3D printing is responsible for these fantastical ‘book nooks’ that transport you to another world

3D printing is a pretty new technology, but in the few years it has been widely available it’s proved amazingly versatile. Now, it’s being used to create ‘book nooks’ – tiny models scenes which fit on bookshelves.
A book nook
There’s something magical about book nooks. Photo: Rodney Ben

3D printers are no longer expensive or hard to get hold of. They’re cheap, readily available and proven as a versatile means of producing all manner of objects at home.

A thriving community of creators has popped up thanks to 3D printers. People can share their designs online via websites like Thingiverse, literally allowing people to download and print objects wherever they have access to power.

Now, 3D printing enthusiasts have given us something new to appreciate. They’re called ‘book nooks’ and there’s something remarkably satisfying about them.

What are book nooks?

The term book nook has been doing the rounds on Reddit recently. The /r/booknooks subreddit has more than 8,000 subscribers, even though it was created less than two weeks ago.

As their name suggests, book nooks fit between the books on your book shelf. Specifically, they’re miniature scenes, often complete with lights and tiny figurines.

According to a BBC article about these miniature creations, the idea appears to have originated in 2018 with a piece from a Japanese artist called Monde.

As you can see from the tweet below, Monde’s “back alley bookshelf” is a miniature Japanese-style alleyway, which seems to have been made from plywood. It also features a small light, which illuminates the scene from above.

While this early ‘book nook’ was not 3D printed, it has inspired other to create their own. Because 3D printing can easily produce intricate designs with virtually no physical input required from a creator, it has lent itself brilliantly to the world of book nooks.

3D printed book nooks

Once the book nook subreddit gained traction, many other 3D printer owners were inspired to have a go at creating their own book nooks.

Miniature scenes from books and various fantasy worlds seem to be the popular theme on the subreddit.

A 3D Printer
Most book nook creators use 3D printers to make their miniature scenes. Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr

Like Monde’s original piece, many have incorporated small lights which add a magical glow to the creations in low light.

One of the most impressive book nooks we’ve seen so far is a creation by Reddit user Rodney Ben.

His creation, which he called a “whimsical shelf insert”, features a miniature medieval-style alleyway, complete with a potion shop, a tavern and multiple flickering lights.

Talking to the BBC about his creation, Ben said:

“Something about the small scale makes it feel warm and cozy. Each step was a new challenge for me, but with the help of the internet it was a rather straight forward path.”

While book nooks are one of the more creative uses of 3D printing, they show what a remarkable technology 3D printing really is. Something which would have taken many hours to make manually can now be designed on a computer and printed simply printed off.

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