Variation on Hedi Kyle's Fishbone Fold

The Fishbone Fold, whose design is attributed to Hedi Kyle, has been around for several years, it seems, but over here on the left coast I hadn't seen it until just recently. It is an interesting variation on a one-page structure that has a horizontal slit down the center; this one-page structure has several slits, each separated by 1/2" of the fish's spine. The tutorial by Susan Angebranndt at Green Chair Press creates a structure that has overlapping pages when closed and makes a longer, narrower fish. I wondered how it would look if the fore edge was even. It makes the structure more plant shaped, I think. The above photo shows the fishbones on the left, the fishbone variations on the right. These instructions show my variation. It could be made as a tree or flower or pine branch, depending how you paint the paper.

If you use paper that is grained long, the bones (or branches) tend to pop open more; the book is more sculptural. If you use paper that is grained short, the base opens more: you may wish to glue the pages in strategic areas.

You will have 1/2" between the bones (or branches), 1/2" at either end to glue together.

Tools: pencil, metal ruler, bone folder, X-Acto knife and cutting mat, PVA and small piece of board or brush for gluing
Materials: Arches Text Wove (Velin Arches) 10" x 24 1/2"; or Canson Mi-Teintes, Rives Lightweight, or another lightweight or mid-weight paper
Example: 5" x 4" finished size, closed

Arrange paper horizontally.
Measure and mark, top and bottom:
1/2" — 4" — 1/2"— 5"— 1/2"—6—1/2"—7"—1/2"
(=24 1/2")

Align the ruler with the marks, just behind them so there is room for the bone folder.
Connect each set of the marks and score (draw a line) with the bone folder.
(You can see the scores as shiny marks in the photo at left.)

Fold the paper in half horizontally, making the whole page long and narrow.

Open and make marks at all the intersecting folds.

Make marks top and bottom, centered, between each of the wider marks
(leave the 1/2" sections alone).

Connect the sets of marks with the ruler and score these as well.

With the cutting mat underneath the paper,
cut with the X-Acto using the metal ruler as a guide;
make horizontal slits, across the larger segments and across
the new score lines, stopping at each 1/2" segment.
(Exception: You can cut all the way across the 7" segment and the 1/2" piece that follows it.)

Fold up again, in half, long and narrow.

Fold along all score lines.

Start at the shorter end by pushing in toward the remaining folded paper.
Continue pushing in and folding.

Note the 1/2" segments at the ends.
One is in the center of the book,
one is at the front and one is at the back.

Apply glue to one side of the 1/2" segment in the center.
Press together.

Apply glue to one 1/2" segment at the spine.

Press the front and back segments together.
Or put glue on both and wrap them around the spine of the book.

Alternatively, you could glue these segments to 
separate wrapped boards or to a case. 
Add end papers after attaching the segments to any hard cover.

And there it is, a slight variation on the Fishbone Fold.


Louise said…
I'm really excited to try this structure. Thank you!
Gina Pisello said…
Thanks for this tutorial. I saw one of these books on the cover of a magazine years ago and tried to figure it out from that. I did it differently, and in a more complicated way. I like your way better.
Gina Pisello said…
I just joined your blog, what a feast for the eyes. I noticed your list of book arts groups on the right and you don't have Puget Sound Book Arts listed. Maybe they are too new?? Anyway, just an FYI.
Alisa said…
Thanks, Gina! Welcome aboard! I've added a link to Puget Sound Book Arts to the organizations list. Good to know!
What a wonderful tutorial . . . thank you!
Brenda said…
I have Hiedi Kyles book and did the fish bone fold in one of my recent book art classes. You are right it is very sculpural and it is a beautiful fold. I am so glad I have my fish bone fold book. Thx for sending it to me.

Alisa said…
Thanks for writing! It is quite a magical book structure.
marcela lopez said…
Hedi Kyle has pretty foldings and useful too, some of them are not, like this one for example, I don't see the point of the Fishbone fold, is not pretty nor useful. Anyway thanks for sharing.
Alisa said…
That's why it is cool there are so many different ways to make a book. We can all find one that works for us and to our own taste. This one is very sculptural, a challenge to fold, and I think it has some imaginative possibilities for layering with color and materials. Thanks for reading.
Val Forbes said…
Although I did a workshop in 2018 which included making one of these fishbone books, I never made another one, until... a friend from Hawaii sent me a fishbone book this week. I've dug up my instructions from the workshop and it's now on my to do list - the structure is so intriguing. I'll look at your variation too, Alisa, which came up when trying to figure out what the difference was between the tree book and the fishbone book.
Alisa said…
Val, thanks for your comment. With the "tree" book, the pages are aligned at the fore edge, with the original fishbone fold the pages step forward. Lots of measuring, either way!