How to use an Alphabet – MMF Full size version
When you’re wanting to make a word or name in a book, using an alphabet can be the best way because it’s so much more cost effective than getting a custom pattern. Make a couple of books with it and it’s paid for itself.
Alphabets are also fully tested so you can be sure each letter has enough pages. It’s harder to guarantee with customs as some letters can need more than others but the software is limited to how it shares the pages so you can end up with too many pages for some letters just so you get enough for others.
But if you’re new to book folding and/or have not seen or used an alphabet before it can seem very daunting. After all, you’re not a pattern maker, you just want to follow the pattern and get it made the fun and easier way!
Honestly, alphabets are not that hard to use, I’ve done all the hard work creating all the measurements and organising them into an easy to follow guide. (You’re welcome!) You can think of them as a bunch of mini patterns to follow which you make into one book.
Each letter has it’s own measurements. Find the letters you want and away you go!
OK, there’s a little math first but I’ll walk you through it.
Folds vs Pages
All alphabets include capitals, lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation plus a number of folds chart, this saves you having to scroll through the measurement files to find out how many folds each letter has. Some will have a few other extras like angel wings, baby feet etc. that you can use together with it to create a custom pattern.
Make sure the extras are for the alphabet you want to use otherwise they wont line up correctly and can look messy.
Each fold is equal to 2 numbered pages as each fold (sheet of paper) has 2 numbers, one printed on each side. This is why we double the number of folds total to find out how many numbered pages we need our book to be.
Working out your start page
As an example, I’d like to make the word Home.
I use the folds chart and find out how many folds each letter needs then add them together.
As explained above we double our folds number to work out how many numbered pages we need our book to have.
I hunt in my stash and find a book with 450 pages, my pattern will fit but I’ll have excess pages. I need to make sure it looks even so I wont be starting on page one. Removing excess pages from just the front or back can damage the spine, distort our design and even make the book fall to pieces. So we make sure to have an even number of pages either side of design so it looks symmetrical and like it was made for the book.
If you’d like to double check your workings there’s two start page calculators on this post
Now we’ve worked out how many pages we need and our start page it’s time to mark up our pattern.
Our first letter is Capital H so we go to the capitals measurements and find H.
Go to page number 21 in our book and mark up the H. After marking H we need o. There’s no need to leave any pages or fold any pages between letters (unless stated on the pattern) The style of the letters naturally separate the letters so we start marking up out next letter on the next page, then mark m, then e and we should, if we’re lucky and did the math right, have the same amount of pages at the front and back of our design.
You can either leave these pages in, curl a few, take them out carefully by trimming close the spine or you can do half folds or fold to a point and have a line either side “framing” your design.
There’s a little info and examples on excess pages at the bottom of the finding your start page post
So now the question is, which alphabet and word are you going to try first?!
If you have any questions or an idea for another blog post let me know in the comments!