Concertina notebook

Creative Challenge | Make a Concertina Book

Welcome to Day One of the 2019 Slamseys Summer Creative Challenge.

3 closed and one open concertina notebooks with soft covers

As part of the Challenge, you’ll need some sort of notebook or sketchbook to gather your thoughts. It’s a bit depressing to get to the end of the summer with a half-filled sketchbook or notebook, so we’re going to make a small concertina book. That way it should be easy to fill it in a short space of time and they’re so easy that you might want to make another one or two.
I love using concertina books and find them very liberating as they allow ideas to flow through the book. You can use them page by page like a normal book or open them out to their full length and spread your work across the pages like a scroll. They’re a good choice for panoramic views and street scenes, stories and journeys.

Keep your concertina book in your bag or pocket for making quick sketches or capturing your thoughts. Use one for a project, perhaps a journey you’ve made or an alphabet book.


To make a simple concertina book

Open notebook with text Make a concertina notebook

These instructions are for a very simple A6 size concertina book with soft covers. Each page is double thickness, which makes the book stable and makes both sides of the page usable, even if you use copious amounts of water or permanent pens.

You’ll need:

2 sheets of A3 cartridge paper (130gsm is a good weight)

2 sheets A5 thin card

Craft knife and cutting mat (or scissors)

Glue stick

To make the concertina book:

sheet of paper and craft knife

Take two sheets of A3 paper, lay them out in portrait orientation and cut them in half vertically so that you have four long strips of paper.

folded paper for concertina book
Fold the first strip in half and then fold the ends into the middle, making sure the folds are as accurate as possible. You should have a W shape. Set this aside and fold the other strips in the same way, standing them up so that you have two W shapes and two M shapes.

Pages for concertina book nested together
Nest your W and M shapes together. You should have a single page at each end and double thickness in the middle. Apply glue to the folds in the pages and stick your double pages together back to back. You only need to join at the folds.

Adding card to make cover for concertina book
To make the first cover, take one piece of card, fold in half and open it out. Spread the glue evenly over the open cover and lay the first (single) page of the book on it. Fold over the cover, sandwiching the single page between the two pieces of card. Repeat for the other cover.
Press down firmly. Fold your book up carefully and leave under a heavy weight for a short while.

Hand made concertina mini book
You now have a concertina book with double sided pages.

If you want to make a longer book, simply add more pages before you attach the covers.


You can also make a mini version (approx 105mm x 75mm) using A4 printer paper (90gsm is a good weight). Use 4 sheets so that there are more pages.

If you enjoy making books and would like to have a go at something more complicated, read Making Handmade Books by Alisa Golden or take a look at her website. Be inspired by Elizabeth’s journal with Coptic binding.


Do let us know what you’re creating in this year’s Challenge. Leave a comment below (with a link if you’re sharing online) or tag @Slamseys in Instagram.


8 thoughts on “Creative Challenge | Make a Concertina Book

  1. Very satisfying to make these. Had to think carefully about my Ms and Ws(!) but once I had them aligned it was very easy. Only challenge was decorating the cover! Now to make a mark or two! Just wondering how many prompts you plan to do each week? Want to avoid going overboard on any one leaving insufficient space for others. Happy mark-making today! E x

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