This has long been one of my favorite bookmaking projects to do with children, probably because I have a secret love of putting things in envelopes. Our house is full of envelopes in all manner of shapes, sizes and colors and I'm all about putting things in them (and then, of course, driving myself crazy trying to remember where they went). This particular book project is a slightly fancier version of the basic accordion fold, and the extra steps result in a smaller book but also one that has about twice as many pages. The envelope is more like a pocket, really, as it doesn't have a flap. But it's still very useful for storing all sorts of little treasures, and in this case, it holds a lovely little hand-drawn storybook.
What you will need:
- Two pieces of paper, one 7 1/2 inches by 10 inches and the other 2 3/8 inches by 9 7/8 inches. These measurements may seem a little fussy, but using a ruler and a pencil you can get close enough without too much trouble. Thinner paper is best because of the number of folds you'll be doing.
- A glue stick
- A bone folder, popsicle stick or other folding tool
What you will do:
First, the envelope!
Take the thinner strip of paper and set the second, larger piece aside for now.
Fold the strip in half, using your folding tool to make a sharp crease at the fold.
Open the strip of paper back up, and now fold each of the two sections in half, bringing the ends of the paper in to meet the middle fold. Make sure your creases are nice and sharp!
You should now have something that looks like this.
Now, this is where I try to be sufficiently descriptive so that you know what to do next. Unfold the strip, lay it flat and then fold the second square from one end in diagonally so that you have two squares running down towards you, a triangle on top of those, and then one square off to the side. Look at the picture. It helps.
Fold the first square (up top) behind the triangle so that you now have a strip which is three squares high, the top one having a square underneath and the triangle layered on top.
Fold the middle square so that it sits directly behind the square with the triangle.
Fold the remaining, lonely, single square in half on the diagonal so that it is now a triangle too.
Tuck the triangle on the right in between the triangle on the left and the square that sits behind it. Feel free to trim the end of the triangle that it getting tucked if you need to do so in order to make it sit flat inside its "pocket."
Now, I believe that you have a nice little pocket envelope thing. But we need something to put in it, no?
How about a little book?
Lay out your other (larger) piece of paper on a hard, flat surface.
Fold the paper in half in the portrait direction, unfold and then fold both ends of the paper into the middle so that your paper is divided into fourths. Make sure that your corners line up neatly and that your creases are as clean and sharp as you can get them.
Fold the paper in half again, this time lengthwise so that you are folding it into a longer, skinnier rectangle.
Unfold and fold both edges into the middle lengthwise (just like you did when you were folding the other direction).
You can now unfold your paper. It should be divided into sixteen little sections by the folds that you have made.
Now, you'll need those scissors. You can either draw lines where you need to make cuts, or you can just decide where to cut visually. With the paper facing you, you will cut along the vertical folding line on the right hand side. Cut from the front edge, all the way to the third horizontal folding line. You'll do the same for the line on the far left. The middle line will be just the opposite. Cut from the top edge down to the horizontal line closest to you and stop there so that you don't cut through your paper.
Now you've got something that looks vaguely like the picture above, yes?
Fold the paper in half so that you can bring the two top corners together.
Using a bit of glue, paste what are now the two top left corners together.
Stand the book up and lay it out something like this. Feel free to move it around as much as you need to get your pages stretched out in a way that looks like it will allow you to start folding them together.
Starting with the page that is sitting at the opposite end of your accordion from the glued-together page (it will actually be a page that is of double thickness and this is just fine, you'll have a few of these), start folding the other pages around it (making it your middle page), alternating sides.
The page that you glued together will now become your back cover.
Use your folding tool to really reinforce the creases where the pages are folded together.
Now you have a little book with sixteen blank pages, ready for decorating with ideas, stories, pictures, lists... anything!