How to Make a Book (with Gregory Christie)

Books work like magic carpets for me, whisking me away to “somewhere else.” Whether I’m vacationing, stealing a slice of staycation out of daily life, or shrugging off a worry I’m eager to shake, books transform my mental space.

Call it a refresh. A mental makeover.

Holding a book, turning its page, controlling the pace of the story-all free of electronics-it’s therapy. So when the Illustration Institute offered a book making workshop with Gregory Christie, I was all in.

I was shocked to learn from him that we could make tiny, 16-page books with one 8.5×11″ piece of paper, heavy stock for the front and back covers and spine, and decorative duct tape for a binding.

Gathered on the magnificent porch of the Fifth Maine Museum on Peaks Island, newbie book makers followed Christie’s step-by-step instructions.

Fold, fold, and fold again in one grain, then turn and do the same against the grain. With carefully placed scissor cuts along three folds, the one sheet of paper accordioned together to form the pages of the tiny book.

The front and back covers and binding were set down on the sticky side of duct tape. Then the tape was tightly wrapped around the edges of the covers. With a few swipes of glue, the pages were attached to the binding.

True confession: I squealed. This neophyte book maker can return to writing now with new perspective on the bindings that hold the book-and me-together.

Patricia Erikson blogs about Maine writers, travel, and science from a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, follow her on Instagram at @seashorewrite or subscribe to Peaks Island Press in the upper right corner at

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