Maybe you need a really special gift. Perhaps you want to show off, or treasure fond memories of handmade book arts fairs of yore. Maybe you just love the rasp of paper beneath your fingertips as you complete yet another gorgeous piece of codex art. There are lots of reasons that you might decide to make your own book, and it’s always a good idea. Even though handmade books can be stunning works of professional-grade art, all handmade books are inherently adorable. (Have you ever seen a homemade book that wasn’t gorgeous? Even loopy, half-assed ones are charming and quirky!) Here are a few free handmade book patterns that are sure to keep your hands busy and your shelves full.
This adorable design requires just one piece of paper. It’s ideal for very young kids who are either inclined toward the literary or just want to scribble on something for a while.
The big advantage of this type of book—aside from the fact that it’s almost entirely origami—is that its pages are pockets. They’re ideal for ephemera like concert tickets, genealogical treasures, or report cards.
The real joy of this design lies in customization! It’s an ideal gift for a young child or someone who just likes to touch interesting stuff.
Where most of these free handmade book patterns are for, well, books, think of this one as a tiny little house that you can close up and put in your pocket. Ideal for dioramas!
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There’s a certain kitsch to cereal and granola boxes. Leverage that into an absolutely precious handmade volume. Not only are the materials easy to find, but these books are easy to make, too.
Once you’ve mastered the cereal box, it’s time for some really fancy stuff! The design of this book’s spine stitching gives it some extra charm and verve.
There are a lot of great book designs that come from Japan. This is probably my favorite. The silky ribbon makes it an ideal gift for an important birthday, bridal shower, or anniversary.
Don’t worry if you’re not much of a sewer. There are book patterns out there for you, too! This one turns out looking great and will never unravel.
Armed with your trusty glue gun, you can make a book that will delight your kids for hours. Best of all, it’s quiet and can’t be used to bludgeon the cat. This is a great use for child-friendly scrap cloth.
Free handmade book patterns are the most fun when the materials are free, too. That’s why I advocate using paper bags to make coloring books and quirky party favors. To up the charm factor, use a bag with an interesting design or logo on it.
Sometimes you just need something simple and elegant. This fits the bill. Ideal for art students selling their comics at cons, poets leaving their work on subways for strangers, and political dissidents who happen to have too much twine on their hands.
A classic! Here’s how to make a book that looks essentially like a professionally bound book. Why does it look that way? Because this is pretty much how book binders do it!
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This is another cloth book for kids that I just love. The contents can be a story, more activities, or anything else you can imagine including in a volume.
This design comes from Make, the amazing DIY magazine that your library wants you to check out right now. You don’t need to borrow it to get this pattern, though!
Wallpaper is a great material for books, especially now that it’s apparently coming back into vogue. Use it to make hip books to go with your hip decor.