This little accordion mini-book or card is one of my favorite things to make. I’ve made quite a few since this one, but it holds special memories because I made it for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. My parents aren’t with us any longer, but I have this little book as a wonderful memory.
These tiny books are so versatile! They can be used as greeting cards, little photo books, tiny journals, etc. They also make great little sketchbooks for kids, or have your child tell a story by drawing a picture on each panel. That helps them learn order of events, and kids love them!
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Accordion books can be as simple or complicated as you like. This one has matboard covers, so it really feels like a little book. The folded book is 3 inches square, (but you can make yours any size you like, just by cutting a wider strip.)
Here’s what to do:
- Cut a strip of cardstock or watercolor paper. Both of those papers are sturdy enough so that the booklet will stand up on its own, should you want to display it. Watercolor paper is nice if you want to paint it, or if you just want that type of heavy paper to decorate, as I did. Patterned cardstock is nice if you want it already decorated. Or just use black or white 12×12 cardstock. Cut the paper into 2 strips that are 12 inches by 3 inches. (This is for a 3 inch square book like mine. You can make the strip wider for a larger book.)
- Mark the strip at 3 inch intervals, and accordion fold (also called mountain fold or fan fold) at those 3 inch marks. I use a bone folder to get a crisp, precise fold, but you could also use a ruler or just press firmly. Attach them together into one long strip, by gluing the back of one folded section onto the end section of the second strip. You can make it as short or long as you like. Mine had 8 panels. (This all sounds much more complicated than it really is!)
- I decorated mine with rubber stamps, and hand wrote the greeting in italic. Then I added the photos. Decorating is the fun part! I used pigment ink for the stamping, which is something to consider if it’s going to be displayed. (Pigment ink doesn’t fade as quickly as dye ink when exposed to the light.)
- If you want covers at each end, you can simply glue a square of cardstock onto each end panel. Or, for a more sturdy cover like mine, cover two square pieces of matboard the same size as your folded book, with decorative paper. To do this, cut a piece of decorative paper a little longer and wider than your cover square. Next, lay your cover square onto the wrong side of the decorative paper. (Trim the corners of the paper so that it’s easier to fold over the cover piece.) Glue the edges of the paper onto the cover piece. Repeat for the second cover. Note: If you want a ribbon tie, glue a ribbon onto the inside of the covers before you glue the covers onto each end of the strip. (So the ribbon is sandwiched between the cover and the book. Make sure the ribbon is long enough to tie.) Then glue the covers onto each end panel. Of course, neither the covers or ribbon are necessary!
Here’s a photo of the book all folded together into a little square. I almost didn’t include the picture, because of how worn and aged it looks now. The decorative paper on the covers originally had rose petals embedded into the paper, but they wore off with time. (I don’t recommend fragile paper for the covers!) But it still makes me happy!
Have fun, and I hope you try one of these simple books!