Thursday, 7 January 2010

Concertina Mini Scrap Album Tutorial Part Two

Here is Part Two of the Tutorial to make This Mini Scrap Album (or photo album).

You can find Part One here

By this point you should have done the following:

  • Prepared your materials and equipment

  • Cut 10 sheets for the pages

  • Cut 2 outer covers, 2 card stiffeners, 2 cover linings

  • Cut a 6" x 12" spine

  • Marked, scored and folded the spine

  • Stuck the Back cover together and attached it to the right hand end of the spine

If you have got to this point, you are ready for Part 2. If not, go back to Part 1 and do the bit you missed :-)

* * *

Part 2 - Assemble the Album - Attaching Pages

You should have 10 pages, all the same size.

Sort your pages.

You have 10 double-sided pages.  If they are different, or the fronts and backs are different, you will need to sort them into an order that you like.  Make sure they are the right way up - you don't want any upside-down figures or animals, for instance (or maybe you do - but it needs to be a concious choice)!

Think also about the pages that face each other and the general "flow" of the book.  If you have several pages the same, but the rest are different, do you want all the matching ones together, or spread across the whole book? If you have some pages that are patterned and some plain, do you want to have a plain or less busy page facing each patterned page? 

I arranged my pages so that most of the patterned pages are facing a plain, or striped one.  This makes it easier on the eye - especially as the designs of my papers are so bright and busy!

Put your pages together, in order, face down, above your back cover/ spine.  You will assemble the book from Back to Front, so you need the pages in order from back to front!

Fold the most right-hand "mountain" of the accordian towards the right. Put glue on the left side of it, as shown in the picture.  All pages are attached to the "top" of the accordian.

Carefully place the edge of the back page into the gap between the "peaks" of the glued fold and the one to the left of it. Line it up with the top and bottom of the book.

Press the page onto the glued fold, then smooth it down carefully.

You can see that there is a strip of the spine showing on the back of the page (photo on left). This will be the case for every page.

This gives you the opportunity to disguise any edges that are not tidy or pretty (photo on right). For instance, my 6" x 6" sheets were all cut from one large 12" sheet of cardstock, which was printed with four different 6" square designs.  I could only see one side when cutting and on a couple of sheets I had the remains of the labelling strip from the bottom of the cardstock sheet (the bit with the name of the manufacturer and the design name).  I put these edges facing towards the back of the book, so they were covered by the spine strips and did not show. I didn't want to cut them off, as these pages would have been shorter than the rest.

Continue gluing the left side of each fold and carefully lining up the pages, smoothing them down to make sure they are well stuck.

If you flatten out the concertina spine, you will be able to check that your pages are all evenly stuck and will be level at top and bottom.

This photo shows the structure of the book, as it is being put together. You can see that every page is stuck to the "top" of each concertina fold.

Continue until you have stuck down your last piece of paper, which is the first page of the book.  You will be left with the 1" tab for the front cover.

The pages should all be even at top and bottom, the concertina spine straight and in-line.  If this is not the case, you can make small adjustments now, but if you have taken care to check as you go, there should be no major fixes required.

* * *

Front Cover

Stick the outer part of your Front Cover to the stiffening card, as you did with the back cover.

Cover Embellishments

At this point, you should attach any cover embellishments that would show on the reverse. 

I attached a fabric flower, with a button centre.  To do this, I pierced two holes in the cover, either side of the button shank, then stitched the button to the cover with strong thread, in a matching colour.

To make sure the button was supported and the thread would not pull through, I fixed it with a small piece of tape (left photo).

To make the flower sit properly on the cover and stop it flapping about, I added a foam pad to the back of each petal (right photo).

Attach all items to the cover before you stick it to the book. 

* * *

Finishing the Cover

Apply glue to the 1" tab at the left hand end of your concertina spine.

Fix the reverse side of the cover to the glued tab, lining it up at top and bottom.  You may want to leave a tiny margin at the edge, where the cover and spine meet, to make sure the pages do not stick out beyond the front cover of the book.

Smooth the tab down, to make sure it is well stuck with no creases.

Glue the back of the cover lining and carefully line it up on the inside of the cover. 

Smooth it down, so that it is well stuck.

* * *

The Book so far

At this point, you have an almost-finished book.  In fact, you could leave it like this and use it.  However, I prefer to add a fastening to mine.  Also, the spine has a tendency to spread out, which gets more pronounced as the book is used.  I address this issue by having a wrap-round fastening, which closes both the front edge of the book and the concertina spine, yet allows space for the book to expand as photos and/or embellishments are added inside.

 * * *

The Fastening

Measure out a piece of ribbon, string, leather thong or other fastening material, so that it will wrap right round the book, with room to tie a bow.  There should be longish ends, to allow for the book to become fatter when it is used for scrapping.

