Instructions: Threaded Accordion Book for the Wall

Someone has probably named this accordion, but I have not heard its name. It appears to be a simplified version of some of the structures in Claire Van Vliet and Elizabeth Steiner's Woven and Interlocking Book StructuresIt is obviously an accordion, but has elements of slitting, weaving, and gluing as well. It opens like a single flag book, but the weaving adds texture and color to the pages. Its most distinguishing feature, I think, is that it can hang vertically on a wall; you can hide the text and leave the wall hanging as a painting, or incorporate the words as design elements. Perhaps this one is Accordion Book for the Wall. Vertical Hanging Accordion is a bit clunky. Layered Wall Accordion might be another option. And it's not really woven, but more precisely threaded through. Perhaps it should be called Threaded Accordion.

You can use other papers and decorative covering materials and end sheets. In this example I am using one half-sheet of painted Velin Arches and cutting it down. 

Example: 3 1/8"h x 4 1/4"w
Tools: pencil; bone folder; ruler (centering ruler is great for this); X-Acto knife; cutting mat; PVA; small piece of board or small brush for gluing; magazines for waste paper; awl; (optional: needle for threading the hanging loop)
Materials (all paper and boards grained short): Seven 4" x 6" pages; One 2" x 9" strip for accordion; Two 4" x 5" decorative papers to cover boards; Two 4" x 3" decorative end sheets; Two 3 1/8" x 4 1/4" 4-ply museum boards; one piece of ribbon or waxed linen thread, approximately 6-8" long
For optional slipcase: Two pieces of decorative paper, 10" x 5"; one piece of Stonehenge or other printmaking paper, 9 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Using acrylic inks (and gesso), paint a textweight paper such as Velin Arches, Rives Lightweight, Ingres Antique, or Strathmore Drawing. Cut paper to the sizes in the materials list.

1. Fold each 4 x 6 page in half.
2. Measure 1/2" from the open edges and cut a slit that is centered, 2" wide in each of the seven folded pages. You will be cutting through both layers.

3. Fold the long 9" strip into a 16-panel accordion by first folding all the valley folds on the wrong side, then folding back from each end until finished.

Seven slit and folded pages, one 16-panel accordion.

4. Thread the accordion through the slit in the first page.

5. Thread the accordion through the slit in the second page. This is what the opening looks like.
6. Continue threading the accordion through the pages until all seven are connected.

7. Use a small piece of scrap board or a brush and apply glue to the back of the second panel of the accordion.
8. Press the panel in place onto the page.
9. Continue applying glue and pressing down, leaving one panel unglued between each of the pages.

10. Apply a little glue to the inside open edge of each of the pages and press together.
11. Repeat the gluing for the remaining six pages.

12. Wrap the boards. (See page 209, with tip on corners on 207 in Making Handmade Books.)
13. Make sure there is space between the book block and the board for the book to open and close easily, and then glue down the end panel of the accordion to one of the boards.

14. Apply glue to the back of the end sheet and press in place.

15. Glue the other end of the accordion to the second board.
Make sure there is space between the book block and the board for the book to open and close easily.
16. Apply glue to the back of the second end sheet and press into place.

17. Use the awl to poke a hole, centered, about 1/4-1/2" from the edge of the front board.

18. Thread a piece of waxed linen or ribbon through the hole and tie in an overhand knot.

The book, opened completely, ready to hang.

1s. For an optional matching slipcase, apply glue to the back of one of the larger decorative sheets and smooth onto the piece of Stonehenge (or thick printmaking paper).
2s. Apply glue to the back of the other sheet and press in place on the other side,making a sandwich. 
3s. Let dry under a weight for about an hour.
4s. Trim to 9" x 4 3/8".

5s. Measure for a slipcase: the width of the book, doubled, plus the thickness. The thickness of my book is about 1/2". Head to tail: 1/2" + slightly more than the height of the book + 1/2" (Instructions for "Paper Slipcase" in Making Handmade Books on pages 193-194.)
6s. Measure and cut finger notches, centered, on left and right sides.

7s. This one was a tight fit, so I rubbed beeswax on the head and tail of the covers.

Here's another version. You can see how it is cut from the parent sheet. The white gessoed images were stenciled from a hand cut paper stencil (see "Handmade Stencils" in Painted Paper, pages 73-76). This one has a variation of sewing machine sewn page edges instead of glued edges.

Unfortunately, this painted paper cracked when I folded it. A few possible reasons are: the paper grain was going in the opposite direction; the glue was completely dry before I scored and attempted to fold it. Next time, I would fold up the slipcase before it dried completely, which I believe is what I had done with the others.

Here is a third example, in which the painted paper was painted, coated completely with gesso, and then scratched into. (See "Gesso and Sgraffito" in Painted Paper, pages 67-69.)

So many possibilities for this structure: many surfaces, many parts could be changed or varied. Every time you have a new part you have the possibility for more interaction, more color and texture choices.


Anonymous said…
Your tutorial is much appreciated. It gives me inspiration to start my first handmade book project.
dancingangel said…
Thank you for this post. You are helping me with an important project.