Accordion Pocket Book Tutorial

Here is my Tutorial for the Arts and Lies Group that can be found here.

I have been wanting to do my own Oracle cards for a couple of years, and recently I have thought about it more and more.  And while thinking about it, I was thinking about how to store them.  And I was wondering about a box or bag, and then late one night, lying in bed, when I couldn’t sleep, I saw this idea in my head. For an accordion book with pockets.

And I thought this could be my first tutorial for the Arts and Lies Group, so I started thinking about ways it could be done.  And this is my way.

But first, even though I am going to use it for my oracle cards, I want to stress the complete adaptability of this.  You could forget the pockets and have a series of blank cards for a series of paintings, or collages, or an art journal.

I have kept all my children’s congratulations on your birth cards, and all birthday cards they have so far collected, and I thought about doing one of these for each of their years of birth and slipping all cards in.  You could make a smaller one to store ATC’s or postcards.  Options are truly endless.

Also I saw this in my head, and this is only how I did it.  And if there is a better way (and there is sure to be), then please let me know.  But other than the fact it opens up backwards Japanese Style because I assembled it as I did it, and I didn’t register too much in advance, I LOVE how this baby came out.

I know there is a lot of photos, but truly it is basically a strip of material and two cards, one on either side of the material backing onto each other, spread along the length of the material so it folds up accordion style.

I started with plain muslin…because I had it, and I wanted to experiment with dying it, without dye…

I popped it in a freezer bag damp and added acrylic paint…

I rubbed it around in the bag, but the colour was not very strong, despite adding in quite a bit of colour.

It is showing up more vibrant in the photo than in real life.  Even now.  But I popped it into the bag again and used some of my homemade alcohol ink sprays.

I would give it a couple of sprays and scrunch it around and kept doing that, so it came out kind of tie dyed…

I was not entirely happy, but decided this would do well enough.  I can certainly recommend just grabbing some material that you have to hand rather than going down this track!  :)

I then split the material into strips.  Rather ripped.  I would recommend using scissors.

Because I ripped, and this was very light muslin, I sewed two pieces together, and sewed around the outside, very roughly with my sewing machine.  Trust me when I say if I managed this with my rough sewing, you can.  I was transferred into another class out of sewing classes at school, there was a reason for this.  My sewing machine does not like me.  And yet I still managed this.

I then put this aside and grabbed a pile of cereal boxes I have been storing (AKA hoarding).

I measured out how big I wanted the panels to be and began marking this out on the boxes, and then I began cutting.

With my stack of panels, I decided to cover these with brown paper.  I chose this, so that I could write on the panel, any notes that may come to mind or anything at all in relation to the oracle card that will fit in the pocket.  But you could cover these with anything, or use anything other than cereal boxes.  even just gesso them.

I just wrapped the cards in the brown paper, like a parcel.  I used double sided tape, because I was going to have the cards backing onto each other, with the material in the middle, so each side has a pocket. So no one will see this back.

I decided to make the pockets neutral as well, and used book text that I cut to size.  This way they could remain plain, or I could gesso and paint them.  Dependent on the card.  Though you could use any paper at all (and I almost used some scrapbooking paper), or not even have pockets.  I decided to have my pockets down the bottom, but you could have pockets off to the side, or do anything that catches your fancy.

To stick the pockets on I decided to sew them on.  I did a few with the sewing machine, until I gave it and decided to go with a needle and embroidery thread.  I mostly just did a running stitch, but did also do blanket stitch.  I was thinking while I was doing this, that possible you could have lined the cards up with the material strip in the middle and stitch through all the layers together, which would also fix the cards to the material as well.  But I didn’t do that.  Next I show the variety of stitches I used.  Because I used cereal boxes, I poked all the holes around the outside with an awl before I stitched with a needle and thread.

Once I had a pile of cards with pockets I gathered them all together and decided on the gap I wanted between the cards on the material.  I decided on an aproximately 1cm gap.  BUT this was eyeballed, I didn’t measure at this stage.  At this stage I decided on how I was going to close the accordian book, as I still wasn’t sure.  I decided on the front and back sides (however I was backwards because of the way I laid them out, please note that the cover will be the first panel on the left.)

I took those cards (the first and last one), once I decided they would have no backing card and pocket, and painted the backs of them black, very roughly.  This was only because they both happened to have the actual cereal box showing rather than bare board and the muslin is so thin you could see right through it.

You can see how rough the painting was here:

I would not have done that step had the material not being so thin.

The panel I chose as the cover, I sewed a button quickly onto the muslin.  You could use any fastening method.  Even just a simple tie around the completed book that you untie each time.

I then spread gel medium onto the first card in a reasonably thin layer and pressed it into the material.  Because of how thin the material is, it stuck very easily.  You could stick the material on with any other adhesive.  I used gel medium because that is what I had to hand.  I then began sticking the other middle panels on.  Originally I planed to stick them along one side, allowing 1 centimeter between each panel.  However it was easier to do one whole panel at a time I found.  So I stuck the front panel on to the material, and then I turned it over and stuck the back panel onto the material, with the edges of the panels connecting to each other.

I then moved on to the next panel, and did the same. These photos show the panels sticking together, and the strip of material running through the middle of them.

The last panel I decided to finish with a quick stitch of thread on  to the muslin before I glued the last panel on.

I decided to leave the thread long enough to wrap around the closed book once and then wrap around the button.

You could however make a loop to go over the button.

Or have a smaller thread that just ties around the button…

OR even use a different closing altogether!

Then you fold it up like an accordion…

So that all folded up it looks like this from the top:

I hope you have enjoyed my first tutorial!


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