Make a Simple Thumb Ring Book Holder

Home Woodworking Workshop
Make a Simple Thumb Ring Book Holder


When I saw one of these “thumb ring book holders” (aka a “book ring”) in my online travels, I knew this was something I wanted to make and try out. I have arthritis in my hands and arms so holding books and tablets in bed is always a struggle. For a while, I had one of those clips that goes across the tops of the pages and includes a book light. That worked, but I read fairly fast, so moving it from page to page was a bother.

bookRing_5Making a book ring couldn’t be easier. There are many variations, but the basic design is little more than a small triangle of wood with a hole in it big enough for your thumb. There are also handmade versions for sale on Etsy and cheap plastic rings commercially available. Here a few of the DIY versions I found.

bookRing_1This one is probably the one I’ll make first to test out whether this book holding technique will work for my special needs. It’s made with nothing more than some Sugru and a cut length of Popsicle stick. The design seems a bit flawed, as the stick is on top of the thumb and it looks like it isn’t wide enough to hold the book open very wide. A triangle shape with a low apex seems the most efficient design.

bookRing_3Here’s a version that uses a small PVC pipe elbow for the thumb and the speaker holders from an old set of earbuds as little feet that hold the pages down. You might be able to make this one adjustable which might be handy. This builder even incorporated an LED reading light.

bookRing_4This Instructable is the version I would like to eventually make and is the design that’s most prevalent. There are very basic wooden triangles with a hole in the center, but this design is a little more elegant and follows the curvature of the open pages.

There are plenty of other variations on this theme. Do a search on “thumb ring book holders” or “book ring” and you’ll scoop up plenty of homemade and commercial versions.

Have you ever tried one of these book holders? Have you built one? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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