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How to Make an Accordion Book

handmade accordion book

A little accordion book is one of my favorite things to make.  I’ve made quite a few since the very first one I made for my parents’ 50th anniversary, years ago. That one holds special memories. My parents aren’t with us any longer, but I still have the little book as a wonderful keepsake. If you’d like to learn how to make a simple accordion book, read on.

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 you or your 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.  The ones I’ve made have matboard covers, so they really feel like little books. Without the cover, they are like lovely greeting cards.

The folded books shown here are 3 inches square, (but you can make yours any size you like, just by cutting a wider strip of cardstock or watercolor paper.)

inside of accordion book
inside of accordion book
accordion book

Here’s How to Make an Accordion Book:

  • 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 calligraphy. You can add photos, calligraphy, or just leave it blank for journaling.  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. 
  • If you want a ribbon tie, the easiest way to do add one is to glue a length of ribbon onto the center of the back of the book, making sure both sides of the ribbon are even and that the ribbon is long enough to reach around the book and tie. Of course, neither the covers nor ribbon are necessary!

Here’s a photo of the first one I made for my parents’ 50th anniversary, years ago, 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!

How to Make an Accordion Book

Have fun, and I hope you try one of these simple books!

This post was originally published in 2012, and updated in 2023.

Linking to:

Life as a Leo Wife, French Ethereal, Thursday Favorite Things, Building Our Hive, Home Matters, The Answer is Chocolate, Creative Jewish Mom, Esme Salon, Create with Joy, Sew Can Do, Sum of Their Stories, Mostly Blogging, Linda’s Lunacy, Wonderful Wednesday, Shabby Art Boutique

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  1. this is adorable Pam! I love mini book & albums! I just learned of a new design for a mini, I'll be posting this weekend. It's amazing all the different styles there are in blogland!

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful keepsake @ Inspire Me Fridays!

  2. This is beautiful Pam! Thank you for sharing at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy. You are one of our Featured Guests! 🙂

  3. This is a perfect idea to give to new parents… snap iPhone photos at the hospital during the event (not the birth… just the happenings before and after! LOL!) and then put together this little book as an impromptu gift! LOVE! So glad to have you at Tuesday Turn About, Pam!

    1. Thanks, Mary! It’s such a fun project to make because it’s quick, yet satisfying! A bone folder is really helpful. Such a simple tool that makes a big difference. (Shop around because when I added that one to the post, I think it was cheaper than it is now!)

  4. I have made a couple of these and they’re so much fun to make. A little more than a card without the time it takes to make even a small album. I look forward to reading your pointers for making them special.

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