My Creativity-Party Accordion Book II: Instructions

Last week, I posted about a book I made to commemorate a gathering of friends and where I went wrong. Here are instructions for how to make the book the right way as well as my way. The separate sets of pages make this book a great choice for group projects such as collaborations or swaps. You can also use this structure for a travel journal that you assemble after you return home.

This book was a collaboration made by my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as "Kathy"
This book was a collaboration made by my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as “Kathy”

For those who missed it, when I put my book together, I realized I’d made a mistake in measuring, and I wound up with a text block that leaned to one side. I made oversized covers and added “danglies” to fill in the space along the spine.

Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans...
Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans…

Here’s how to make the traditional version of this accordion-style book. (Notes for my funky version are at the end.)

1) Make your pages. I cut 90-lb watercolor paper into strips 4.5” x 12” to get two 4.5” x 5.5” pages with 1” left over for a glue tab.
2) Fold. Measure 1” in from one end of the paper strip, score, and fold back. With the tab folded under, line up the end of the strip with the edge of the fold. Crease. This will divide the paper into equal halves*. (If you measure instead, be careful. I didn’t account for the width of my bone folder and got unequal pages.)

Folding the page in half (the tab is underneath)
Folding the page in half (the tab is underneath)

3) Mark your tabs. With the tab to your right, use a marker or pen to draw a “this way up” arrow. Be bold; this tab will be completely covered up when the book is assembled and the arrow insures the finished book’s pages all go the right way.

One prepared section (2 pages) with well-marked tab
One prepared section (2 pages) with well-marked tab

4) Pass out the pages to your friends or decorate them yourself.
5) Glue the finished pages together. Put glue on the front of the tab and lay the next page in the book on top of it, so that the edge of the page lines up with the fold. Once all the pages are together, put the block under heavy boards or books to dry.

Gluing the decorated pages together
Gluing the decorated pages together

6) Make your book covers. Cut two pieces of mat board or heavy cardboard a little larger than your book pages.** I like 1/8” extra along the spine, top, and bottom, and ¼” extra along the front edge. Decorate the outside of the covers.
7) Glue on covers. When the text block is dry, glue the front cover to the back of the first page. Cut the tab off the last page before gluing it to the inside of the back cover. Add a ribbon tie by laying the ribbon vertically between the back cover and last page before you glue them together.
8) Dangly time! (You can add danglies to either version of this book.) Use, ribbon, fabric, paper, buttons, beads, feathers, tags, found objects, whatever you want, and make danglies – pieces that are long enough to stick out past the edge of your book cover after you attach them behind the spine edge folds of your accordion pages. In my haste (this was so much fun, I couldn’t go fast enough), I used double-stick and masking tapes. If your book will be handled much, take the time to use something more permanent, like glue.

My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.
My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.

*To get a funky trapezoid like mine, just make the fold between the pages consistently uneven, e.g., always fold the edge to 1/8” above the tab fold.
**The covers of my book cover the entire trapezoid. I just measured across the longest distance from spine edge to fore edge.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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