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June 18, 2007

Tutorial: Basic accordion fold album

Filed under: Tutorial — jackie @ 4:55 pm

A little gift. Enjoy!


What you’ll need:


2 pieces chip board, illustration board or Davey binders board
2 pieces fabric or paper for covers
Heavyweight watercolor or printmakers paper (90-140lb) I like Stonehenge paper. It comes in several colors
Scrap paper for gluing on
Brush for gluing
Craft knife

You can make these little books any size you’d like. Got your math hat on? Here’s my basic formula for sizing.

Take the photo measurements and add 1/4″ to the height. That will be the height of the strips of paper you will cut the accordian.
Add 1/4″ to the paper strip measurement and that’ll be the height of your boards
Add 1 1/2″ to the board height and that’ll be the cover material height.

For the width of the boards add 1/4″ to the photo width measurement.
Add 1 1/2″ to the board width for the cover material width.

For the example:
My photos are 3.5″ wide by 5″ tall.
My accordion paper is 5 1/4″ tall
My boards are 5 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide
My Cover material is 7″ tall by 5 1/2″ wide.

Note: the grain of cover paper, accordion paper and boards need to be running in the same direction.

Cut your boards and smooth the edges with your bone folder to get rid of the little ridge created by the cutting blade. Cut the cover material and set both the boards and cover material aside for a minute.

Cut your strips of accordian paper. Since I use Stonehenge paper for the accordian I like to cut off the deckle edge from the end of my strip.


Next you’ll need to make your scoring marks for folding the accordion sections.
For the example you’ll need to add 1/4″ to the width measurement of your photos. That’ll be how wide your sections are.

You’ll need to figure out how many sections you’ll need. You can put photos on the ends behind the cover or leave them blank.
For the book to present properly you’ll need an even number of sections. For this example my photo is 3 1/2″ wide so I’ll make my sections 3 3/4″ wide. I have 8 photos so I’ll need 8 sections.

For scoring I like to place my paper on a scrap piece of mat or binders board. Using the tip of your folder score a line on your paper at each mark. You can use a triangle lined up with the top edge to make a perpendicular score.


For this example my sheet of paper is only 22″ wide so I need to add two strips together to make a long enough strip to get 8 spaces after folding.

Do this my measuring as many sections as you can from the first strip of paper. After the last space,  Measure for a 1/2″ wide strip and cut off the excess.

Measure the rest of the sections you’ll need from the second long strip of paper and cut off the excess. Now fold your accordion.


To attach the two strips put a line of glue on the 1/2″ tab of strip #1.


Smooth it out with a brush or your finger. Add the end of the 2nd strip making sure the folds are going the proper way when you add on the 2nd strip.



Put you accordion aside and let the glue dry.

Now you’ll need to cover the boards.
Put a piece of scrap paper on your table. Lay a piece of cover material face down on the scrap paper. I like to keep a moist sponge or cloth near when gluing to wipe up any excess.
Apply a layer of glue to the back of the cover material with your brush. Make sure to apply the glue from the center outward so you don’t get glue under the edges of you cover material.

Once you have covered the entire piece with an even layer of glue carefully remove the scap paper from underneath and lay a piece of board on top.

Board on fabric

Trim all the corners approx. 1/8″ away from the board edge and at about a 45 degree angle.

Fold over the long edges first.

Pinch the corners with the tip of your folder.


Fold over the short edges and smooth the edges, corners and front of the cover with your folder.

Before you add the accordion inside you’ll need to add your ribbon to the inside of the cover. Measure and place a mark at the middle point of each side of each board. add about and inch of glue and lay the end of the ribbon on top. Let the glue dry.

Fold up your accordion and put a piece of scrap paper underneath the first section.
Apply a layer of glue with your brush.

Lay the end down on the inside of your board making sure it’s aligned evenly and press with your folder.


Turn the whole thing over and do the same to the other side.

After both sides are done, I suggest you add apiece of wax paper underneath each cover and put the book under a bit of weight to dry for about 30 mins.
That’s it. You’re done.



You can add photos with your favorite adhesive. I use either 3M Positional adhesive, a Xyron machine or a glue call Zig 2 Way Glue.


• • •


  1. Hi Jackie,

    what a lovely leporello! I like it very much. A suggestion from my part: from a professional printing company, I once got leftover rolls with still a few feet of endless paper on them. This is perfect for making leporellos without having to glue the pages. I was told the printers can’t use them because it makes no sense to put in a rest-roll for the printing of large numbers.


    Comment by bookarat — June 19, 2007 @ 5:12 am
  2. Thanks for the tip!

    Comment by jackie — June 19, 2007 @ 3:58 pm
  3. Thanks for the idea. I made 20 books for my little girl to give her kindergarden on her last day. I used it as a songbook. They loved the gift. Now I only have to find something even better to give them when my son starts scool. That’s going to be hard.

    With thanks from Iceland

    Comment by rosabjorg — October 16, 2007 @ 6:42 pm
  4. I’ve linked to your tutorial in my blog.. hope you don’t mind (if you do, i’ll remove it at once!!!)

    Comment by Teresa — November 1, 2007 @ 6:10 pm
  5. wow,,,,its a good example….its so beautiful…………….i love it

    Comment by melis — July 4, 2008 @ 5:43 am

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