asking for trouble

Book Hearts bookmark tutorial

book heart tutorial

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, it seemed like a good time to publish my tutorial on how to make my Book Heart bookmarks. I wrote this for Folksy Makes but it’s nice to have all my tutorials here too. The Folksy version has bigger images though, if you can’t figure something out from these smaller ones.

These cute heart-shaped bookmarks are simple to make, needing only a steady hand, some beautiful paper and an eye for detail. They make great gifts for bookworms and can help add a personal touch to a gift of a book token or notebook.

book heart tutorial

Materials required

Sheets of Japanese washi or other handmade paper
Metal heart clips
Sharp pencil (no softer than HB)
Glue spreader
Sharp paper scissors
Marvin Medium, or other PVA glue

A note on paper

For these bookmarks you need to use a quality handmade paper. Japanese washi is perfect because it’s thick, flexible and beautifully patterned. Origami and scrapbook papers are not suitable as the glue will soak through and ruin the pattern. On the other end of the scale, thicker papers and card will be difficult to cut cleanly. You’ll find washi in your local craft shop or search online for Japanese shops.

book heart tutorial

Trace the heart shape

Place your paper on a flat surface, patterned side down. Hold a metal heart firmly with two fingers as shown and draw round the inner heart shape with your pencil. Just leave a gap where the metal joins at the top.

Continue tracing hearts in the same way until you have as many as you need. You’ll need two for each bookmark. If your pencil point starts to wear down then stop and sharpen it or you’ll end up with mismatching heart shapes.

book heart tutorial

Cutting out

Cut out all the heart shapes carefully with the scissors. Try to start at the point of the heart and work round in one smooth cut following the line exactly and joining the gap in a smooth curve. Unfortunately, any mistakes or wobbly bits will be ten times more obvious once it’s glued down.

Once you’ve cut out all your heart shapes lay them all pattern side up. If you’ve chosen an interesting pattern then you should end up with quite different, but complimentary, designs on each piece.

Organise the heart shapes into pairs that look nice together.

book heart tutorial

Side one

Hold a metal heart firmly by the edges between your thumb and middle finger as shown. Apply a thin coat of glue using the spreader. Too thick and it will soak through the paper; too thin and the paper will stick too quickly without a chance to reposition. It’s all trial and error I’m afraid! Don’t worry if you get glue outside the inner heart – it will peel off once it dries.

Place a paper heart on top of the glued area then turn over quickly and reposition it so the metal heart is centered on the paper. Pat lightly until it sticks firmly.

book heart tutorial

Side two

Add a thin layer of glue to this side of the heart, trying not to let any glue pool in the open star shape in the middle then place another paper heart on top. Make sure no white edges show on either side. If the worst happens you can trim these later with a very sharp knife but it’s best just to get it right!

Put your bookmark somewhere flat to dry and continue with the next one. They’ll be dry within 30 minutes but leave them overnight before you use them as bookmarks.


Experiment with different papers. I’ve used washi, vintage maps, metallic stamped paper and gocco printed scraps.

Kits, supplies and readymade

If you’d like to give it a go, why not pick up a Book Heart Kit from my shop, which contains metal hearts and a selection of washi. Or if this all  sounds like way too much effort, then you can just buy readymade ones from my shop!


Please abide by my Creative Commons license – this tutorial is for non-commercial use only. Make as many as you like for gifts but please don’t sell them or this tutorial, or use the name Book Hearts without my permission. Thank you!

Creative Commons License


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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