Create an Accordion Book

How to Create an Accordion Book


Accordion books can be used to communicate in a variety of special ways... with words, without words, artwork, photographs. Will your finished book be a gift for someone or a piece of memory for yourself?

I did this workshop with 12 women ranging in age from 40 to 80 years old. We had a lot of fun! These ladies were adorable and so enthusiastic and appreciative. It was such a warm and satisfying way for me to spend my time. The two hours flew by.


  • 2 pieces of bookboard precut to 4x5 inches for each participant
  • At least 2 each of an assortment of 6x7 inch pieces of decorative papers to cover the bookboard
  • A variety of colorful ribbons for the participants to choose from for their accordion books
  • Each participant will need one 18 inch and one 12 inch piece of ribbon
  • PVA glue and individual plastic cups to hold glue for participants
  • 12-15 paintbrushes for glue
  • 6-8 brayers for adhering decorative paper to cover bookboard
  • long pieces of good quality watercolor type paper which will be cut to size and used for the accordion part of the book
  • individual scissors for each participant
  • Newspaper to protect work surface

Step by step guide:

  1. Set up by placing two pieces of bookboard along with two pieces of decorative paper to cover the bookboard at each participants work area, along with a small dish of glue, paintbrush, scissors, and place the finished accordion sample books in the middle of the table for ideas. Have newspaper at each participant’s area to work on.
  2. Have everyone take a place at the table in front of a decorative piece of paper that appeals to them. Once they are seated they will be encouraged to look at the sample accordion books and discuss or plan ideas for the design of their books. Allow them 15 minutes to talk among each other, change their paper selection if so desired, and to choose a complimentary ribbon that they feel goes well with their paper choice.
  3. Apply layer of glue evenly to one side of one of the bookboards.
  4. Place bookboard, with glue side down onto the wrong side of one of the pieces of the decorative paper making sure to center it so there is a border. Turn the board over so the paper is facing up, and using a brayer roll it over the paper to securly flatten out any wrinkles.
  5. Apply an even layer of glue to all four borders on the wrong side and fold them in to cover the board.
  6. Repeat the same process for the second bookboard.
  7. Measure with a ruler, and cut long strip of watercolor paper to be used for the accordion. Length is determined by however many folds you want your book to have.
  8. Using one of your decorated bookboards fold the watercolor paper in an accordion fashion over the book to line up the folds with the book cover.
  9. With the inside of the bookboards facing up lay them side by side.
  10. Glue the end of the 18 inch piece of ribbon coming out from the left side of the left board, and the 12 inch piece coming out from the right side of the right board.
  11. Glue one end panel of the folded accordion paper to the left board, and the other end to the right board, using the brayer to securely attach.
  12. Close the book and try tying the ribbon around it to secure it closed and observe the finished product.