At the outside edge of the back cover, measure to the centre.  Make a slit, a little way in, as wide as your fastening strip. My ribbon is 1/8" wide, so that is the cut I made.

Measure the same centre point at the other side of the back cover, close to the spine. Make a cut parallel to the first one.

Using the back of your craft-knife blade, push the tip of the ribbon through the slit at the edge of the cover, then run the ribbon across the inside of the back cover and push it back up through the slit by the spine.

Make sure the ribbon is not twisted before you push it back through. It's much harder to turn it and make it flat once it is firmly held in place by the stiff covers.

Make a parallel cut in the front cover, just before the embellishment, then wrap the ribbon round the book, over the spine and across the front, keeping it flat.  Push the end down through the cut you have just made.
(You may prefer to do the same as you did on the back cover, and make your hole next to the spine, so the ribbon is carried inside the front cover and only shows at the spine and the edges).

Make your last cut close to the edge of the front cover, to bring the ribbon back through to the top. This will allow you to make a neat bow when you tie the cover closed.

Tidy up the ends by cutting at an angle with sharp scissors.

* * *

The Finished Book

Front View

Inside view

Back Cover

* * *


And Finally....

A few further things to consider:-

There are many, many variations of this book design. You can buy (or borrow) books by several artists, who create their own books, which they embellish or paint. They include pockets on the pages, use envelopes instead of sheets of paper, mix all kinds of media, write stories, print, paint... whatever will create an interesting item.

The basic form of this book is very simple - my instructions can be simplified down to a small book, with pages stuck to a concertina, no covers and no fastening. You can experiment with it and come up with your own personal designs.

The measurements of the book in the tutorial were 6" x 6", with a spine section that was 12" long.
The pages could have been rectangular and the book would have still worked, so long as you made sure the spine was altered if necessary, to be as tall as the pages, or to have deep enough folds to support pages that were wider than their height.

The size of the concertina folds can be changed.  If your pages are large, or very heavy, then 1/2" folds will not be deep enough to support them adequately.  The 1/2" measurement is pretty much a minimum.  It works well for this scrapbook design, but would not always be enough.  For larger or heavier papers, you should increase the depth of each fold to 3/4", one inch, even two or three inches.

It is possible to connect several concertinas together, to allow more pages to be attached, or to make a stronger spine, with deeper folds, yet still keep the same number of pages. 

You do not have to make all your pages the same size. You could experiment with different heights or widths, even different shapes.  There is no reason why they shouldn't be mixed up.

You could scrap your pages first, then attach them to a concertina spine.  Just remember to leave a space at the edge, if you scrap both sides of your page (or if you want to stick two pages back-to-back).  Work out in advance, on which edge you need your margin - if you turn the page over, the margin may change too! Remember that it is the back of your page(s) that is stuck to the spine.

You don't have to have two-sided pages. You can make a book that has only "fronts" to the pages, with only one side to be used.  Also, you don't have to have patterned paper, or even use scrapbook papers. How about newspaper, sketchbook or watercolour paper, envelopes, acetate, plastic, fabric, canvas, brown paper or cardboard pages?

If you made the spine with stiffer materials, you might not need a wrap-around fastening for the book to keep its shape.  You could also make a slip-cover to hold the book, or fasten it with a band of elastic, instead of fixing the fastening in the way I did.

I would love to see any books you create that are inspired by my tutorial! It doesn't matter if they are simple or complex, I'd still like to see!


  1. Wow, what a fab tutorial, great mini book idea. Thanks for the blog link you left me (shall add to my google reader) and the lovely comments on my blog.

  2. Woohoo! Standing up and clapping!
    Great job Lizzie!

  3. Thank you ladies, your comments really made me smile!
    I had such fun making this tutorial (and fun making the book - I've got another one to finish now!).

  4. Love it :-) Again, very clear instructions, and the book is *beautiful* x

  5. well done lizzie. you have a really excellent style for making something complex appear more easy and you explain it all so well. you should teach properly at a scrap/book class
    jo xxx

  6. Wow, stunning! I'm sure lots of us will be bookmarking this and coming back again and again to check out your fantastic instructions. So carefully thought out, it really covers everything. :)

  7. wow! This is amazing lizzie, it's so in depth and well thought out! i will have to give it a go! xxxxxx

  8. I`d like to thank you so so much for your tutorial! That was so much work for you: thanks a million for sharing! I`ve never made a mini album before and I am convinced that your tutorial helps to get my first one done: the instructions are very well explained and the photos help so much.

  9. Well, thanks Gabrielle! It's nice to see that my tutorial is still coming in useful, so long after I wrote it! I'm glad you found it so helpful and hope your new book gives you a lot of pleasure.


I love to read your comments!


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