How to Fold a Book From a Single Sheet of Paper

In this post I’m sharing a quick video showing how to make a book out of a single sheet of paper — no other supplies necessary. Warning: these books are so addicting to make!

(Watch it here on YouTube in HD.)

Step by step:

  • Most any paper will work for these little books. I’ve used watercolor paper (both 90# and 140#, I think 300# might be too thick but I haven’t tried it yet), Bristol paper, cardstock, etc. I’d suggest practicing with copy paper/printer paper.
  • Start by folding your paper in half, I like to fold the longer side first.
  • Fold the ends towards the middle — this is key so that your paper has some “give” in it, especially thicker paper. You can vary the size of your book pages by the number of folds that you make on the longest side.
  • Then fold your paper in half the other way.
  • Tear or cut your paper down the middle longways, stopping at the last crease — otherwise you’ll end up tearing your book in two. 🙂
  • Fold your book, starting with the first page and working your way around.
Color chart, top down view
The palette — this is so handy to have!
Color chart, 140# Fabriano cold press watercolor paper
Hiking big bend, 90# Arches cold press
Acorns of the neighborhood, done on my walks
Canson 140# watercolor paper book

More tips:

  • A hair tie works great for keeping your book closed. I’m always on the lookout for cool hair ties!
  • You might want to use a bone folder or the back of a spoon to get a really good crease when working with heavier papers.
  • These books are great to take hiking!

I’d love to see your books — share them in the comments below. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.


Nov. 13 + 17: Nature Sketching Presentation / Field Trip

Let’s talk gear!

I’m the November speaker for the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas, where I’ll be sharing the benefits and how-tos of nature sketching, then we’ll make a mini sketchbook and do some drawing!

What you will learn:

  • How to create a small sketch book using simple materials.
  • How to do a simple drawing of a flower.
  • How to be still and pay closer attention to the natural world around you.
  • How drawing helps you develop more understanding of plant anatomy and ecology.
  • How drawing helps you develop a greater awareness and appreciation for native landscapes.

What to bring to the presentation:

  • A #2 pencil and a few pieces of blank paper (sheets from your home printer will do just fine).
  • An open mind!

We’ll have a followup trip to sketch together out in the field.

Presentation: November 13, 7:00 pm

Field Trip: November 17, 9:00 am, Mayfield Park

More info HERE.

Oct 13: Watercolor Art Demo

Doeskin Ranch unit of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, October 2018

Join me for the 2nd Annual Refuge Roundup at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters where I’ll be doing live demonstrations and showing how to make a mini sketchbook you can keep and take out on the trails. Everything is blooming after the recent rains and it’s so very green!

This FREE family event includes over 25 hands-on activities including Fishing, Birds of Prey Show, Archery, BB Guns, Reptile Show, Geocaching, Junior Firefighter, Guided Hikes, Watercolor Nature Art (<– that’s me!) and more.

Saturday, October 13, noon-4:00 pm

Maps and more info HERE.

Mule Ears Peaks, Big Bend National Park

August 29, 2018

We woke up early and broke camp at the Chisos Basin so that we could hike before it got too hot. This is a desert hike and temperatures regularly climb in the 100s in this part of the park.

Little did we know that there was a desert grassland fire near Sotol Vista…

We found out later that the fire was caused by lightening the night before. This was my first time seeing a fire in the desert. I’ve worked on some prescribed prairie fires and even helped set some and they are similar in how they slowly creep along and crackle and pop — and they smell so good.

Then it was on to to Mule Ears!


Start of the trail.
Oh no, the sun! That’s Mule Ears over on the right.

The sun started peeking up over the peaks (English is such a silly language) around 9:00 am — so much for our early start. But seeing the fire was worth it.

Dog cholla lit by the sun.

Plus there were amazing shadows and light on the cacti.

Like most things in the desert, objects appear closer than what they actually are!

We stopped at Mule Ears Spring along the way — it’s hard to believe that there are cattails and ferns out here.

Maidenhair ferns at Mule Ears Spring

We hiked past the peaks, but the temperature was starting to soar so we thought we’d better head back.

The desert landscape never ceases to amaze me. That’s J for scale.

Check out those barrel cacti on the hillside behind J.

Mule Ears Peaks, Big Bend National Park

I did a 5 minute sketch with my feet stuck in the shade of a creosote bush. 🙂

Mule Ears Peaks, Arches 90# cold press paper folded into a mini book, Greenleaf & Blueberry sketch palette, Pentel waterbrush.

But hey, 5 minutes is way better than no minutes.

I love having a record of this day. Looking back on it months later I can still feel the heat and the stillness of the desert. We were the only humans out there.

Then the fire through another wrench in our plans: the road was closed on the return as they were setting a backfire.

The ranger didn’t know when the road would reopen so we hiked to the nearby Burro Mesa Pour-off, ate pb & j sandwiches and holed up in the shade there for a while. We started losing shade so we headed back and the road was still closed, so it was on to Castolon.

We scored a stone cottage for the night and finally made it there via Old Maverick Road around 4:00 pm.

A shower never felt so good!