Fabric-covered concertina book: finished, closed view

At last, the concertina book (or accordion book) tutorial folks have been asking for! Keep in mind there are much more intensive and exacting ways to make these little books (for example, with acid free materials and reinforced corners); This is meant to be a quick, fun and inexpensive little project.

Fabric (for this tutorial, you’ll need 2 pieces, at least 5 1/4″ x 5 3/4? each)
At least one 9″ x 12″ sheet of paper (for the pages)
Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue (I love this stuff)
Heavy card stock (for the covers)

First, make your inner pages. For this tutorial, I used one sheet from a 9×12″ sketch pad. The finished book is 4 1/4″ x 4 3/4″.

Cut the sheet as shown in the diagram, then fold each half into three panels. Once folded, they’ll end up about 4″ x 4 1/2″ in size.

Super simple accordion pages

Take your two folded pieces and glue them together. You can do this with as many sheets as you like, depending on how many pages you want in your book.

To glue the pieces together, apply the tacky glue and spread it to prevent lumps. Make sure you get glue to the corners and edges (I’m going to say that a lot).

Make concertina book pages: pour the glueMake concertina book pages: spread the glue

Glue the panels together as shown. You can add as many pages as you want this way. In the photo below right, I’m burnishing the pages by gently scraping my ruler over the stack. This helps keep things flat.

Make concertina book pages: glue the sections togetherMake concertina book pages: burnish the pages

Now you’re ready to make your front and back covers. Start by cutting out your cardboard and fabric.

Fabric-covered concertina book: cut your cardboard and fabricFor cardboard, I use old sketchpad backings—the thicker ones. It should be pretty sturdy so your covers won’t flop or curl. If you’re concerned about durability, ask at the art supply store for acid free card stock.

The card should be 1/8″ bigger than the pages on each side, so for this project cut it to 4 1/4″ x 4 3/4″.

For the fabric, you need an extra 1/2″ on each side, so cut it to 5 1/4″ x 5 3/4″. This part isn’t rocket science; You don’t need to be super precise, but make sure you have at least 1/2″ of extra fabric.

Pour the glue on the card and spread it as shown. The corners and edges are the most important.

Fabric-covered concertina book: pour the glueFabric-covered concertina book: spread the glue

Place the card sticky side down on the back of the fabric. Always glue flat items from the edge first. This gives you a fairly good idea of position before you’ve got the whole thing stuck down. Then gently burnish away any lumps or bubbles.

Fabric-covered concertina book: glue the card to the fabricFabric-covered concertina book: burnish the fabric


Cut away the corners of the fabric. Cut at a slight angle so your flaps are tapered as in the photo below right.

Fabric-covered concertina book: cut the fabric cornersFabric-covered concertina book: all the corners are now cut


Add glue to one edge of the card, and spread it toward the corners and edge.

Fabric-covered concertina book: add glue along the card edgeFabric-covered concertina book: spread the glue to the edge

Gently pulling the fabric to take up all slack, pull the flap over the edge of the card and press it down.

Fabric-covered concertina book: fold edges over

Once all the edges are down, your cover is done! Repeat these steps for the second cover. Then you are ready to attach the pages.

Apply and spread the glue to the front page (that’s called the end page in bookbinding lingo).

Fabric-covered concertina book: all edges are downFabric-covered concertina book: attaching the pages to the cover

Attach the glued end page to the ugly side of your covered cardboard. Again, start by placing down only the edge. Once it’s down, give it a burnishing.

Fabric-covered concertina book: position the end pageFabric-covered concertina book: burnish the end page

Repeat with the second cover, and you are done!

Fabric-covered concertina book: finished, open view

The fabrics I used for this tutorial are Mini Argyles and California Oaks, available in all sorts of colors. Click the images below to buy these designs on Spoonflower.

Fleur d’Pea fabric design on 8″ swatch

Combed cotton, canvas, knits, silk and more; Starting at $17.50/yd.
Learn more or purchase now.

Teeny Tiny Argyle: Reds and Pinks fabric

Combed cotton, canvas, knits, silk and more; Starting at $17.50/yd.
Learn more or purchase now.

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3 Responses to How to Make a Fabric-covered Concertina Book

  1. Janet Zweber says:

    Lol…Putting little lights into fabric would be a good next tutorial!!

  2. Penina says:

    Thanks, Janet (aka joon :-)! That’s helpful to hear.
    I’d like to do more tutorials. I’m realizing there are skills I take for granted that turn out to be what other people would appreciate a little help with.

  3. Janet Zweber says:

    Hi Penina!
    A great tutorial!! Very precise and easy to follow!
    And what a cool way to use fabric swatches!!

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