Friday, October 16, 2009

The Magic Book

A few years ago I learned how to make a wonderful magic book at the San Francisco Center for the Book. With one piece of paper, a couple of cuts and some very easy folds, you can make what's called a Jacob's Ladder Book or a Tetratetraflexagon. You have a front and a back, but hidden inside are another two pages that are only revealed when you fold the middle of the book in a certain way.
folding the book to discover the hidden third page
the third page
folding the book to discover the hidden fourth page
the fourth page
The form can be used as a travel journal (as described in the book Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist, and Turn, one I highly recommend, with all kinds of great projects for children and adults who love books and journals) or an invitation, diary, love letter or just a way to display art or photos, as I have used it here. You could use it to make someone a very special handmade Chritmas card or gift. And children love its magical nature. If you would like .pdf directions for making this little book, please email me at and I will reply with a file.


  1. Hi Nancy,I'd love to get a copy of your pdf. I was shown this structure at a workshop earlier this year, but we were running out of time and I got lost and wasn't able to pick up the thread. Having something written to work from would be a great help. Best,

  2. Hi Nancy
    If trying to get my head around those folds wasn't hard enough, I'm still battling with 'tetratetraflexagon'...
    That all looks very sleight of hand.

  3. your blog is lovely. i work with kids alot and will try this book with them. i have the bookmaking book you mentioned somewhere around here, so will look it up.

  4. hi again, just came back from your etsy shop and was really taken with your prints, especially the one with the teacup, the forest picture and the green fields and red buildings...also loved the bird cards...

  5. This sounds fun, Nancy.... hve to get the pdf from you....XX Mariann

  6. Ohh I would love to try it with my science students!!