Thursday, 7 January 2010

Concertina Mini Scrap Album Tutorial Part One

Hello all Friends!

Well, here is the promised Tutorial.  This shows how I made a mini scrapbook. It has a concertina spine, with expansion room for photos and embellishments. 

The papers used for this one are from a range called "Nonsense" by We R Memory Keepers.  The cover paper is called "Bling Bling" and has glittered parts - it's pretty fab.  The book is fastened with a length of ribbon, that wraps round the whole book and ties at the front.  There's a fabric flower embellishment on the cover. 

I'm pleased with this and have listed it in my Etsy shop.  I have another one on the go at the moment, which will be ready for the shop later on.

Here we go then :

Mini Scrapbook with Concertina Spine and Ribbon Fastening

Materials and equipment

You need this equipment - Metal ruler, pencil, rubber, glue (pva is good as it's strong but not too wet), scoring tool - or use pointed scissors like those above - and smoothing tool. Also a paper cutter and craft knife. 

Ten pieces of double-sided cardstock, cut to size (mine were 6"x6").  Or cut 20 pieces of single sided paper or cardstock and glue back to back.  The papers I used were from the "Nonsense" range, by We R Memory Keepers.

Four pieces of cardstock for covers - two outsides and two linings, plus two pieces of card to stiffen.  Cut these at least the same size as the pages, or possibly a tiny bit bigger.  My covers were 6" x 6".  The fronts were of glittered, patterned cardstock and the linings were plain chocolate coloured, from the same paper range.

A piece for the spine, as high as the covers and 12" long.  Mine was 6" x 12".

Embellishment for the front cover (not compulsory!).  Some ideas are shown - there are flowers made of leather-effect fabric, with a button centre, felt flowers, shaped and plain brads, which could be used to fasten the felt flowers, metal "gromlets".
A length of ribbon to fasten the book.  This needs to be long enough to go all the way round the book, allowing room for the spine to expand, plus sufficient to tie at the front in a bow (my ribbon was about 24 inches long, for a 6" wide book - ie. four times the width of the book cover).

* * *

How to Make the Book


On the In-side of the long Spine paper, mark at 1/2 inch intervals with a pencil. 
Take care to do this at least three times down the paper, being as accurate as you can. Errors in measurement will affect the shape and quality of your book.

Score carefully at each set of markings, from top to bottom of the paper.

If you don't have a scoring tool, use the side-edge of a pair of small, pointed scissors.  Don't use the point though, or it will tear the surface of your paper. My small scissors are my favourite scoring tool!

Here you can see the scored lines, at 1/2" intervals.  I rubbed out my pencil marks after scoring the lines.

Now fold the whole sheet along the crease lines, in a concertina fashion, using a smoothing tool to make the creases sharp.  Be careful to line them up correctly, as errors in the folds will cause your pages to "twist" out of alignment.
Note that the folds for the front and back covers are actually one inch wide. The photo here shows the first fold as 1/2". I opened this out again afterwards! 

Here you can see that I have opened out the first crease, making a one inch tab for the cover to be fixed onto.  Do the same at the other end (or just don't crease the last one).
The reason I creased it in the first place, was to help me get all the creases straight and level. You may be clever and able to cope with a 1" piece at the beginning, but I find this the easiest way to do it!

Here are two spine-pieces, for each of my books.

* * *

The Back Cover

The next step is to make and attach the back cover.  The whole book is assembled from the back to the front.

Glue the reverse of the Out-Side cover.  If you use PVA, as I did, you don't need to cover every inch of the paper, as it's quite sticky. However, if your paper is thin, or your glue is very wet, you will need to apply it all over, in a very thin layer, or the paper will shrink unevenly, giving you unsightly bubbles when dry.

Line up the stiffening card and the cover paper. Smooth from the back, to make sure it sticks evenly.  At this stage, if your cover paper was thin and you used wet glue, you may need to leave this to dry, with a few heavy books on top, so it dries evenly, without creasing or bubbling.

