DIY Miniature Books

The next chapter of your book collection

Is there anything better than a room chock-full of books, holding all your favorite worlds to escape into? The feeling of a fresh, new book in your hands, or the marks of a book well-loved and read many times over? Nowadays, sensations like these have become a bit less common, as we’ve embraced the convenience of the e-reader and the audiobook. But read on to find a way to recapture some of that bookish magic. That is, by wrapping it in another source of enchantment: miniatures. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps of making your own DIY miniature books. And though these tiny books may not be readable themselves, they are a great way of displaying all your favorite stories in a cute and pretty looking tangible book collection.

Making Miniature Book Covers

Step 1. Get book covers or design them yourself

When it comes to the cover designs, there are several ways to go about it. For example, you might like to make exact miniatures of the books you already own. To this end, you could make a scan of the book cover and then scale it down in an editing software. Alternatively, you could buy a pre-made set of printable miniature book covers, like this collection of classic children’s books on Etsy. The last, and most fun, way of making miniature book covers is of course to design them yourself. Bring your vision to life with watercolors, or paint it with digital strokes. If you’re going to give this a try, you’ll also have the perfect excuse to go and have a stroll through your favorite bookshop. After all, what better way to get inspired?

Step 2. Print the miniature book covers to scale

Before you print the covers, you need to decide just how small they need to be. Do you already have a miniature bookshelf to display them? (If not, check out this one!) Or, perhaps you’re planning to place a book or two on a desk in a DIY miniature house project. In these cases, you’ll want to match the scale of your miniature books to that of the setting in which they’ll be displayed.

For this tutorial, I made some books in standard dollhouse scale, which is 1:12. As a reference I took an average novel measuring 13 cm by 20 cm (roughly 5″ by 8″). Dividing this by 12 gave a width of about 10 mm and a height of 17 mm (0.39″ by 0.67″) for both the front and back cover each. Between these parts of the cover, I needed to add the book spine. To make books on the chunkier side, I created spines of 2 mm or more. For shorter stories, I made them narrower than 2 mm.

Step 3. Glue and cut the miniature book covers

After printing a set of book covers on regular printing paper, I glued them onto card stock to add some thickness and rigidity. Depending on whether you’re planning to make the cover flush with the book pages like a softcover, or have it slightly stick out like a hardcover, a bit of this card stock will be visible. For this reason, I chose a brown paper for my lighter, neutral toned designs, and a deep blue that matched my other, darker designs.

Glueing printed miniature book covers to brown and blue colored card stock
Using a craft knife to cut out covers for DIY miniature books

After giving the glue some time to dry, I cut out the book covers. Having a good craft knife and a metal ruler would be handy for this step. As you can see, I didn’t have the latter, and had to be careful not to shave off strips of plastic from my ruler. Suffice to say that for future projects, I’m going metal.

Making pages for DIY miniature books

Step 4. Cut sheets of paper

With the book covers prepared, it is time to make the inner contents of your DIY miniature books. For this, pick the thinnest sheets of paper you can get your hands on (like these on Amazon). The thinner the paper, the more sheets will fit inside your miniature book, and the more fun you’ll have flipping through the pages.

The book pages should be cut with a bit of a margin to spare, as they’ll be trimmed down in a later step. Once you’ve got yourself a proper stack of pages, you’ll compare its thickness to the width of your book spine and reduce or increase the number of pages as needed. I like to use small clamps like these to keep the loose pages bundled together in a nice block.

A stack of DIY miniature book pages being cut with scissors
Two fingers holding a printed miniature book cover and comparing it to the width of the book block

Step 5. Bind the pages together with glue

On to the actual book binding. We’re going to be using the perfect bound technique, which comes down to using glue to bind the pages together and to the cover. I used wood glue for this purpose, but a regular white glue should work just as well.

This step of the process is fairly simple as well. You just need to make sure that the block of pages is aligned properly. To this end, decide which of the edges of the block is to connect to the book spine. Holding the stack loosely, tap this edge onto your working surface repeatedly. This should make the individual sheets of paper line up nicely. Fixing them into place with a clamp, you can then cover the spine-facing edge with a layer of glue. After letting this dry, the full page stack will be bound together.

White glue being applied with a brush to a stack of miniature book pages to bind them

Step 6. Trim the book block

With one of the edges of the book block bound, the next step is to trim the other three edges. For this, simply use the book cover as a guide. With the glued edge inserted into the cover, mark its dimensions onto the paper. These will determine how to cut the block of pages. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to simulate a hardcover book, so the edges of the cover should stick out a bit beyond the book block. Therefore, I made sure to cut the pages a little inward from the marked lines.

A pencil marking the dimensions of a miniature book cover onto the book block
A craft knife trimming excess paper from miniature book pages

Once trimmed, make sure do a little “dry run” to see if the book block came out as intended. Insert it into the cover and check if it fits nicely inside. If one of the edges is a little off and could use another trim, best to do it now before the glue gets involved again.

Finishing the DIY miniature books

Step 7. Glue the cover onto the book block

Everything good to go? Then it’s time to finish your DIY miniature books. Apply a coat of white glue to the inside of the book cover – or to the outer page surfaces of the book block – and insert the block into the cover.

At this point, I was pretty happy with the result. However, depending on what you’re going for, you might feel that your miniature books aren’t quite there yet. That is, you might like the books to look a little more pre-loved. Or who knows, maybe they need to look like they’ve been through an apocalypse. In that case, there are ways to give them a more weathered appearance. For example, you could use some sandpaper to rub down the edges and corners, and some paint to add a little staining here and there. Watch this video by Hitsuji-no-ie for a nice demonstration of this weathering trick.

The printer effect

Speaking of weathering, you might actually find it happening unintentionally. While making my miniature books, I thought it would be interesting to compare two different printers: an inkjet and a laser printer. As you can see in the photo, the book covers came out looking quite different. The laser printer (on the right) produced a more detailed and vibrant result. However, unlike the inkjet print, this version started showing cracks as soon as the cover was bent around the book block. Being just a few seconds old, the laser printed book looked like it had been read a few times over.

A side by side comparison of miniature book covers printed with an inkjet printer and a laser printer

Ready to make your own DIY miniature books? Let me tell you, it’s so much fun paging through a teeny tiny book with your oversized fingers, even if there’s nothing to read in there. That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from actually adding something to read in there. Have a look at Evan Lorenzen’s work to see what I mean. As for me, I’ll go ahead and start making a li’l bookshelf for my pile of mini books.

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About the author

Hey there, I'm Aimee. I have this thing for tiny things, that has grown ever since I started dabbling with miniature crafts in 2018. I started this blog to create a space for ideas and resources for making miniatures, so that they may inspire others and lead to the crafting of many more little worlds within our own.

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Aimee River

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