Making a Tiny Accordion Book

"Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it
so that the other half may reach you."
Khalil Gibran

Making an accordion book is simply a matter of cutting paper and folding it back and forth. My books are impromptu and unplanned and messy; I don’t worry about precise measurement or whether the book is perfectly aligned or level. I just like the process of making them! The finished book size will be the height and width of a single folded section, and it will zig zag OUT so that you can exhibit the book and see one side; flip the book and see the other side!

Accordion books are a delight to make and I hope you make a tiny book for yourself. They are addictively cute. 🤣 This is a great project that you can do with zero book-binding experience. In fact, there’s no binding whatsoever! Just small, folded books with so much happy potential! I’ve been wanting to share all of this video content with you but this video has been sitting on my TO DO list because editing videos takes a mighty long time and this is a biggie — the longest non-workshop video ever, at 38:42 and file size of almost 6G.

The accordion book video! [52% inspiration, 46% tutorial, 2% butterscotch ripple]

There are 3 parts to this post.

  1. INDEX CARD VERSION. This is the first half of the video. Construct and paint an accordion book from index cards, washi tape, and paint.

  2. WATERCOLOR PAPER VERSION. This is the 2nd half of the video. Make an accordion book from watercolor paper, and paint. To make it all the more confusing + fun, there are two watercolor versions. One is with pieces of watercolor paper washi taped together; the other is with one long strip of paper.

  3. EXAMPLES + BEYOND. An older video where I walk through a bunch of books created over the years with manila folders, cardboard, etc.

Oh hey!!!! If you enjoy mark-making and playful painting, you’ll love my Tiny Adventure workshop!

The beauty of an accordion book is that it stands on its own on your art desk or kitchen windowsill, delighting you throughout the day!!!! I love that the books have two completely different surfaces to display, like having two books in one. They can be folded up and bound with a delicate ribbon or jute or you can create a closure to hold the accordion closed.

Hopefully this all makes sense when you sit down to make a book. It’s really easy, so let your intuition be your guide — don’t worry about precise measurements, just make the folded sections the same size and it’ll work out. And wonky is good.


Instructions for ICAD Version

Instructions for Watercolor Paper Version #1
[using individual sections of paper]

Instructions for Watercolor Paper Version #2
[using one long strip of paper]

To hold the book closed, stitch or tie a pretty ribbon, raffia or elastic band around the book. After you finish the first book, I bet you'll already be strategizing what you'll do for your second! 

More ideas!

Try embellishing with Neocolor II wax crayons [see my guide/review of Neocolor I and II wax crayons] and pencil scribbles.

A video from several years ago where I walk through an assortment of accordion books that I've created over the years and chat about why I do them. The format is a fun container to house your creativity.


Love this idea?

For more creative explorations, check out The Creative Nudge, with explorations to help you start, revamp, and refresh your creative practice. If you enjoy this kind of painting, join me in my Tiny Adventure workshop!