3D Book Page Tree Sculpture


Introduction: 3D Book Page Tree Sculpture

3D Book Page Tree Sculpture

This tutorial will show you the steps involved in making a 3D tree sculpture from wire and paper. It takes a while but can be completed in a weekend, including the time needed for glue to dry.

What you will need:

- Book pages; Using pages from a book looks especially effective, but you can use other types of paper if you prefer. I didn't count how many I used for this tree but I doubt it was more than 15.

- Wire; Look for wire that is labelled as modelling wire or armature wire. I used 1.6mm diameter aluminium armature wire.

- PVA glue; I used two types - Aleene's tacky glue for general glueing duties like attached the leaves, and Mod Podge matte glue that I watered down for the papier mache stage and also used as a final coating for the tree. Only one type of PVA glue is vital though.

- A plastic container to put your glue in; I used some fruit packaging.

- Wire cutters and pliers to shape the wire; preferably round nose pliers if you have some

- Masking tape; I used painters tape. What you don't want is sellotape that is shiny because then you can't glue anything to it.

- Leaf punch; You could cut leaves out by hand but a little leaf punch is so quick and handy. Plus it's not expensive.

- Paintbrush; A thin paintbrush that is cheap (because you're going to be getting glue on the bristles.)

- Scrap paper; some to bulk up the sculpture, and some to protect your work surface from glue.

- Safety glasses; You are working with wire that has spiky ends so better be safe than sorry!

Step 1: Cutting the Main Frame

Cutting the Main Frame

Decide how big you want your tree to be, and how wide you want the lower branches to be.

Then cut out 5 lengths of the wire so that they are long enough to be the tree trunk and the lower branches.

I bent my pieces of wire to represent how I wanted them to look as the tree shape...this helped me decide on the length. Bend your wires where the trunk will join the lower branch.

My tree trunk was about 12cm (5") high, and the branches were slightly shorter than that. Overall my wire lengths were around 23cm (9") long.

Step 2: Forming the Main Tree Shape

Forming the Main Tree Shape

You'll need to roll up a piece of A4 scrap paper to form the tree trunk shape. You can cut and manipulate the paper to add more shape to it than I did (I wish I'd splayed the trunk out at the base now I look back on it but oh well!

Use masking tape to keep it in the shape you want.

Then add the 5 wire pieces to the paper trunk and secure all over with tape.

You'll want them spaced quite evenly around the tree.

Bend the wires to make them look how you want it to look. You can make the branches more realistic by putting kinks in them instead of leaving them smooth and straight.

Cut off any excess paper and wire.

Step 3: Inner Branches

Inner Branches

Next cut length of wire to use for the inner branches that will expand the tree upwards.

I used 4 inner branches and I wouldn't use any less than that otherwise it will look a bit sparse.

The fuller you want the tree, the more branches you will want.

Put these branches inside the rolled up paper and shape the branches how you want them. Tape the branches into place.

Step 4: Adding Little Branches

Adding Little Branches

Next, I cut out short lengths of the wire and used round nose pliers to add a loop in the centre of each.

I shaped the wire pieces a little and then slid them onto a few of the larger branches of the tree. I added 4 of these smaller branches.

To secure them in place, I tightened the loop around the wire branches and used a bit of masking tape around the joint.

This is the 3rd, and last, 'layer' of branches I'm going to add. If you want a fuller tree you can add more branches, and add even shorter branches to these branches.

Step 5: Paper Mache

Paper Mache

Now it's time to get messy!

Put scrap paper down on yor work surface to protect it from glue. Then, in a plastic container, water down PVA glue to make your paper mache mix. You can use PVA glue without dilution but it gets a bit too sticky and messy then.

So it's best to add a little bit of water to your PVA to make it flow better and not be so sticky. 2 parts glue to 1 part water is the common mix, but I wouldn't dilute the glue any more than that.

Cut a few book pages into strips. Cut off the bank page border first if you'd like no blank paper bits on your tree.

Then put a strip into your PVA mix to coat it, slide the strip between your fingers to remove the excess liquid, and then wrap the paper around your tree.

I started with the trunk first.

Step 6: Finishing the Branches

Finishing the Branches

I rolled up short pieces of scrap paper and slid them to the base of each branch in order to 'bulk up' the parts where the wires meet the tree trunk. I taped these in place, before applying paper mache to the branches.

I found it easier to do a short section of each branch first, then do another section of each branch, then other etc. because this meant that by the time I'd got around to adding paper and glue to the first branch again, it had become much drier so it was harder to get in a gluey mess!

I covered all of the branches and the joints, before coating the whole thing in Mod Podge as a final finish.

