Flexible Book Structures Online Class



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Register Now! Class begins April 10th

Register Now! $195 (price increases to $225 on April 1st)


Order the Supply Kit – $75 (Read more about the kit below)

Flexible Book Structures

April 10 – May 15, 2019 

Do you crave the inspiration you get from the act of making? Love books and paper? Have a desire to connect with others who share these same goals? Join me in creating a series of flexible book structures that fold and unfold, collapse and expand, inflate and deflate.

Let’s wonder collectively about what a book is! 

We will create six book objects, the equivalent of a weeklong workshop with me, during this 6-week class. A new lesson will be in the classroom each Wednesday, and you can work from the comfort of your own home or studio at any time throughout the week. Hop into the online classroom anytime to ask questions and share your projects and ideas in a supportive and creative on-line community.

Six Unique Book Structures 

The six weekly lessons will be exploratory (think model making) and concrete (you’ll be building book structures). I will show you a variety of techniques and models for inspiration. Content is optional – these are lovely objects in and of themselves – but you are welcome to dive into your own themes in your books. Explore a variety of structures by creating multiple pages that connect with hinges and fasteners (paper hinges, brads, stitching, staples) that make your books flex and transform into lanterns, folding screens, wall pieces and more.

Course Outline:

  • Week 1 (April 10) Strip Books: Explore a variety of ways to connect strips of paper (or pages) to create a variety of shapes that stack up, fan out, and transform into sculptural forms.
  • Week 2 (April 17) Criss-Cross Accordion Structure: Join a stack of shaped pages at folded intersections and unfold them to create an expandable book structure that stretches through space.
  • Week 3 (April 24) Envelope Forms: Use the pocket-like feature of envelopes to show off paper cut designs and create a versatile hinge that allows your creation to be displayed as a lantern, folding screen or wall hanging. Alter the hinge slightly to create a unique book form.
  • Week 4 (May 1) Inflatable Ball: Make this light weight balloon form and fill it with air. Unlike rubber balloons, this one can be partially filled and shaped, since the paper isn’t elastic and can hold its shape. Or, fill it with birdseed or rice to make a paperweight (or a sculpture that isn’t likely to be blown away or knocked over).
  • Week 5 (May 8) Woven Paper Notebook/Lantern/Wall Hanging: This is the most traditional we’ll get in this class about books. Create a small booklet with a woven paper cover. Add cut-outs to enhance your weaving. Bind your notebook with the double pamphlet stitch, which adds two signatures to the book with a simple stab binding. And then finish it off with a unique paper hinge closure.
  • Week 6 (May 15) Shadow Book/Lantern/Folding Screen: In the 1640’s, a German priest living in Rome developed the magic lantern, which cast shadows from glass slides onto a screen, a precursor to modern cinema. This shadow book/lantern/folding screen works on the same principle as light casts shadows from a stencil onto a paper screen. A unique Japanese hinge allows this book form to be displayed in multiple ways.


Helen is a skilled, generous, and very organized teacher. I enjoyed every aspect of the online class, from the clear video and the community feel, to the ability to work at my own pace. The projects and materials were lovely. The online format made it possible to benefit from Helen’s vast expertise without the time and cost of travel.  Thanks Helen! Sue E.

This was my first ever online class. The needed materials arrived in advance so I could become acquainted with them. The videos for each lesson were clear and easy to follow. It was fun to see the results that other participants posted. I found the interactive communication with you helpful and delightful. Thank you! I look forward to another online class taught by you! Barb H.

What You Get:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials for each lesson
  • Printable instructions for each project (some will be step-by-step, others will be prompt-oriented)
  • Templates
  • A comprehensive resource list, plus a list of suppliers
  • The online classroom where you can ask questions, share your work, and get feedback

How it works: 

  • A week before class begins, you will receive information about creating a unique login for the Flexible Book Structures online classroom.
  • Each Wednesday, beginning on April 10th, a new lesson will be available in the online classroom with a video tutorial featuring a new project to explore throughout the week. This is not a live lesson; you will be able to watch the video anytime, work on your own and then visit the online classroom to ask questions and share your work.
  • As a student you will have access to all lessons, support materials and videos indefinitely!

Register Now!  $195 (price increases to $225 on April 1st (no fooling!):

Materials: You are welcome to source your own materials, but I’ve put together a supply kit plus a list of suppliers for all of the papers and parts you need to create these projects. The kit includes: papers for each project (most are approx. 8-1/2″ x 11″), balsa wood, bamboo skewers, decorative brads, screw posts, and a special cutting mat substrate. Please register early to make sure that you receive your kit before class begins. Click here to view the supply list (note that there are a few additional supplies you’ll need that are not in the kit). Order the supply kit by March 20th and receive a FREE copy of the 2019 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar! Kits will start shipping around April 1st.

Order the Supply Kit – $75


Tools: You probably have most tools on hand, but here’s an idea of what we’ll be using: pencil, ruler, scissors, cutting mat, craft knife, eraser, glue brush, hole punch. Optional tools: hand saw + miter box for cutting balsa wood, Japanese screw punch, needle and thread, heavy duty scissors/garden shears for cutting bamboo skewers (see supply list).

Beyond the class: The skills you acquire will have multiple applications in book arts as we explore paper as a material, books as objects, and the various ways they can be manipulated and connected. Take what you learn beyond this class as you add additional ideas for working with paper and books to your repertoire.

Let’s Do This!

  1. Check out my free video tutorials if you want to see my teaching in action
  2. Sign up for the FREE webinar on March 14th if you want to learn more.
  3. Register today!

About Helen: My initial interest began on a trip to Japan 30 years ago when I was inspired by light filtering through traditional shoji screens. I took classes at the NY Center for Book Arts with Hedi Kyle, Susan Share, Barbara Mauriello and more and soon began developing workshops combining book arts, papercraft and lighting techniques. I’m the author of five books about paper crafts and papermaking, and I publish the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar, featuring a how-to paper project for every month. I am a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper. I teach, lecture and exhibit my work internationally and have an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world. My interest in how things are made (from paper) keep me up-to-date on current paper trends, which I write about in my weekly blog, The Sunday Paper. I hold an annual paper retreat in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each September.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why an Online Class?
I’ve taught these projects to hundreds of students in person over the past twenty five years, but since I can’t travel all the time (and perhaps you can’t either) I decided to develop on-line content. This is an extension of the numerous how-to projects I’ve written about in my books and the Twelve Months of Paper calendar, but they are a bit more in-depth and elaborate, featuring skill building as well as creative ideas.

What if I’m traveling or have to miss a lesson?
The sessions are independent, so you can jump in at any point and come back to lessons you’ve missed later. You will also have access to the online classroom indefinitely.

What kind of experience is required?
This class is for all levels but expect some challenges. You should be comfortable using a craft knife. I have taught all of these projects to beginners and experienced artists with success.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Refunds are only available within 24 hours of purchase. You will receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee for cancellations within 24 hours.

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