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Books & Scrolls

Books & ScrollsBooks and scrolls can be used to adorn desks and tables, can be included in piles of treasure, and can even, would you believe it, act as the contents for bookshelves!

The example to the right is was made by Abaroth of Abaroth's World and in the article below he tells us how to make model books and scrolls.

Closed Books

The closed books are made using wooden strip (basswood or balsa) and thin card. Round off one edge of the strip to be the spine of the book, then cut it into book-sized lengths. You can sand strips to different thicknesses to add extra variety.

Books & Scrolls

If you just want the spines of the books to be showing on a shelf you can just paint and stick several of these wooden books together. For a single book, where you can see the pages, use superglue to fix the wood onto some thin card, leaving a small overlap at the top and side. Then trim the card to be just over the width of the wooden piece, leaving another slight overlap at the bottom.

Books & Scrolls

Add a small drop of glue to the uncovered section of card next to the wood, and carefully roll the book around the card. Trim the loose end of the card strip, leaving a thin margin once again.

If you want an extra level of detail, you can scribe or cut grooves into the exposed pieces of wood to simulate pages. I recommend painting the books separately, before sticking them into position. This is made a lot simpler by sticking a pin into one end of the wood, and holding this whilst painting.

Books & ScrollsA variation on Abaroth's method can be seen in the example to the left, made by Andy Slater. The book on the desk was made pretty much as for Abaroth's books except that a page from a magazine was used to make the cover - no painting required.

Most of the books on the shelves were done using magazine pages and these were wrapped around the strips before they were cut into individual books. The blue books are different but are nothing more than a 1/2" strip of cereal packet card, scored, folded in half, glued, and then cut into individual book-sized pieces. Although Andy's books are less detailed than Abaroth's they are quick to make and as he was endeavouring to fill a library room with no less than nine cases of books...

Books & ScrollsSpecific books such as the Warhammer Rulebook that Andy Slater made for his 28mm scale wargaming table can be made by printing an appropriate image from the Internet for use as the wrapper/cover.

Open Books

Sand off the edges of a strip of basswood or balsa - the one in the images is 1/4" wide by 1/16" thick. You want to get the profile of the top similar to that of an aeroplane wing i.e. with a curve at one end and a taper towards the other.

Cut two pieces to the same length and use superglue to stick them to a piece of thin card. They should be placed with the more sharply curved edges together to form the pages of the open book. Carefully trim around the wood, leaving a small piece of the card protruding to be the cover.

Books & Scrolls

The first two images above illustrate the process described while the last two show a variation where an additional pages has been made using a piece of ordinary white paper. The paper page was smeared with a drop of superglue and allowed to dry, before spraying with a white undercoat.

Books & ScrollsThe images to the right show a couple of finished books. The pages of the first were painted in a cream colour, before adding thin washes of flesh ink to age them - leaving a darker colour in the fold. The ribbon on the far right book is a very thin strip of red paper glued carefully into place using superglue.


Scrolls can be made from thin card or paper. Choose an appropriate colour and cut a strip about 1/2" wide - this will be the length of the scroll. Roll the strip around a cocktail stick or drill bit to begin with. Then unroll it, and roll it tighter. Don't be too neat - a small offset at each end looks better. Trim the excess when you have a thick enough scroll.

Books & Scrolls

You now have a choice - you can secure the end with PVA, or leave a bit of the scroll showing, and stick the card further back. For open scrolls, add some symbols to any exposed parts. For closed scrolls, secure with a length of cotton or add a wax seal made from modelling clay - roll a small ball, flatten slightly and impress a small drill bit into the centre to give a simple, but effective wax seal.

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