I also curled each of the wires at the base of the tree into loops so they didn't scratch the table surface.

Step 7: Adding the Leaves

Adding the Leaves

Next, I cut the border off a few more book pages and used my leaf punch to turn the book pages into lots of small leaf shapes.

I individually glued each one onto the branches until the tree looked how I wanted it to look.

Step 8: Finished!


And there you have it...a finished tree sculpture!

I've seen some amazing ones elsewhere online including a tree with a paper swing hanging off one of the branches, and little hearts in amongst the branches. Maybe I'll attempt that next time :)

Thanks for reading my tutorial, and please let me know if you try it yourself. I'd love to see your projects.

Step 9: Video

And I made a video too, in case you prefer your tutorials in that form instead :)

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Third Prize in the Papercraft Contest 2017

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Question 2 years ago on Step 9

First off, thank you for showing the construction of this tree. I've been looking for this for weeks. I wanted to ask about how you would attach this tree to an open book. I want to make something similar to what I've seen with a bench or the swing. Would you glue the pages together and drill down and put wire down with glue? Thanks for any advice. Michael A


5 years ago

excellent work


Reply 5 years ago

Thank-you :)

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How to Make a 3D Book Mockup in Photoshop

Monika Zagrobelna

If you have a book cover design but the book isn't printed yet, the only way to see how it's going to look after printing is to use a book mockup. The more realistic it is, the better! In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a 3D book mockup using a photo and a couple of Photoshop tricks.

Looking for a shortcut? Head on over to Placeit , where you can create a 3D book mockup without Photoshop by using a book mockup generator . Alternatively, you can try out our book mockup PSDs over on Envato Elements , like the book mockup below.

Hardcover Book Mockup

What You Will Learn in This 3D Mockup Photoshop Tutorial

What You'll Need

You'll need a good quality photo of a book, in high resolution and with proper lighting. Here you can download the one I used.

You'll also need a book cover to add you your 3D book mockup. You can use your own, or download mine .

1. How to Isolate the Book Cover

Open your photo. These glasses will make the mockup more convincing, but first we need to cut them from the cover. To do this, take the Object Selection Tool (W) (you'll find it in the sub-menu of the Magic Wand Tool) and set it to Lasso mode. Outline the glasses roughly.

where to find object selection tool

A selection will appear, but it's not perfect. Some areas need to be added—add them with the same tool while holding Shift . Some areas need to be removed—remove them with the same tool while holding Alt .

automatic selection

When you reach the limits of this tool, it's time to use another one. Press Control-Shift-I to invert the selection, and go into Quick Mask Mode (Q) . Paint with black to add an area to the selection and with white to remove it. Don't worry about the edges that much—at this point, we're mostly interested in the inner part.

selecting with quick mask mode

When you're done, press Q and invert the selection again. Now, we only need a couple of tiny refinements to make the selection perfect. Go to Select > Select and Mask . Set the View to On Black (A) and increase the Opacity to add some contrast to the selection.

Move to the left part of the screen. Here we have a couple of tools that you can use for a more precise refinement:

You can also play with the sliders on the right to see if you can improve the selection edge this way. When you're done, set Output to New Layer with Layer Mask and press OK .

how to refine selection

Add a New Layer under the glasses and fill it with black using the Paint Bucket Tool (G) . This will allow you to see if you missed anything in your selection. Fix these issues by painting on the mask with black and white. Name this layer Glasses .

test selected area on black

We've isolated the glasses, so now it's time to isolate the actual cover of the book. Go back to the background layer. Use the Object Selection Tool (W) again, this time selecting the book only. The selection will be quite bad—don't worry about it, and just use the Select and Mask mode to fix it.

select book quickly

We need to get rid of the pages now. Take the Pen Tool (P) in Path mode and click along the edges of the covers. Ignore the glasses.

select the pages

Press  Control-Enter to create a selection. Then go to Select > Select and Mask . Use Smart Radius and the Radius slider to make the edge less sharp and more natural. Set Output to Selection and press OK .

clean selectin in refine edge

Now press Delete to remove the selected area, and Control-D to remove the selection. Use the Pen Tool (P) again to select the front cover only. Then press Control-X and Control-Shift-V to paste the cover onto a new layer. Name these layers Front Cover and Back Cover respectively.

separate the covers

2. How to Isolate the Light and Shadows

We have all the parts isolated now, but we need one more thing—isolated light and shadows. Let's create the shadows first. Select the uppermost layer and press Control-Alt-Shift-E to create a merged copy of all the layers. Then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate it. Add a Levels adjustment layer and adjust its settings in the following way:

add levels adjustment

Duplicate the desaturated layer and drag it to the top. Add one more Levels adjustment layer, but this time focus on making the weak shadow on the left visible, while keeping the cover as bright as possible. When you're done, Merge each desaturated layer with its adjustment layer with Control-E .

