Make a miniature book

Created by Shelagh McCarthy

These tiny books shown below measure 57mm high and 47mm wide – around the same length as a mouse’s tail! They were part of the Infant’s Library created more than 200 years ago.

Why are The Infant’s Library books so small?

These books were designed to help children learn by reading to their dolls. The series starts with the alphabet and ends with books about animals, flowers, birds, games, outdoor scenes, objects and a (very!) Short History of England.

Tiny book
Indfant's Library: Public Domain

A small book for a small person

The very first work author Charlotte Brontë created was a miniature book containing a short story written for her baby sister Anne. Written and stitched together when Charlotte was just 12 years old, it was one of many tiny handmade books made by Charlotte and her siblings. The later books were made for and about the children’s toy soldiers.

Tiny book made by 12 year-old Charlotte Bronte
Image of earliest known writings of Charlotte Brontë (Bonnell 78) © Brontë Parsonage Museum

Books for a dolls’ house

The book shown below is from the library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The little royal house has a garage with cars, baths with silver taps that really work, there’s even real wine in tiny bottles in the cellar, and a gramophone with very small records that play the National Anthem. The dolls’ house library contains nearly 600 books, handwritten by famous writers such as the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, A A Milne, and James Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan.

A book from Queen Mary's Dolls' House
Queen Mary's Doll's House. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
A curator takes a book from Queen Mary's Dolls' House library
Queen Mary's Doll's House. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
Handmade miniature books

Plan your book

open miniature book showing illustration of a pirate ship

Now it’s your turn to make a miniature book for your toys


What would you like to read to them? A bedtime story?
Would it be a pirate adventure, a fairy tale or a soothing lullaby?

OPEN MINIATURE BOOK SHOWING AN ILLUSTRATIN OF A TELESOPE

Would it be a factual book about other countries and cultures, about the universe, about life at the bottom of the ocean or about a famous period of history such as Ancient Egypt or the Fire of London?

open minature  book


It could be a graphic novel
A recipe book
A sketchbook

open miniature book showing the letters A B C


A schoolbook to help your toys learn about the world
A book to write music in
Perhaps it’s a simple ABC.

How to make your book

Example of 6 miniature books

Tools & Materials needed to make one 5.5cm x 4cm miniature book

Light weight paper – 1 sheet of A4 plain paper (computer printer paper is perfect); This sheet will make two miniature books; A range of coloured paper for covers; Decorative papers – for example, wrapping paper or origami paper, for covers and endpapers; Scissors; Small elastic band (3cm diameter); Small plastic ruler; Bull dog clip or clothes peg; Pencil; Stick glue

paper being cut by scissors

Fold your paper

Fold the A4 in half, short side to short side – Take your time to try and match the corners and then flatten the paper with your hand.

Now hold your ruler between your thumb and fingers and firmly run it along the crease.

Use your ruler to firmly crease your paper every time you fold it.

Cut or tear the A4 sheet in half, short side to short side. Save one half to make another book later.

a piece of paper with folded crease lines

Fold the paper in half, short side to short side,

and in half again, short side to short side,

And in half again, short side to short side.

Open the paper up - there will be 8 rectangles.

These rectangles will become the pages of your book.

paper being cut by scissors

Cut the paper with scissors, so you have four sets of folded double pages.

Fold the cut sheets in half, short side to short side.

Put the folded pieces inside one another.

This folded block will become the pages of your book.

It is called the book block.

Put the book block to one side.

a cover being held up to a miniature book

Make your cover boards


Open your book block, place it on the plain side of the cover card and draw round it.
Add an extra 2mm to the height and extra 3mm to the width.

a decorative paper being added to the spine of the mini book

Make a spine strip


Cut a strip of plain or decorative paper the same height as your cover by 2cm.
Using stick glue, glue the spine strip to the outside cover of your book.

an elastic band being added to a mini book spine

Assemble your book


Wrap the cover around your book block. Open the entire book to the middle page and “bind’ your book together with the elastic band.
Enjoy writing and drawing in your book!
Can you make a smaller book?

More activities

A cut-out figure placed beneath an orange

Create a miniature adventure

Create an illustrated adventure story, exploring what it would be like to be really small.

Cartoon illustration of Omar in a stripy tshirt, from the front cover of Planet Omar, with doodles in background

The Book of Me

What if you were the main character in a story? What would the world of your story look like? What would happen?

Read more

Quentin Blake's illustrtaion of Roald Dahl's BFG. The BFG is sitting on a rock and holding Sophie up in his hand.

Go deeper: Size and scale in children's books

From miniature people, to towering giants, playing with size and scale add a fun dimension to children’s books!

An adult's hands holding a tiny book, The Infant's Library. It is about the size of the person's thumb.

Themed book list: Big and small

Take a look at some tiny treasures including the earliest collection of nursery rhymes and delve into the worlds of The Borrowers, The BFG and The Smartest Giant in Town.