Cake Box Books

I got the idea to try making Cake Box Books from Esther K. Smith in her delightful and informative book, How to Make Books.  If you are interested in the art of book making, I highly recommend this book.  The instructions are laid out logically and come with illustrated diagrams.  There are a wide range of books to try for every book making skill and interest level.

Another delightful aspect to this book is the commentary and stories included with the  description and instructions for each book.  The following is from the section on the Cake Box Book:

“I began seeing box covers sewn into books in 2000.  At a time when high craft and the preciousness of artist books seemed like the macramé of the nineties, these frank, simple, funny books were fresh and unpretentious.  I have not thrown a box away since, and they are piling up.  I like cake-mix boxes especially, with their tempting serving suggestions and glistening frosted cake slices, but you can use any box that is about the size of a hardcover book.”  -Esther K. Smith

E5FE73A5-0F4C-4E20-B5DE-A3AC46BF1D13    FBB784E1-4E18-4ADB-9C2C-5B6408552854

The first Cake Box Book I made was not neat and elegant.  I was so worried that if I didn’t have lots of holes for sewing the spine into the cover that the book would fall apart.  I didn’t trust the instructions or my abilities.  I ended up making a lot more work for myself.  It turns out that four holes recommended by Esther K. Smith are the perfect amount and will align and hold the codexes (groups of pages) firmly in place.  Each Cake Box Book I made, the process became easier.  It was through trial and error that I got to a point where I began to trust my abilities.


In fact the process has become fun for me.  I have learned to relax and enjoy the creative process that it takes to make a Cake Box Book.

There are many creative processes.  It doesn’t matter what you are trying to learn: creating a Cake Box Book, painting with acrylic paint, sewing an apron, baking a cake, riding a bike, knitting a sweater, making paper, playing the piano….  We all start as beginners.  We learn through trying things.  Some of it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  It is only through practice and experimentation that we become comfortable with the process.  Once we become comfortable, we can have fun with the process.


I challenge you to learn something that you have wanted to do.  It may require taking a class, doing research, reading a book, finding someone to teach you.  Whatever it is, take the time to learn and become comfortable with the creative process.