How do I work out my start page?

showing how to centralise a book folding pattern

PSST!…..Scroll straight to the bottom for TWO interactive Start page Calculators, One basic and one which includes unnumbered pages too!

How do I work out my start page? Is something that can really trip you up when you’re just starting to learn how to book fold. Sometimes you get lucky and find a book with the perfect amount of pages, but the majority of the time your book will have too many and this is totally normal so stop hunting for the ‘perfect’ book! Unless you get a custom pattern made then it’s VERY rare to get a book the perfect amount of pages and height. 
For help with how to work out if your pattern will fit the HEIGHT of your book, take a look at this post. Is book height important?

Why do I need to find a start page?

Firstly, to make sure you will have enough pages for your pattern to fit in the book, you can’t just start anywhere. Second, to make your pattern look like it was made for the book and come out looking it’s best. Even if you are thinking of removing the excess pages this still needs to be done evenly from the front and back due to the way pages are attached in sections. If you remove a massive chunk from the front or back it can look unsightly leaving a gaping hole which will not support your fold on that side and can even damage the spine and cover of the book.

How do I find it?

To get your start page you first you need to get some numbers from your book and pattern:

  • How many numbered pages does your book have?
  • Are there any un-numbered sheets at the front and back?
  • How many pages does your pattern need?

When you have these your ready to do the calculations!

e.g. my book has 470 numbered pages
there are 6 sheets without any numbers on, so there are 12 un-numbered pages. (A sheet has 2 sides, page 1 on one side and page 2 on the other so we always double when counting sheets in books and folds on patterns)
This gives me a total of 482 numbered pages.
My pattern has 440 numbered pages.

book size – pattern size = spare pages
482 – 440 = 42 spare pages.

We’re nearly there!

We want to then half this to get an equal amount at the front an the back of the book.

So my start page is page number 21 however, 3 of my un-numbered sheets were at the front, that’s 6 numbered pages which are included in my 21 start page, so I deduct 6 from 21 and my actual numbered start page is 15.

Don’t worry if this seems confusing, it will soon be second nature. 🙂

To help you I will attach the centralising sheet for you to download which I give to students of the Cut and fold Masterclass. There is a chart on there with space for you to plug your own numbers in, along with an example so you can copy the method. You can also see me work out a start page on the free cut and fold video and the beginners heart video, in fact any video where I show how to make a book fold I include this at the beginning! Repetition is key! 🙂 

photo of completed pattern centralising table photo

click here to download a copy of the start page finder

What do I do with the excess pages?

 After folding your pattern you can then decide what to do with those extra pages. Some people leave them in, it is a book after all!

If it’s a cut and fold make them blend in. If it’s an embossed or multi layer then fold them back the same depth as your pattern pages.
If it’s inverted then leave them as they are and they will create a ‘border’.
If it’s an MMF or Combination cut and fold you can leave them in, curl a few corners to frame your fold or remove them carefully and reveal the coloured or ornamental end paper and flyleaf. If the book is plain you can add your own coloured card which will help the pattern stand out. There is no right or wrong and it can vary with the pattern, who it’s for, the colour of the pages etc. 

If you do decide you want to remove them this video shows me removing excess pages at the beginning, along with fixing the spine to make sure it lasts and also how to cover a book using fabric.

showing spare pages curled

Curling excess pages

folding spare pages back

Spare pages folded back to blend in

leaving the spare pages in

Spare pages left in

removing excess pages

Spare pages removed to reveal inside cover

Do you have a ‘go to’ or favourite method of dealing with extra pages?

If you need any help working out your start page or would like to confirm your workings then you can double check with the Start Page Calculators below!

Happy Folding!
Jo x

Start Page Calculators

If your book has enough numbered pages for your pattern to fit and a similar amount of unnumbered pages front and back use the basic one.

Use this one if –

  • If your book has a lot more unnumbered pages at the front or back.

  • If you need to use some of the books un-numbered pages for your pattern to fit in your book.
  • Please do your own due diligence if your start page is a minus number. (it may or may not be right!)

    E.G If your book has 20 unnumbered sheeets at the front and you know you will need to use some of them, and the start page says anything between -20 and 0 then your pattern will fit. If it says page -10 then that would be the fifth sheet. (each sheet has 2 numbered pages, one each side).

    If your book is 300 pages and your pattern is 400, it is not going to fit.

    If your pattern is stated in folds/leaves then double this number before entering it into the calculator.

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