The Basic Mapfolds

Our July theme is mapfolds.

The classic mapfolds used in many artists’ books start off from two basic units – one triangular and one square. These basic folds are then adapted to give classic unfolding structures that display the whole sheet flat when pulled open. There are many variations possible but here are the basics.

Triangular Squash Fold

Similar to the “waterbomb” base in origami.

triangular squash mapfold diagram
waterbomb base book example
Units glued into a concertina – each page opens flat

Turkish Mapfold

Taking the triangular squashfold as a base, the points are folded to the center of the open edge – forming a “house” shape.

turkish mapfold diagram

Square Squash Fold

Similar to the “frog” base in origami. Also known as a “Stauche” fold a “petal” fold and a “blossom” fold.

square squash mapfold diagram
squash blossom mapfold book examples
Single unit and combined units.

Hungarian Mapfold

Taking the square squashfold as a starting base the points are folded to the center of the closed edge – forming a “lozenge” shape.

hungarian mapfold diagram
hungarian mapfold evolution

The corner points can be folded further to produce a “house” shape.

From Fold to Book

Build up the individual units into interestingly shaped books. Use glue or stitching to add them to the folds of a concertina or onto book pages. Folding individual prints works well as when open the full expanse of the work may be seen. Units of different sizes can be combined to further vary the possible forms.

turkish mapfold book examples
Turkish Mapfold Units – glued
hungarian mapfold book examples
Hungarian Mapfold Units – glued

The sculptural folds can be displayed in a variety of decorative shapes when closed and open, while retaining the original function of being able to show the larger sheets unfolded flat.

The examples here use square paper but thes folds can also be applied to rectangular sheets or even circles. The units can also be attached at different places to form yet more variations. The example below alternates the units from front to back and is sometimes known as a “dragon book”.

circle mapfolds