Bonus Info: Boustrophedon Books


I think my Saturday workshop went all right. I think, at least, that everyone survived the origami book project, which I know was a challenge to do right off the bat, although I hope it was a fun one. I kind of think my students might even make more folded books in the future, which is good because they’re excellent practice for paying attention to details and alignment and the ways different parts of books fit together (I’ll post the promised video link soon). There are definitely all kinds of options to try way beyond the introductory stuff we did in the first hour.

To follow up on the copier paper books, I’m working on diagrams and handouts to make everything a little clearer, although it seemed like everyone picked up on all the essentials really quick. Everything we made, simple as some of it might have seemed, was an important stepping-stone on the path to learning about the anatomy of more complicated projects. Plus the one sheet books are kind of cool in their own right. I think of them as portable playgrounds for doodling or taking notes, as little traps that catch whatever stray thoughts might be swimming around on any given day. And, besides, I just like how we can take nearly any old random flat sheet and make something three-dimensional and even a little surprising out of it with just a few basic techniques.

Thanks as always to Falcon Art Supply for providing us space for our class. It’s a huge and awesome thing to have this wonderful store just down the street and teaching there was an excellent experience all around. It was great to meet everyone and especially fun to spend a Saturday making stuff with other humans instead of what I’m usually doing, which is constantly procrastinating about mowing in a less productive way (like, Googling Star Trek trivia, for example). I’m looking at my schedule this week to see when we can do another class (most of my weekdays are spent looking for a job of some sort). In any case, it should, I hope, happen in the next couple of months and will almost certainly cover a bunch of different varieties of stab binding.


To make a basic boustrophedon, start with a square sheet of text paper. The sheet width and height are both 4X multiples of 1 page. For this version, make 3 horizontal mountain folds and then 1 vertical mountain and 2 vertical valleys. Then make 3 horizontal cuts 3/4 of the way across the sheet. Two cuts come in from the left, one comes in from the right.


Note that the way the content is arranged is a little counterintuitive. Because of how this structure is cut and folded, the imposition needs to follow a back-and-forth, up-and-down pattern for everything to line up properly in the finished book.


Note also that this structure has two sides. All of the folds can be reversed to reveal hidden or contradictory content. One boustrophedon can hold two books, in other words.


After you’ve folded the sheet 6 times and made the 3 cuts, it should then be fairly easy to fold the boustrophedon into its final form. Which can go in a custom box for protection. Or you can glue the backs of the pages together and then glue on a cover made of some slightly thicker material. Or, who knows…just experiment with it, basically.


Okay, so, back to the diagrams for the reversible whatchamacallit and for the tetra-tetra-flexagon. I’ll post them in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, here are the PDFs for the boustrophedon (which I misspell every single time). Print them out at “actual size,” if possible; otherwise, the fold and cut lines will be a little off. They’re probably not 100% perfect as it is, but they should be pretty close.

Template 1: Boustrophedon (numbered)

Template 2: Boustrophedon (blank)

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