Surprise someone special with this personalized DIY Mother's Day Accordion Book ... it's so fun to make!
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I tend to go through craft phases. For a while, it was knitting (I even had a knitting blog), then it was jewelry and soap making. There were plenty of other phases in between, too.
One thing I was really into for a while was bookmaking. And no, I'm not talking about gambling!
Bookmaking, or bookbinding, is a really fun pastime, especially if you are creative. Books are easier to make than you might think, and they make great gifts. They're also a great way to use up beautiful papers, stickers, and other unique craft supplies.
I still like to make books for special occasions, like my husband's birthday or our anniversary. So I thought it would be fun to make an DIY picture book for Mother's Day to surprise my mother-in-law.
DIY Accordion Book
This is such a fun project!
I love accordion books because of their unique shape, plus there are lots of pages to attach photos and other personal items.
I made this one for Mother's Day, but it would be a great gift for Father's Day or another occasion, too. I also like just making them for myself, because they're so enjoyable to make.
When I start a project like this homemade Accordion Book, I raid my craft supplies and grab anything I think I might use!
Accordion Photo Book Supplies
Here's what you'll need to make this handmade book:
- mat board or book board
- craft knife
- metal edge ruler
- decorative paper (Paper Source has a great selection.)
- 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch printer paper
- Mod Podge
- scissors (regular and decorative edge)
- foam paint brush
- bone folder
- photos and other memorabilia
- other decorative items, such as washi tape, clip art, punches, brads, stickers, gel pens, etc.
How to Make an Accordion Book
Gather all your materials and let's get started!
Making the Cover
Cut out two 3 x 4-inch rectangles from the mat / book board. It's very important to have precise measurements, so measure carefully and use the ruler to guide your craft knife when cutting the mat board.
Next, you'll cover these rectangles with decorative paper. I like to use a really flexible paper (like mulberry paper), since it needs to be folded around the edges of the cover. Any thin, porous paper will work though. Cut two 4 x 5-inch rectangles from this decorative paper.
Using a foam brush, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of one of the mat / book board covers. Center the cover on the decorative paper, then flip it over and use the bone folder to smooth out out any air bubbles.
Next, cut a wide "V" from all corners of the decorative paper (see lower left below). Don't cut right up the the cover; leave about ¼-inch of decorative paper at the foot of the "V".
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to one of the flaps. Use the bone folder to fold the paper flap onto the cover. Smooth out any bumps or bubbles with the bone folder, and then fold up the extra ¼-inch from the base of the "V". Continue your way around the cover until all the flaps are glued and folded over.
The back of your finished cover should look similar to the image below.
Don't worry if it's not perfect. You'll be covering this unfinished side with more paper later.
Creating the Pages
Next, you'll create the pages for your book. Using the craft knife, cut 3 strips of paper measuring 3.75 x 11-inches from the printer paper. Again, make your cuts as straight as possible.
Take one of the strips and fold it in half the long way (see upper left below). Use your bone folder to flatten the fold. Then, take one of the ends and fold it back toward the middle (see bottom left below). Smooth the fold with your bone folder. Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side (see bottom right below). Take your time and make the folds as straight and neat as possible.
Repeat with the other two strips of paper.
You'll connect the three strips together next. Cut two 1-inch wide strips of decorative paper. The length doesn't matter too much, it just needs to be taller than the height of your pages.
Draw a line down the middle of one of the strips, dividing it in half. Score this line with the tip of your bone folder, using the ruler as a guide (this helps to make a precise fold). Fold the strip in half, then flatten the fold with the bone folder. Repeat with the other strip.
If you want, decorate the edges of the strips. I used a scissors with a scallop edge for mine.
Next, lay out your accordion pages end to end (see second row right below), making sure all the pages are laid out the same way. The ends of each accordion should be facing up and should meet the previous accordion.
Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the inverted side of one of the decorative strips, and then align the edge of one of the pages with the strip's fold (the part that's sticking up goes face-down into the fold). Press to attach it, and then repeat with the next section.
Flip the pages over and trim the decorative strips so they're even with the page tops. Attach the other strips the same way.
Assembling the Book
You'll glue the pages to the cover next.
Start by attaching the ribbon to one of the covers (this will be your back cover). Place a line of Mod Podge (it should be about as wide as the ribbon) across the middle of the back cover. Center the ribbon on the Mod Podge and press in place.
Cover the back of the last accordion page with a thin layer of Mod Podge, then center it on the back cover (the decorative strips should be facing you; see the top right image below), over the ribbon. Use the bone folder to smooth out any bumps or bubbles.
Repeat this process (minus the ribbon) on the other side of the book.
If you want, you can cover the end pages with decorative paper like I did below (bottom right) for a more finished look. Just cut the paper slightly smaller than your cover and glue it on.
And that's it, your DIY Accordion Book is complete!
Tie the ribbon in a bow to hold the book together, and admire your hard work!
Ideas for Decorating Your Picture Book
You could stop there, but decorating the pages is the best part.
I'm used a combination of decorative paper, photos, clip art, washi tape, letter brads ("mom" below), and anything else fun that I could find. Get creative!
Before I start gluing anything in, I like to lay out the items for each of my pages. Then, I'll work from the front of the book to the back, gluing things in as I go.
I used Mother's Day clip art for my cover (Google "free mother's day clip art" to find images).
If you need inspiration for decorating your pages, just search for "accordion book". You'll be amazed at all the ideas!
I'm not quite finished, but it's been so fun working on this little book so far.
Plus, this DIY Mother's Day Accordion Book is for my mother-in-law, and I don't want to totally ruin the surprise (she reads my blog)!
By the way ... if you're looking for more personalized gift ideas, make sure to check out my DIY Notepads tutorial, too.
Are you making anything for your mom this Mother's Day?
P.S. Still searching for the perfect Mother's Day gift? I've rounded up tons of Personalized Gift Ideas here!