Many of us now use our phones and tablets for photo viewing and virtual scrapbooking- but sometimes, you need a little paper joy to share with others.
Here is my take on a quick and easy project to make an accordion fold album that is just the right size for Instagram photos and other little photos or paper tidbits.
Here it is open – you can either flip pages like a book or expand it out.
You can make this project with a few pieces of chipboard, a half a piece of patterned 12” scrapbook paper for the outer and inner covers, and one piece of 12” solid color cardstock (medium or heavy weight) for the accordion fold.
You could also use a patterned piece of cardstock for the accordion fold but make sure it is medium or heavy weight cardstock so that it will hold the weight of your photos or other flat memorabilia.
I used this wonderful little accordion fold album here as the foundation for my book and fiddled with it until I came up with the project I am sharing.
The dimensions on my mini are: 4.5” x 4.5”
Want to make one or a whole bunch? Here’s what you will need to gather to make one.
- Heavy Weight Chipboard
- Glue Stick (I prefer Tombow’s Mono Glue Stick)
- One sheet of 12” square patterned scrapbook paper for your cover. As an alternative, you can use four sheets of 6” patterned paper
- 1 sheet of 12” square solid color cardstock for your accordion fold
- 30” length of ribbon
- ScorPal tape or other strong double-sided tape
- Optional – metal eyelet
- Paper cutter, trimmer, or scissors for chipboard and paper
- Score board
- Bone Folder
- Crop-a-dile or Eyelet setter if using eyelet
Step 1 – Cut two pieces of heavy weight chipboard 4.5” tall by 4.5” wide. With a pencil, mark the vertical direction with an arrow in the center of both the front and back covers of the chipboard. This will help you ensure your pattern paper gets adhered in the direction you want.
Step 2 – Using your patterned paper, cut two outer cover pieces 5.25” tall by 5.25” wide. Cut two inner cover pieces that measure 4 3/8” by 4 3/8”.
Step 3 - Use your glue stick to apply a good layer of glue to your chipboard front cover piece (note: if you use liquid glue you are more likely to get bubbles from gluing. For those serious bookbinders with PVA glue, I still prefer a glue stick with scrapbook paper but you know what is best for you.)
Step 4 – Place 5.25” square patterned paper right side down (wrong side up) on a firm surface. Take the gluey-side chipboard cover piece and center it on the patterned paper (the patterned paper is wrong side up and the gluey side should be facing down). Adhere. Flip over and use your bone folder to burnish your cover. Repeat the same process for the back cover.
Step 5 – Using your ruler and a pencil, mark a 45 degree angle on the patterned paper about 1/8” from the edge of the chipboard at each corner. Trim off the “ears”.
Step 6 – For each cover, very lightly score around the edge of your chipboard piece. Use the side of your bone folder to push the edge of the patterned paper over the edge of the chipboard.
Step 7 – Add glue around edge of chipboard and fold the paper in to cover the chipboard edge. Hold edge while glue dries and then move to next edge. Here is a peek of the work in progress. Repeat for the back cover piece.
Step 8 – If you are adding an eyelet, use your Crop-a-dile or eyelet setter to set an eyelet about an inch from the right hand edge of your front cover. Remember to check that your pattern paper is heading up and punch your hole from the front. If you are not adding an eyelet, you will simply extend the ribbon out on both sides of the chipboard in Step 9.
Step 9 – Lay front cover patterned side down on a firm surface with the eyelet to the right. Find the center of the cover and make a mark. Adjust ribbon so that the end going towards the left (eyelet side/right front side) measures 12”. Adhere ribbon to the inside of the front cover using ScorPal tape or other strong double side tape. In the photo below, the eyelet is pictured on the left because the cover is face down.
Step 10 - Center and adhere the inner front patterned paper on the inside covers.
Step 11 – Using the solid color cardstock, cut two 4” wide strips (12” long) and score at 4” and 8”. Accordion fold the two strips.
Step 12 – From the remaining color cardstock, cut a 1” wide and 4” tall strip from the remaining cardstock. Score down the middle and fold in half. Place quarter-inch ScorPal tape on the two inner sides of the folded piece.
Step 13 – Remove one of the paper cover strips from the ScorPal tape, line up accordion strip and adhere to end. Remove second piece of paper cover strips from the ScorPal tape and attach to second accordion strip. This joins the two 12” strips together.
Step 14 – Arrange accordion fold so the first and last folded edge is on the left. Place a generous amount of ScorPal tape on the first and last page. You can check to see if this is correct by flipping through the accordion fold like a book (pages will flip left to right). You should have 3 folds on the left and 2 folds on the right.
Step 15 – Place back cover face side down and line up accordion fold so the fold edge is along the vertical outside edge of the cover along the edge of the inner cover paper (do not remove paper tape covering yet). The accordion fold should be centered top to bottom (1/8” of the inside patterned paper wrap visible). There will be about a 1/4″ inch space to right edge (as you look down). Open up the fold and adhere the back page to the inside back cover.
Step 16 – Place the two covers open side by side with the cover with the attached accordion fold on the right. The ribbon from the front cover should extend underneath the back cover. Take the front cover and practice aligning it with the accordion fold. You should have a nice clean folded edge right along the edge of both covers. When your covers are in a straight line and you have verified that the accordion fold is along the outside edge of the back cover, you are ready to remove the paper covering from your tape. Once removed, place your front cover directly on the accordion fold (in a nice even movement keeping alignment with the back cover). Your covers should align. Press firmly.
Step 17 – The ribbon from the left side of the front of the book wraps around the back of the back cover and keeps your book together. Tie the ribbon and trim as needed.
Step 18 – Decorate the front of your book. You can also decorate the front and back pages of your accordion fold and add pockets and tags if you want. You can use your electronic die cutter (like a Cricut or Silhouette), make your own embellishments, or use a paper company’s embellishments. Add a name, initials, date, tag, or flower. Have fun!
I used my Cricut Explore and the awesome Small Talk and Frames cartridge to embellish this accordion fold mini album. The first one used embellishments from my Noel Mignon kit (less the polka dot ribbon). On both, I added punched foliage (using a punch bunch). You can finish your inner pages to add pockets or patterned paper mats.
Here’s a great tutorial on another small book that uses signatures instead of an accordion fold.
Edited to correct step 15.