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.
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.
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.
Plan your book
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?
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?
It could be a graphic novelA recipe bookA sketchbook
A schoolbook to help your toys learn about the worldA book to write music inPerhaps it’s a simple ABC.
How to make your book
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Create an illustrated adventure story, exploring what it would be like to be really small.
From miniature people, to towering giants, playing with size and scale add a fun dimension to children’s books!
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.