Hand-made books, micro books, and zines are not new. I personally remember some of these before copy machines were even widely available. Anyone else remember those cool, funky smelling purple mimeograph machines?
Today’s technology, however, makes it even easier to create your own hand-made books. The art and indie spirit are just as strong as ever. There’s just no need for the strong odor of glue or mimeograph ink anymore. 😉
16 page micro booklets at 1/8 standard page size and 8 or 16 page mini booklets at 1/4 standard page size are all created pretty much the same way.
- Use a template to layout your booklet either by hand or with graphic software.
It’s simple enough to do a small book or zine project with young kids if you like, but when it’s done well, the end results can be exceptionally appealing. They’re absolutely wonderful for authors and artists who want to share excerpts or samples of their work – either for sale or as free giveaways at events.
- Paper (standard 8.5×11 sized)
- Long Arm Stapler
- Scissors or a Paper Trimmer
- Bone Folder (optional)
Everything else is done with software.
Personally, I prefer InDesign and Photoshop to place my content into the micro book, but you can adapt to your favorite graphics and layout tools. Here’s a sample of the 16 Page Micro Booklet template.
Since the “pages” must be placed in a certain order to match the way the paper is folded, and some of those need to be rotated 180 degrees, I do recommend using true graphics and layout software. (Micro & mini books can be created in Word, but it takes a lot more effort and patience.)
Printing may actually be a challenge at first. Since the template prints on both sides of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, the way the paper is flipped for the second side (or the way settings are configured for duplex printers) can put the “pages” in the wrong spots. Play with your personal printer and settings to make sure the “pages” print where you want them on both sides.
Folding for a 16 page booklet is fairly easy, but the order of the folds and the direction of the folds are specific to the template you choose. Really, you’re just folding the 8.5 x 11 sheet in half 3 times. You just need to practice until you’re comfortable with the correct order to align your 16 pages.
Binding is simple. Since all 16 pages come from one sheet of paper, no glues or even sewing are required. A simple “saddle stitch” is all you need to bind your hand-made micro booklet. Just staple along the folded edge that makes the spine of the book.
Because the hand-made micro books are folded like origami, a couple of cuts along the edges are needed to “open” up the book after it’s securely bound at the spine.
Make Your Own
The possibilities for these hand-made booklets are endless. Even beyond the art and craft of the hand-made DIY, these little booklets can be made for promotional giveaways or even sold on sites like Etsy, Ebay, or Amazon. You could even sell them through your own web site if you want.
The pocket-sized micro & mini booklets are often used for small photo books, gifts, zines, brochures, activity books, coloring books, and could even be used as a really interesting business card option.
Personally, I like these for promotional giveaways. I recently created some micro coloring books and mini activity book samplers as free promotional giveaways for book signing events. I just made sure the web site address and a QR code link were on the last page if anyone wanted to purchase the actual ebook on which the samplers were based.
Again, to purchase the detailed instructions and templates to make your own micro or mini booklets, to to https://www.etsy.com/shop/BellyAcresAlabama.
I’d love to see all the creative options other authors and artists use for these mini and micro booklets, too. Feel free to share photos and links to your own booklet creations in the comments below.