add new levels

Drag these layers below the glasses layer. Add a Layer Mask to the second one and paint over everything except the weak shadow on the left. Then merge these layers and name the new layer Shadow . Change the Blend Mode to Multiply .

add layer mask

Lock transparent pixels on both cover layers and paint over them with a vivid color. This will reveal a problem—there are parts of the glasses that still have the original color of the cover in them. To fix this, hold Control and click the Layer Mask of the glasses layer. Press Control-H to hide the selection, and then take 50% bright gray and paint over the parts that should include the color of the cover. Don't forget to deselect with Control-D when you're done.

lock transparent pixels

Show the Background layer again. If you find any mistakes here, it's a good moment to get rid of them. I used the Brush Tool (B) to repaint the part of the edge that seemed a little wavy.

fix the edge

3. How to Add the Cover Design

Time to add the actual cover! Use the Rectangle Tool (U) in Shape mode to paint a big rectangle. Then Right-Click > Convert to Smart Object . Name the layer Cover Design .

add a rectangle

Lower the Opacity of this layer and press Control-T . Hold Control to drag the corners of the rectangle to make its edges parallel to the edges of the front cover. They don't have to align perfectly, but keep them as close as possible.

adjust the edges

Duplicate this layer with Control-J . Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the lens overlapping the cover. Use this selection to add a Layer Mask . Unlink the Layer Mask.

select the lens

Use Control-T again to adjust the rectangle to the edge distorted by the lens.

rotate the rectangle

Hold Control and click the mask, and then invert the selection and add a Layer Mask to the previous layer. Then reset the Opacity of both of them, and clip these layers to the Front Cover using Control-Alt-G .

clip the layers

Add a Solid Color adjustment layer and clip it to the Back Cover . This will allow you to quickly adjust the color of the back cover.

add solid color

I think we can achieve an even more convincing effect by simulating a reflection in the lens. Duplicate the Cover Design Copy , clip it, and rotate its rectangle slightly. Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Screen and name it Reflection .

rotate the copy

Use a soft brush and paint on its mask with black to make the reflection softer. Press \ to see the mask in red, as in the picture below.

add a layer mask

There's one more color accent left that may clash with the final color scheme. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and fill its mask with black. Paint on the mask with white over the vibrantly colored tail band, so that the adjustment applies only to this part.

add hue saturation

Our 3D book mockup is done! To add your cover design to it, double-click any of the smart object layers and paste your image into their content. If the image has a different format than our template, you can use Edit > Fill and set it to Content Aware to fill the empty areas. When you're ready, just save the file and close it to make it appear on your mockup.

add the cover design

Afterwards, it's good to spend some extra time on adjusting the layers. Changing the color of the back cover is a must, but you can also lower the Opacity of any of the effects to make them subtler, or duplicate them to make them stronger.

3d book mockup final

Now you know how to make a 3D book mockup in Photoshop! You can also use the tricks you've learned today to create other kinds of mockups—after all, they're all about isolating the parts of the image, isolating the shadows, and changing the perspective, and now you know how to do it!

3D Book Mockups

That was a lot of work, wasn't it? If you can't really spend that much time creating your own mockup, you may want to search for a 3D book mockup online, to use some kind of a 3D book mockup generator. If this is the case, you should definitely give Placeit a try—it's an online generator of all things design related, from books to T-shirts, coffee cups, posters, iPads, and even yoga mats!

But if you prefer a Photoshop template, we've got you covered as well over on Envato Elements :

Hardcover Book Mockup  (PSD)

If you want to show your cover in the most appealing way possible, hardcovers are the best choice! This hardcover book mockup is nicely shaded, which will add realism to your book design, and the background is simple and clean.

Paperback Book Mockup  (PSD)

Paperback Book Mockup

Paperbacks can look nice too, especially when they're as realistic as this mockup. It has a minimalistic background, and yet you can see that it's a real background, which makes the whole mockup more convincing.

Multiple Books Mockup  (PSD)

Multiple Books Mockup

The more the merrier! Show a whole pack of your books at the same time with this mockup. This template is highly customizable, including the reflections and shadows.

Hardcover Book Mockups  (PSD)

Hardcover Book Mockups

If you haven't decided yet which view would be the best for your book, try this template—it contains five different mockups showing different aspects of the book. Try them all and pick one—or more!

Square Book Mockup (PSD)

Square Book Mockup

Square books are less popular, so if you're writing one, it's going to be harder to find a good mockup for it. But don't worry—I found one for you, and it's perfect! This pack contains 15 photo-realistic mockups and is highly customizable.

