapt the steps to suit whatever computer software you are familiar with. It took me some time playing around with it before I figured out a method I could use with the kids. Good Luck!

  3. Great upcycling project!

    I love your site, your students do such awesome work and seem to work at a very high level! I will read this entire site before the summer is over.

    I am moving from teaching High School to middle school where I will be starting the art program, I am the only art teacher. I was wondering what classes you offer at your school and what you feel are most important, or what you would choose to start a program. I know this seems like a strange question but I just see such awesome work here and know I need a starting point. It seems here most schools just offer basic 7th and 8th grade art…I would love to push this program beyond that and into something similar to what you are doing.

    Thank you in advance, and thank you for all of the awesome ideas on your website, seriously, thank you for sharing what you do!

  4. Aloha Harmony,
    Thank you for such warm and positive feedback. As a former high school art teacher myself, I can tell you that teaching middle school students takes a special person and a lot of patience! However, it is rewarding because students of this age tend to be open and ready to rise to high expectations.
    Since you are the only Art teacher at your school, you will have a lot of freedom to design your curriculum. Yay! My school also has general course titles and outlines, but within that I am able to cover pretty much any art medium or process that I choose. I try to give my students a good variety, because it’s important for them to realize that the scope of art extends beyond traditional drawing and painting. With that in mind, I choose a different focus every quarter to complete a year-long course. Since I have repeating students, I change my curriculum and projects every year!
    If I were to pick a single starting point for a new program, it would be the development of a sketchbook. My students use their sketchbooks during every project for planning, practice, and taking notes.
    Hope that helps and good luck!

  5. This looks like an amazing project and I find it interesting because you are able to create words with recycled books. It would make a great decoration. I would like to do something like this but if its possible instead of making words we could make animals or creatures we like.

  6. How do you do this? I really wanna know how to fold paper into beautiful ARTWORK. <3 <3<3

  7. I absolutely love, love, LOVE the folded book sculpture! I would love to do it in class.

  8. I like this project because it looks fun to make, it’s a really cool looking project, and I like all of the detail. I would like to learn how to make a vase out of pottery.

  9. I like how the creativity of these projects literally pops out in your face, and how someone could really take time to carve out the designs. I hope I learn more about my life because I always heard people say “Art is a description of how the artist feels, or what ideas he/she might have”. So I’m really looking forward to this class, and I would like to give you a big thanks to you.

  10. I liked this project last year because it was really fun and it was a great way to start the year.

  11. I really like the concept of this project! I heard a lot about it from my friends in your 7th period last year and I think I’d really enjoy the folding. I’d also like it if we also had the option to do a simple symbol (a crescent moon or star).

  12. I like how they turned pages into words. My favorite one is the one that says ART. This year I would really like to learn how to turn pages into words and learn how to do origami.

  13. This looks really cool and I think it would be fun to make. This year I would like to learn how to do this because it is very intriguing.

  14. I really like this one because I think that all the students did a really good job. This year we should talk to the principal and get permission to paint the wall from the cafeteria to the Art room. All of Mrs. Sanderl’s classes should paint a picture and leave it on the wall.

  15. I really like how this project looks. It seems like it’s fun to do and it’s creative. This year in Art I really would like to learn how to make a folded book sculpture.

  16. I like how the words come from the book. I would like to learn more about folding words on a book this year.

  17. I think this project is cool because I want to try this at home to all my book. I also hope to learn to do this project because it look really fun to do and when i learn to do this project I would like to teach this to my little brother too.

  18. I picked this project because it looks pretty cool. I would like to try this and maybe teach my little brother how to do this.

  19. Hi, I am a brand new art teacher, and middle school at that! I am inspired by this folded paper/book project especially because I like to recycle, and my school has a lot of old books they are going to need to “recycle”. However, being new at this position, could you please give me more detailed directions on how the students folded each page in order to know how to create the desired word? How many pages are possibly needed per each letter, and how do they fold it to get the desired effect? Thank you so much for helping this new teacher become successful😀

  20. Hello, I just came across this wonderful display of art. I’m about 4 years too late but I wanted to congratulate all who participated in this. You all did a wonderful job and Julia, great job on opening up the students to a very unique art form. I had to teach myself how to construct the words thru trial and error and of course without the use of any tutorials and this medium has come along way since I first began. Continue to inspire!

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