Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Make an Accordion Booklet

Today I made a small accordion book. Actually, I had painted the inside paper a few days ago, and the watercolor paper that I used for the cover eons ago, and pulled it out of my stash because the colors went together pretty well. It's easier to make a spur of the moment book if you have a good paper stash to pull from. I prefer hand-painted papers to scrap-booking papers, but those are okay too, if that's what you have. (Hint: even papers you think are ugly can surprise you by looking really good in a book.)

Here's how to make a simple accordion book, for anyone who doesn't know. At least, this is how I made this one. First, I had this piece of paper that I really wanted to do something with. (The 'itch'.)

I found a quote and decided that instead of a broadside, I'd make a book. (The 'inspiration'.) I folded it into an accordion. To do this, simply fold the strip of paper in half, fold over each edge to allow tabs for gluing to a cover. (You can also allow two extra pages for this, but mine was a thin strip of paper and smaller is fine for a smaller book. I folded over about an inch on each end.) Take folded book edge and fold up to the tab folds. Repeat for each side. Keep folding end to end, one step at a time until completed. In other words, you will have two tab ends of whatever width you allowed, and you will have an even number of equal-sized pages.

Click on photo to see notes a little larger.

Then, I remembered a favorite poem, Shel Silverstein's "The Little Boy and The Old Man." I decided it would go better with the lighthearted colors in the book pages than the more esoteric quote I'd picked out earlier.

I quickly decided that I could fit all the words onto the skinny pages. (The 'plan'.) I didn't do a layout, but am now considering this to be my layout because I will likely re-do this book with more care in the lettering and layout.

I mixed two colors of gouache (opaque watercolor) that I knew would look better with the watercolor pages than stark black and would show up better than white. (The 'design'.) I lettered my poem freehand in simple letters with a pointed pen guide lines. Also no 'dummy' except the one holding the pen. I should have practiced on plain paper for better layout. I am always in a hurry. (The 'fool'.)

For this book, because it was so small (about 1.25 inches by 4inches), I simply doubled over the watercolor paper to make covers. I cut two 2 1/2 inch by 4 1/4 inch cover pieces and folded each in half, ending up with 1 1/4 by 4 1/4 covers. The inner pages are a tiny bit smaller than the covers.

I put it together without gluing first to assure myself I was headed in the right direction. I have been known to glue the pages in backwards...not good, but not fatal - it allows an opportunity to change the plan. (The 'optimist'.)

I decided to add a ribbon tie. (The 'embellishment'.)

I placed the covers on a piece of plastic wrap (any scrap paper will do) and coated with PVA glue. White school glue will work, but PVA 'grabs' faster. I triple checked the placement of the accordion into the front cover before inserting it along with a length of ribbon. I repeated the process for the back cover. (The 'messy part'.) Note: a good glue stick can sometimes be used instead of white or PVA glue...if the papers are thin a glue stick can even work better. UHU brand is the best I've found.

For this booklet, because I'd doubled over the watercolor paper, the opening edges of the book cover are the folded edges. The tabs were inserted into the cut edges, along with the ribbon ties. These are on the spine side of the book.

I hope these instructions are clear. Make a plain paper sample first and follow my instructions with the plain paper accordion for practice. It's really easy, and you can make them as elaborate or as simple as you'd like. You can also glue pages together to make the book larger. (The 'encouragement'.)

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