3D Book Mockup & Cover Tutorials

If you're interested in book mockups and book covers, take a look at these tutorials as well:

how to make book 3d art

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The 3D Book Cover Creator You’ll Love to Use

Step 1 Choose a 3D Mockup

Step 2 Select Your Cover Image

Step 3 Download Your Free Mockup

Select the template you want and hit “next.”


Please browse and upload the JPG OR PNG file for your book cover design. Front only, spine if needed.

Save your 3D Image as a JPG, or Transparent PNG if you want to change the background.

Finally , an easy-to-use tool for making book mockups and 3D covers. It’s about damn time.

NEW animated 3D book cover mockup tool

Just for fun I recently acquired a nifty 3D book cover mockup widget you can embed on your website. It's super awesome, looks great and is free. Check it out by clicking the image.

More Free Resources

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English artist Nicola Nobo transforms old books into intricate sculptures by meticulously folding their pages. Each sheet of paper is individually creased, and together, the hundreds of pages create three-dimensional designs between their hard covers. Nobo's excellent craftsmanship, with its even pleats and smooth outlines, makes her lettering, skulls, and animals instantly recognizable.

Though these book sculptures are spectacular, Nobo doesn't typically sell her actual folded creations. Instead, she markets the patterns so you can make them yourself. Her Etsy shop, called Book Origami , has nearly 100 styles to choose from, offering a step-by-step guide for producing the inverted motifs.

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Rendering 3D Book Cover

This tutorial provides a step–by–step guide on creating and rendering a simple 3D hard cover book mockup in Boxshot without any special graphic or art knowledge. All you need is 2D artwork and a few minutes of your time.

You need the 2D artwork for your book. It is easier when the artwork is split into front, spine and back parts, but Boxshot can also handle full–cover images.

In this tutorial we will be using the artwork below:

The artwork comes in three images: for front, spine and back of the book. Here you can download it if you like.

Making 3D Book

Download and install Boxshot if you haven’t done this yet, then start it and switch to Books in the left panel:

Click the Hard Cover Book icon in the left panel and drag it into the scene:

Once the book shape is added, you can rotate the camera by holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse around. You can also zoom the scene using the mouse wheel.

Now open the folder with the book artwork, and drag the front image onto the front side of the book in the scene. Boxshot may ask you how to use the image, select the Texture item from the popup menu. You should see the image applied to the book:

Then do the same for the spine and the back of your book, so you end up with a fully configured 3D book shape.

If you have a full–cover image with both front, spine and back parts on the same image, you will need to enable the Wrap cover image around option and then drop the artwork on the book. Boxshot will use the artwork for all the parts of the book cover.

When all the artwork is loaded, you should end up with something like that:

Finally, you need to adjust the book size to match the artwork. Boxshot doesn’t change the shapes’ dimensions when you apply artwork, so you need to tell it to do so. Although you can manually configure the dimensions using the right panel, there is a faster way: simply click the Fit to images button that automatically resizes the book to match the artwork you uploaded:

Note that if you use a full–cover image, Boxshot will not be able to compute the book thickness for you. In this case you need to configure the thickness manually using the right panel, then fit the shape to images like explained above.

Done! The book is now properly resized to fit the artwork you uploaded. Rotate the scene to check that everything fits well. You might also adjust materials further if you like.

Adjusting Camera

Before rendering the scene, it is worth visiting the Camera panel on the left to review the camera settings and adjust them. Switch to the camera panel:

What you might need to adjust is the Aspect field. The aspect is 1:1 by default, which means a square image. Boxshot shows the working area of the scene using gray overlay and if you look at the images above, you will notice the working area is square. Let’s change it to 4:3 and see what happens:

The gray overlay will get updated and the working area will have different proportions. It is really helpful to define a proper aspect ratio of the camera before rendering, so you render exactly what is needed.

Read more about camera settings here

Rendering Scene

Now we are ready to render the scene. Once again rotate the book to the angle you want to see it rendered. Adjust the zoom and other camera parameters, so the book fits the working area and click the Render button in the toolbar:

Boxshot will open a rendering parameters window, where you can setup the output resolution and other rendering parameters .

Edit the rendering parameters where needed and click the Start button to start rendering:

Once the image is rendered you can save it using the Save button at the bottom:

That’s it! The image is rendered and saved. You can now close the rendering panel and render another angle, or save the project for further usage.

Other Simple Scenes Tutorials


  1. Folded Book Art Turns Book Pages Into 3D Letters

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  3. Artist Repurposes Old Books Into 3D Sculptures By Carefully Folding Their Pages

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