Julie Bowersett


Blog Writing Course Alumni

From Guide to Art Schools


Entries in photo album (1)


Accordion-Fold Photo Album Tutorial

This tutorial will walk you through the steps of creating a small photo album with accordion-fold pages.  These albums are perfect gifts and can be customized to suit almost any occasion.  These instructions will show you how to put together the album but will not go into detail about creating a cover for the piece.  You can use anything you wish for this cover, from a quilted and embellished piece, one with machine embroidery, velvet, or a plain piece of fabric.  Please see my other post from today in the Journal section of my blog for more information on how I created the cover for the piece in this tutorial, as well as other ideas and pictures of cover possibilities.

You will need a few supplies for this project.  Probably the most difficult part of this entire venture will be finding the paper needed for the accordion folded pages.  I am fortunate to live in an area where there is at least one good art supply store.  For those of you without access to such a store, this paper can be purchased online here.  You will need a piece of paper at least 26” in length.  You can also purchase sheets of chipboard here.  These instructions are for a finished size of approximately 4.5” x 6.5” which will accommodate a standard 4” x 6” picture.


  • Chipboard, 2 pieces 4.5” x 6.5”
  • Black Heavyweight Paper (90 lb.), 1 piece, 6.25” x 25.5”
  • Cover Fabric, 6” x 8”
  • Backing Fabric, 6” x 8”
  • Flannel, 6” x 8”
  • Ribbon, 1 yard
  • Stylus or bone folder
  • Double-sided Tape
  • Acid-Free, archival quality glue

Begin by cutting the heavy-weight black paper to size.

Next, score the paper to create the accordion folds.  Use a quilting ruler or other gridded ruler to ensure that your scores are straight and squared with the paper edges. 

Measure 4.25” from the left edge of the paper and, using your stylus or bone folder, score the paper along the edge of the ruler.  Using this scored mark as your new left edge, align the ruler and score again 4.25” away from the first mark.  Continue until you have made five scored marks on the paper.

Measure over 4.25” from the last mark and, using a rotary cutter or exacto knife, cut off the remaining paper.  You should have six sections marked on the black paper.

Fold the paper along the creased marks accordion style (one fold forward, the next fold back).  Set the paper piece aside.

If I am using a single layer of fabric for the front or back cover, I like to also use a thin layer of flannel underlining.  Baste the flannel to the outer fabric layer and treat as one.

Center one piece of chipboard on the fabric/flannel unit.  I always start with the back cover to get the feel for the process before tackling the front cover.  Place four small pieces of double sided tape at the four corners of the chipboard.  Fold one corner in diagonally (this will form a triangle) and adhere to the tape.  Try to make this fold so the cut edges of the triangle are perpendicular to the cut edges of the fabric unit.  Repeat for all four corners.

Place a strip of double-sided tape along each of the four long edges of the chipboard.  Fold in each fabric edge and adhere to the tape.  Pay close attention to each corner and try to fold the fabric so the two edges are close together here and with as little bulk as possible.  Find and mark the center of this piece with an X.  Place a piece of double-sided tape over this mark.

Find the center of the ribbon and place it over the taped center mark of the back cover piece.

Repeat this process with the fabric chosen for the front cover (I did not use a flannel layer with this piece).  Here is my completed front cover.

Place the previously folded paper section so the two long cut edges are facing to the right (this is important if your front cover has a directional design.  You want to place the cover onto the pages so the design is correctly oriented (top/bottom) when the pages are facing this direction).  Begin by running a thin bead of glue close to the outer edge of top paper section.  Fill in the remaining area with more glue.  You need to use enough glue to be effective but not so much that it oozes out from the edges when you apply the cover. 

Carefully center and place this glued page onto the front cover piece.  I usually start with the front cover as it is easier to see to align this side of the album.  Repeat the gluing procedure and attach the back cover.  Check to make sure that no glue is leaking out from the edges of the paper and wipe off carefully if it is.  Close the album and make sure that the front and back covers are aligned with each other.

If the front cover is embellished with beads, embroidery or other 3D objects, place a towel or other padded surface down, lay the album with the front cover on this padding, and weight the album closed with a heavy book.  You should check a few minutes later to make sure no glue has oozed out along the paper edges which can cause the pages to stick together as the glue dries.  Let the project dry for several hours.

Tie the ribbon around the album to close.  Here’s my completed project.  Mount your photos inside as desired.   I hope you enjoy making your own.