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Single-Sheet Folded Accordian Books

Marylee Bytheriver demonstrates her method for making Single-sheet accordion or "maze" books

accordian fold cards

Single Sheet Books
Single-sheet accordion or "maze" books can be very simple or extremely complex depending on the number of cuts and folds. The great advantage of all single-sheet books is that the content can be put into the book all at one time. Just send the full sheet through a photocopier or laser printer, then fold and cut to make a book. This is an excellent structure for performance or conference programs, invitations, greeting cards or children's stories.

accordian fold cards

Computer printers and photocopiers quickly and easily produce multiple copies. Commercial rubber stamps, hand-carved potato, eraser or Safety-Kut stamps, and rubbings are all simple types of relief printing that do not require a press. Commercial stickers, press-type and collages Samples made from Canson Mi-Tientes and Lama Li papers can make elaborate, colorful one-of-a-kind books or an original that can be reproduced with a color photocopier.

Embossing and machine embroidery on paper create unusual and exciting books. Try Polaroid transfers and color copies to put photographs onto your pages. And don't forget sunprints and the old-fashioned typewriter for putting images and words onto paper.

Determining placement of elements
Construct a model, or dummy, of the book from newsprint or scratch paper. Mark up the model, indicating what goes on each page, and which edge is the top of the page. I always number the pages in my models, even though the finished book will not have page numbers, just to keep things straight. Then disassemble the model, or in the case of a single-sheet book, unfold the model and lay the sheet out flat as it was before folding and cutting. Use the disassembled model as your template when putting the contents onto your good paper.


accordian fold cards

Tips for folding
Always fold through one single layer of paper at a time to achieve crisp folds and panels of equal size. Do not fold a paper in half, then fold the folded-paper in half again. Instead, fold the paper in half. Then fold the top layer only over and match the cut edge of the paper to the folded edge. Crease the fold. Turn the paper upside down so that the remaining unfolded half is on top. Again fold the top layer in half so the cut edge of the paper is exactly on top of the center fold. Crease the fold, then open the paper before making the cross-wise folds in the same manner.

accordian fold cards

About the Author
Marylee Bytheriver studied book arts at Mills College. She now creates relief prints and limited-edition artist's books from her studio in Oakland, California. Her books can be seen in public collections nationwide including the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Suggested Materials and Tools List

Canson Mi-Tientes Paper
Lama Li Papers
• Computer Printer
• Photocopier
• Commercial Rubber Stamps
• Hand-Carved Potato
• Eraser
• Safety-Kut Stamps
• Rubbings