Several years ago, Bonnie Thompson Norman excitedly sent me a book she had made and designed. I included the instructions for it, which I sometimes refer to as "Bonnie's Ladder" (featured as Woven Accordion), in Making Handmade Books. Her original has eight panels. It is a little stiffer to work than the wooden child's toy, but interesting all the same. Ed Hutchins had used this structure previously, but Bonnie hadn't seen it. A year or two later she sent me one with four panels. Having just made seven of the latter as valentines, I see the two-panel version now as a "flexaccordion," a cross between a regular accordion fold and a flexagon. Instructions for the eight-panel version are on pages 135-136 in Making Handmade Books.

I cut my own stencils from frosted Mylar. Instructions for stencil-making may be found in Painted Paper on pages 70-77. I found that the small flat brush worked well for the smaller, more detailed stencils, the stencil brush was best for large areas of color (acrylic paint and gesso). Shown also are some metal French alphabet stencils, which are very nice to use and washable. I like the crow quill pen dipped in FW acrylic ink for hand lettering.

Front cover: white gesso and gold gesso

First opening: cards with rounded corners
"I / flip"

Flex the book and find the second opening
by pushing the valley folds together with your fingers
and pulling the center apart with your thumbs
"4 / U"

Back view


I like this version of the accordion book!