Binders Keepers create stunning art from old books

By Adrian Perron
Excerpt from our June 2022 issue
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Porter

Five years ago, a cunning aunt taught Chelsea Porter the art of book folding, a meticulous process of cutting and folding pages into sculptural patterns and words. A lifelong bookworm, Porter completed his first drawing in a week: the word “READ,” to display on his bookshelf. Today, the 30-year-old runs a Etsy shop, Binders Keepers, in addition to her work as a receptionist, and she has sold hundreds of works, ranging from decorative loons and lobsters to calligraphic names and dates commemorating special occasions. “When people see these books, they do a double take,” she says. “I give old books a whole new life.” We asked Porter for some literary personalities.


Minimum number of pages a book needs for Porter to do its job. (Hardcovers only.)


How many famous Maine authors own her work (as far as she knows). In 2019, a friend of Stephen King commissioned Porter to fold the name “Georgie” and a paper boat over a copy of Thiswhich was then gifted to the maestro of horror.


Number of Etsy sales Porter has racked up since launching on the platform in 2020. Her page primarily shows examples of her work, as 90% of her projects are custom.


It takes him hours to complete an average project. The more complex ones – like his Tree of Life, which involves a lot more cutting and folding – can take up to 20.

30 years

How many books Porter keeps stacked at any given time, mostly from thrift stores and libraries, for future projects.


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