DIY Project: Handmade Accordion Book.

At first it sounded like a pretty far-fetched plan: get a few mamas together with their toddlers to make some hand-crafted Father's Day gifts...that always works, right? (If you've ever met a toddler, you know that doing anything even moderately productive with them around is probably unrealistic.) But somehow, during our craft session, all of our 18-month-olds (miraculously) entertained themselves with only occasional intervention needed - usually when there were blueberries or raisins involved. One of the crafty mamas is well-versed in bookbinding - she's all-around just super-creative - and took the time to teach the rest of us how to create adorable little accordion-folded books. I took some photos to capture the process in hopes to pass on her creativity.

The materials are simple (and cheap!):

  • glue (Elmer's, glue stick, Mod Podge, whatever your fancy)
  • exacto knife
  • variety of colorful paper scraps (you can use scraps of wrapping paper too)
  • mat board (heavier poster board) for book covers, cut to 3 x 3 inches
  • card stock, cut to 2.5 inches tall x length of sheet
  • book cloth or other heavier-weight paper, cut to 5 x 5 inches

1. Accordion fold your length of card stock, about 2.5 inches tall.

2. Cut your paper scraps in squares to fit the size of the "pages" of your card stock book, creating a 2.5 x 2.5 inch squares (the height and width of each page of the accordion).

3. Paste each of the squares onto the front and back of the card stock accordion. Alternate pages to leave every other page white. Your child can help fill those white pages later if you want.

4. Paste your mat board cut to 3 x 3 inch squares to your book cloth (cut to about 5 x 5 inches).

5. Cut the corners of your book cloth, leaving about 1/8" - 1/4" of cloth at the corner - see photo below for reference.

6. Add paste to one flap and fold it tightly onto the mat board, fold each flap over, using your fingernail to ensure seamless corners. (Do this for the front and back covers.)

Imperfection at this step is okay, since you'll be pasting your accordion over the flaps, hiding any unevenness.

7. Paste the accordion booklet onto the front and back covers.

8. Get out the exacto knife, friends, now it's time for the real fun. Cut out your own special message to the recipient - for us, it was DADA, since this was going to be a Father's Day card. You could also do CONGRATS with this same size, or HOORAY, or MAMA, or HAPPY on the front and BIRTHDAY on the back ...The letters can be pasted over the colorful paper or onto the white pages, it's all up to you and your creativity.

9. Let your wee one go nuts on the white pages. I wanted to leave a few blank pages so the litte man could help make this card special. I sat him down after it was all pasted together and secure. Let it dry for a few hours to ensure things are stable enough to have little hands working on it.

My guy went to town. Again, by some miracle, he was able to keep his crayon action to the white parts and not mess with all the paper cutting work that had already been done!

Another way to go about the process if you want to have illustrations by your child included, is to let them draw on the accordion fold before you paste all the papers on and attach it to the book covers. (Hindsight is 20/20, people.)

I went ahead and signed his name to the card, but really, all the crayon work was the little man's, he was so excited and so proud of his work.

10. If you ended up with some glue splotches and imperfections on your cover, just cut a few shapes from your leftover colored paper scraps and paste them onto the cover. I had a few little glue marks on my cover, and by adding the adorable little hearts it covered the "imperfection" and added a whole lotta love.

And if you're really ambitious, make breakfast in bed for the recipient and set the card on the tray. Even if it's a little lopsided, I guarantee whoever gets breakfast in bed with a handmade card like this will be happy.

If you like this post or just want to say "hi," don't be shy, leave a comment below.

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