Miniature Theater Bilderbuch - Christmas Scene Only
12th scale or not 12th scale ?
This miniature book is 12th scale in
relation to the original
(late 1880s) edition that I have
It is larger than 12th scale - when
compared to the modern editions
that I have seen.
NOTE It is not an exact copy of either,
as there is only one scene and I
have had to re-work the
mechanism in order to make it
function with (relatively)
In order to have a mechanism that works reliably, it
is important to make it out of a suitable material.
The antique Theater Bilderbuch were made from
very thick cardboard – and are constructed to use
this to advantage.
The modern editions use much thinner card – and
are constructed to use this to advantage.
My miniature version is designed to be made from
paper – and I usually use the smoothest 100gsm
paper that I can find, but today I am going to
I used -
a very sharp knife
a blunt knife
a metal ruler
Evo-stick wood glue, and a small
my Canon pixma home printer
90 gsm “proofing paper”
(I recommend using the
smoothest 100 gsm paper you
very fine tissue paper
200 gsm paper (for the covers)
100 gsm red paper (for the
I have marked the score lines (neatly) on the pdf.
I hope they will be easy to identify once you have watched
There are two orchestras.
This is so that you can choose whether to have the
(original) large orchestra, or the smaller (roughly
Fold the creases into place before cutting out any of the pieces.
Cut out the interior parts first and remember to cut away from the corners.
I worked from one end
of the strip to the other.
The paper surrounding
the small pieces made
them easier to handle.
Do not forget to cut out the tiny VITAL slot
that is just below the prompter’s box
I find it best to make
the short cuts first.
Here is everything cut out and ready to be assembled.
Without applying any glue –
insert the tab of the scene, showing the father and the children,
into the rear slot of the stage
If you need to
adjust the fit of
the tab in the
slot, resize the
tab and not the
slit in the stage.
Front of stage
Check that the scene sits squarely and is central
this piece is
the front of
are going to
be lined up
Hold the two pieces together,
and apply a small amount of glue between the tab and the stage.
The tabs all
the front of the
I use a “small” paintbrush for applying the water-based glue –
use what works best for you.
This sort of size paintbrush
After gluing, check that the scene is still square and in the right place.
Now repeat the process with the other two scenes -
This is the wrong
these are the
better the end
result will be.
This is the wrong
The mother, daughter and dog should be on top.
When all the scenes are glued into place,
attach the front of the theatre.
Glue tabs in place
To do this –
fold back the tabs and apply some glue to them,
Then slot the front of the theatre into place.
This is optional Cut a piece of fine tissue
paper to size and glue it
over the back of the stage
and the back of the tabs for
This is not always
necessary – the paper I was
using was very thin, and I
wanted to reinforce it.
Check that the scenes, and the front of the theatre still move,
by (carefully) folding them forwards.
There is only one page in this book.
I cut two slits in
the page first.
Then I cut out
the page and
then I folded it
The top of the theatre looks like this.
There is a tab
This edge has
It has to be
Check that it is the same width as the front of the theatre -
I cut an extra
long tab !
There is no
need for this
tab to be
Insert the tab into the slit on the page
and check that they were exactly the same width,
and fit neatly together.
It is so much
easier to cut
Glue the tab into place.
It faces downwards – towards the crease in the middle of the page.
There is now a choice.
There are two orchestras.
The orchestra sits on the thin white line
There are two ways fix the orchestra in place.
ONE - fold
over the very
small tab on
and glue it into
the thin white
Cut a slot to
fit the tab on
work – I think
that cutting a slit
makes a more
If you cut a slot,
you will need to cut a larger tab than is indicated in the pdf
The stage is the last piece
to be inserted into the page.
Position the tab for the stage and make sure that
the sides of the stage are aligned with the side of the page.
The arrows show
the direction of the
Make sure there is
a little bit of stage
Fold up the theatre and check that the edges were straight and that a
tiny strip of the front of the theatre shows here
When you are happy with the fit,
glue the tab into place.
Next the top of the stage is glued into place.
The scenes fold back flat
A little bit of glue on the flaps
Fold the large top flap A
down onto the gluey flaps B
Then (very carefully) check that the stage folds up.
Then apply glue along this flap.
And fold the theatre up again.
When it is opened up it should
look like this.
This flap keeps the front of the theatre straight
and flat and allows it to be folded neatly.
To glue the bottom of the theatre into place.
Place a small amount of glue on the tabs (A and B)
book that I
there is no
slot cut for
Then fold the book up and press everything gently,
but firmly, into place.
Make the covers
Bind the book
When I make these, I cut the covers to fit
each individual book – because they do vary
I will make up a blank cover that can be
You may need to trim this in order to make it
a neat fit for your own book.
There are different ways to bind a book –
some of what follows is not what you would usually be
advised to do.
I used 200 gsm
paper for the
and in this photo
I have glued one
to the (100gsm)
The covers need to be
a little bit wider than
the page and a little bit
shorter that the page.
At this size, I usually
cut the covers to be
the same width as the
book because the
paper covering adds
the little bit of extra
width for me.
Line the covers up on the edge of a ruler
and glue the second cover into place,
leaving a gap of 1/4 of an inch between the two covers.
This gulley between the two covers will be
the “right” width for books made with paper of
up to 100gsm in weight.
If you use thicker paper, you will probably
need to make this gulley wider.
You will need to increase the width of the
additional strip I am about to cut too.
Cut another strip of card.
This is 1/16th of an inch (about 2.5mm) wide
and the same length as the width of the covers.
Glue this strip EXACTLY in the middle, in-between the two covers.
It is not
have this thin
It makes a nice
but it is not
Trim the surrounding paper so that there is a border
of about 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) around the boards.
This is not the
“proper” way to
cut paper for
binding a full –
I do it this way in
because I find
the “proper” way
the corners too
thick an lumpy.
Glue the paper on the long sides into place first,
and made sure that it is securely pressed into the indentations.
When all the edges are glued down and dry,
begin to fold the creases into place.
The cover looks like this when it is completed –
I find using a blunt
knife to score along
the crease lines
makes it easier to
get nice crisp lines
Now glue the page inside the covers.
edge of the
board of the
cover at the
It is easier to see in this full-size version
where the cover boards stop in relation to the pages.
Then glue the illustrations onto the cover.
(You may need to trim these to fit your cover)
Now press the book flat between two pieces of (ph neutral) card
for at least 24 hours.
Afterword I am not going to pretend that these books are easy to make.
The main stages in putting them together break down to look like this –
Print, score, fold, cut
Cut and Assemble Covers
Fit interior into covers
Finish with cover illustrations
It looks like a simple process when it is reduced to a list, and in some ways it is a simple process.
I think, however, that it is a little bit like running a cross country race – there are uneven levels of
difficulty and unexpected pitfalls.
If you have never done anything like this before, I would recommend pacing yourself.
Do a little bit, have a break and then do a little bit more.