Margo Klass – The Unfolding Box Book

InstructorMargo Klass
Skill LevelIntermediate
Length of Workshop2 days
Date (s)Wednesday-Thursday, June 26-27, 2024
Cost$175 per day x 2 days + $35 Material Fee
Total Price of Workshop$385

Workshop Description:

This 3-dimensional book structure requires the artist to imagine how the book will be experienced in the hands of its viewer – from unlatching the cover, to opening the box by unfolding the hinged panels outward in all directions, and discovering at its center the object in a recessed compartment. Each step requires the viewer’s active participation. Although this structure invites the book to be purely visual, text can be added to any of its components. 

In this workshop we will create an Unfolding Box Book, as pictured. We’ll learn how to measure and cut all its parts with precision, use book cloth to cover and hinge together the 4 sets of triple-fold panels around the central recessed compartment, and imbed a magnetic closure in its cover. Participants will personalize their books by providing an object to be featured in the central chamber and papers to mount on the surrounding panels.

Materials/equipment to be provided by students:

  • Cutting mat (minimum size 18 x 24”)
  • Set of 9” steel graduated measuring rules (available here: )
  • Rulers – see-through plastic type used by quilters: ideal set would include two 2 x 18”, (EZ Quilting brand); 3.5 x 12.5” (Omnigrip); 5.5 x 16” (Omnigrip); or a similar variety
  • Teflon bone folder
  • Scoring tool
  • X-Acto knife (with extra blades)
  • Heavy duty knife such as a Sheffield knife (with extra blades)
  • Tweezers
  • Fine line pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue brushes (stiff bristle, 3/4 and 1” round or flat)
  • PVA glue (at least 3/4 c.)
  • Glass jars for water and glue in 2 strengths (full strength and mixed with methyl cellulose)
  • Glue sheets
  • Small triangle or square (2-4”), plastic or metal
  • Optional: 2-3 bar clamps (Irwin or Jorgensen are common brand names; length 6-8”)
  • Small weights, Corner tool, Personal light  Required materials:
  • Object(s) for central chamber: ideally your object fits nicely into a 1.5” square (or smaller) opening. It could be a bit wider than it is high. Thickness: at most 1/2”.
  • Decorative papers to mount on the surrounding panels: This could be a mix of colors, patterns, and/or text. The small panels on either side of the center are 1.5 H x 2 W”; the larger panels at the top and bottom are 1.25 x 4.25” (these measurements are for the panels themselves; mounting papers will be a bit smaller depending on your margins).

See Materials Glossary for definitions and images

Materials/equipment to be provided by instructor:

  • Various boards (some of them pre-cut) to construct the central box, side panels, covers, and spines of the structure
  • Book cloth – a variety of colors
  • Disk magnets for closures
  • Methyl cellulose (to adjust PVA)
  • Clamping boards
  • Spacers and spacing boards
  • Edge-covering papers (around central chamber)
  • Detailed diagrams for measuring, cutting, assembling, etc.
  • Epoxy
  • Tools to share: clamps, rulers; circle template, sanding blocks, etc.


  • Determine paper grain & match the grain of different components of a book
  • Glue up paper or cloth to cover binder’s board
  • Measure materials (boards, papers, book cloth) with precision
  • Hard-sided box and lid

Instructor Bio:

Margo Klass is a mixed media artist whose work includes constructions and artist books. In both, natural and found objects are springboards for content, often narrative but always symbolic of meaning beyond what the objects suggest. Aesthetically she draws from her study of medieval art and travel in Japan. She has received awards from the Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska State Council on the Arts. In 2015 she received the Governor’s Individual Artist Award. Her work is in the Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North, Pratt Museum, and other public and private collections.