Collapsible Book Cradle

I was visiting with my friend Elizabeth Rideout this weekend and she showed me this amazing collapsible book cradle she created. She just completed work at Preservation Services at Dartmouth and was recently named the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA.

I’m so psyched for her, but I’ll miss her terribly (clearly MA isn’t VT).

Back to the book cradle. It can be adjusted to accommodate a range of book thicknesses and breaks down to something can be shelved like a book.

Here are some pictures of it:

Collapsible book cradle

Cradle open

Collapsible book cradle

Cradle open wider

Collapsible book cradle



Collapsible book cradle

Cradle pieces

Collapsible book cradle

Cradle collapsed

Collapsible book cradle

Cradle folded

Seriously, this thing is genius.

And who doesn’t like Velcro?

24 Responses to “Collapsible Book Cradle”

By Monica - 3 June 2013 Reply

It’s AWESOME! Giving books the respect and display they deserve. Modest, clean lines. And looks light/portable. Are they for sale?

By Elissa - 3 June 2013 Reply

Monica –

Not sure if they’re for sale – she just finished the prototype. I’ll let her know you’re interested!


By velma - 4 June 2013 Reply

elissa, this is indeed brilliant! it seems that the velcro is a perfect technology for this application. thank you for sharing it!

By Elissa - 18 June 2013 Reply

Velma –

I’m glad you like it! I’m hoping for a tutorial that will allow the rest of us to make one.


By Barbara - 4 June 2013 Reply

This seems very clever and compact. However, I am concerned that the spine of a book would come into direct contact with the velcro when the cradle is adjusted to be open wide. In our library rare book reading room, we’d have to place a cloth or a small, thin cushion in the middle to provide additional protection for book spines.

By Elissa - 18 June 2013 Reply

Barbara –

I passed your feedback on to Elizabeth. I’ll see if she’s addressed your concerns – they seem pretty valid to me!


By Carol Es - 4 June 2013 Reply

This is actually brilliant. Simple, easy to make, easy to store, and it lends itself to a large variety of book types. I want one so bad I could cry. I don’t care the cost, would you make me one? Or, would you show more pics so that we can make them? I suggest you not do that however. You have invented something that is in demand. It is your concept. You should probably patent it! I’m not kidding.

By Elissa - 18 June 2013 Reply

Carol –

I think that Elizabeth is writing up a tutorial that she plans to publish. Trust me – as soon as I get it in my grubby hands, It’s getting on this blog.


By Stephen - 13 June 2013 Reply

Awesome. Please let me know if she is interested in selling these. Thanks!

By Elissa - 18 June 2013 Reply

Stephen –

I’m not sure if they’re for sale – they might just be for use by Dartmouth. I’ll keep you posted if they do end up selling them. They’re so cool!


By Michelle - 3 October 2013 Reply

I made one of these after seeing it here and estimating the dimensions from the photo. It came out great and it has come in very handy as a portable cradle. Thanks for the great pics.

[…] (PLCH), on collapsible book cradles. The workshop came about after our conservator shared images of Elizabeth Rideout’s collapsible book cradle with us and explained how beneficial this would be for the special collections holding libraries to […]

By Peter Bergman - 25 December 2015 Reply

Wow. How do I get one to try with my collection?

By Elissa - 29 December 2015 Reply

Peter –

If you’d like, I can pass along your contact information to Elizabeth, the creator. I’m not sure if she’s planning on making any more of these, but I can find out for you.


By Dan - 18 July 2016 Reply

Wow wow wow, I would absolutely love to buy one of these.

Has the master of this brilliance come out with a tutorial or have any for sale?



By Elissa - 18 July 2016 Reply

Dan –

As far as I know, Elizabeth hasn’t made a tutorial. However Chris Voynovich, a conservation technician at University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Library, was inspired by this post to create his own tutorial. You can find the downloadable directions at the end of this post.

If you want one made by Elizabeth, I’d be happy to send her your email address, if you like.


By Dan - 21 July 2016 Reply

Hi Elissa,

Very cool, so great to see how this has really inspired so many people.

Well that would be great – Thank you for offering. I would love to hear if that’s even a possibility!


By Elissa - 24 July 2016 Reply

Dan –

I sent your contact information along to Elizabeth. Hopefully she’s available to work with you.


By Stephen Morin - 18 July 2017 Reply

Hi, this looks great, what material is used to make the cradle? I need the cradle to be completely black for photographic digitising of the book pages. Any further information would be great.

By Elissa - 18 July 2017 Reply

Stephen –

The cradle is covered in bookcloth – it comes in paper-backed and starched varieties.

You could easily make the cradle using black bookcloth to meet your needs.


By cheryl McCann - 30 December 2017 Reply

Can you tell us a price and where we can purchase this glorious object, please?

By Elissa - 3 January 2018 Reply

Cheryl –

The creator of the cradle isn’t taking any orders, but I can make one for you.

Why don’t you send me an email with your specifications and I can come up with an estimate for you.


By H - 2 March 2020 Reply

Hello Elissa,

Are you still able to take orders for a similar custom made cradle?

Look forward to hearing from you,


By Elissa - 10 March 2020 Reply

H –

I can create a cradle as a custom project. Price can vary depending on size and materials used.

I’ll send you an email so we can start working out the details.


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