Do Not attach the cover lining paper at this point.

The back cover, face up.

Glue the 1" tab at the right-hand end of your concertina-spine.

Carefully line it up with the card reverse-side of the cover.

Smooth carefully, to make sure it is well stuck.  This is a view of the inside of the book.

Here is the outside, showing the back cover and the concertina-folded spine.

Now apply glue to the back of the cover lining.  Carefully line up with the edges of the cover and stick in place, smoothing down well (this is the inside of the back cover).

What to Do if you Stuck the Lining in Too Soon!

If, like me, you make mistakes, you may have hurried ahead and assembled the whole back cover, before realising you needed to stick it to the spine before you put the lining on!

Here is what to do about it.  This assumes your cover and lining papers are quite stiff and that they were stuck with PVA.  Otherwise, see below for other ideas!

Very gently, slide a creasing tool, or knife blade between the lining and the stiffening card, separating the two layers for just over an inch. 
Glue the concertina tab to the card, then apply glue to the back of the concertina tab.

Carefully lay the lining back on top of the tab and smooth well. 

If you can't separate your lining from the card, without wrecking it, I suggest you attach the tab to the inside of the cover. If you think it looks ugly, then cut a new piece of lining paper and stick it over the top. Then no-one will know!

* * *

End of Part 1

As this tutorial is so long, I am splitting it into two parts.  In the next part, I will show how to attach the pages and front cover. Also how to embellish the cover and attach the ribbon to fasten the book.

I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 and been able to follow the instructions okay.

Find Part 2 Here! 


  1. I LOVE this lizzie. Your tutorial is fab and very easy to follow! Will definitely be trying this out! xxx

  2. This is looking good! Can't wait to see Part 2 :o)

  3. I've enjoyed it so far! :-) All very clear, thank you. Looking forward to part 2! x

  4. thanks Lizzie - instructions are very clear. Love your paper choices. I use by paper cutter for making a groove to fold - line it up then run a blunt tool along the 'cutting gutter' - only way I can get it straight.

  5. Helena, that's a great idea!

    I just remember that I have a scoring blade for one of my paper cutters. As I recently bought a bigger cutter, perhaps I should keep the scoring blade on the old one permanently!

  6. Love your blog! I was just about to question different book makers about glueing and covers. You answered every question!

    On the four pieces of card stock for the covers, did you glue two together for each cover and does it matter about covering the edges with the papers? Thank you!

  7. I didn't see it written down, but do you wrap the outside cover paper around the edges to hide them? I'm very new to this.

  8. Hi, Rookie Bebe! Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments about my book tutorial!

    To try and answer your questions about cover papers - Yes, I did have 2 pieces of cardstock for each cover, with a stiffening piece to put inside.
    I attached the Front of the cover to the stiffening card, then attached this to the concertina spine (see the bit about decoration etc in Part 2). I then lined the cover with another piece of cardstock.

    You don't have to use cardstock for the covers or liners. Try a thicker card for the stiffener (even a piece of board would be possible). Then you can use paper to make the cover.

    As far as edges go, that depends on your own preference, the type of stiffening you use etc.

    You could cut the outside paper larger than the stiffening card/board, then fold over the top/bottom and sides, smoothing them down carefully so there are no ridges or bubbles. If you feel brave, cut across each corner before turning, leaving a little extra to allow for the thickness of the board/card, so the corner is properly covered. Tuck in the little corner bit with your nail/craft knife as you fold the top/bottom then sides.

    Then cut the cover paper to be the same size or a tiny bit smaller than the cover and stick it carefully inside, after attaching the covered card/board to the book spine (see Part 2).

    An alternative to this is to use ink along the edges, to disguise the core colour of the covering card and paper/cardstock. Stroke the edges with a brushpen (carefully to avoid slips!), or an inkpad. Leave to dry thoroughly before handling.

    Good luck!


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