How to Make an Accordion-Style Book

Try your hand at a hand-bound accordion book, embellished with metal and ribbon.


Materials and Tools:

2 pieces of 6" x 6" book board or thick cardboard
6" x 24" watercolor paper
2, 8" x 8" handmade paper
12" length of ribbon
3" x 3" thin cardboard
3-1/2" x 3-1/2" watercolor paper
4" x 4" sheet of 30-gauge embossing aluminum, silver*
24 black photo-mounting corners
6 photos
glue gun
hot glue
glue stick
ballpoint pen
bone folder
paper towel
letter template
guillotine paper cutter
metal straight edge

*Do not use foil for the embossing aluminum.


Inside pages (the accordion fold)

  1. Fold a piece of watercolor paper in half, creasing it with a bone folder.
  2. Fold the top piece back toward the centerfold and crease with a bone folder. Turn the paper over and fold the edge toward the centerfold, creasing with the bone folder. You will have three creases in the paper in a zigzag or accordion fold. Note: As an alternative, fold the entire sheet of watercolor paper, then cut to size using a guillotine paper cutter or cut the paper before folding.

Assemble book covers

  1. Apply glue to one piece of the book board with a glue stick. Glue it to the center of the wrong side of one piece of handmade paper.
  2. Miter the corners of the paper and glue them to the inside of the book board with a glue stick.
  3. Fold the edges of paper over the book board and glue down with a glue stick.
  4. Repeat the process for the back cover.


  1. Apply glue to one side of the selected ribbon.
  2. Place the ribbon on the front cover.
  3. Wrap the ribbon around to the inside of the cover.
  4. Repeat the process on the back cover.

Add inside pages

  1. Apply glue to the inside front page of the accordion and glue it to the front cover, smoothing with a bone folder.
  2. Glue the back page of the accordion to the back cover.


  1. Fold a paper towel into quarters. Place the aluminum sheet on top of folded paper towel. This makes a cushion for embossing the metal.
  2. Reversing the design, place a paper template of the letter of the alphabet in the center of the aluminum sheet. With a pencil, trace around the design on the sheet of aluminum. Fill in around the embossed letter by freehand drawing leaves and flowers using a ballpoint pen.
  3. Fold the aluminum sheet around the thin piece of cardboard, mitering the corners and folding the excess to the back of the cardboard. 
  4. Smooth out any rough edges with a bone folder.
  5. Glue the aluminum piece on top using hot glue. 
  6. Attach photos to the inside pages using photo mounting corners.

Karen Hendrickson-Santospago, Boston

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