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An Illustrated Guide For An Accordion Style Folded Bookmark

I've been crafting since I could hold a paintbrush. I love to repurpose random things. Most of my articles are about arts and crafts.

Accordion Style Folded Bookmark


Inspiration To Recycle And Upcycle Is Everywhere

When I look at paper items in the recycle bin, I understand that they are less likely to go to a landfill. Recycling is important to me. I still find myself shaking my head at the bin though. I always think that there must be another way to recycle some of those paper items. I recently rescued a cereal box, an old calendar, and a paper towel tube. With these three items, a few sheets of coffee dyed printer paper and stick of glue, I could make up to 10 accordion style bookmarks. They could probably also function as mini journals or an affirmation pocket journal.


  • Magazine or old calendar paper (Thin craft paper will work too)
  • Strong hold glue stick - avoid runny glue because it wrinkles the thin calendar paper
  • Toilet roll or paper towel cardboard tube
  • Cereal box or card stock with a similar thickness
  • 8.5” by 11” printer paper (optional - coffee or tea stain it for an added vintage look) You will need one page of paper per bookmark
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Cutting board or bread board

To Decorate

  • Decorative stickers – optional
  • Distress ink and brush – optional
  • Newsprint or old book pages - optional



Measure And Cut

Measure and cut two, 2” by 4” rectangles from the cereal box and set aside.

Measure and cut one, 1” wide piece off your toilet roll tube and set aside.

Measure and cut two, 3” by 5” rectangles from the magazine paper and set aside.

Measure and cut one, 2” by 6” rectangle from the magazine paper and set aside.

Fold the printer paper in half long ways and glue the halves together

Trim the folded printer paper to a 3 ¾” width and set aside. It will now measure 3 3/4" by 11".

Fold And Cut The Printer Paper


Construct The Cover Pieces

Glue each of the 3” by 5” magazine paper pieces to the 2” by 4” cardboard pieces. You will have two of these because they will make the front and back covers for the fold out bookmark.

A tip: You get a neater corner if you cut a triangle piece off the corners of the magazine paper before you fold it over and wrap the cardboard.

Add Magazine Paper To Cardboard Cover Pieces


Cover The Paper Towel Tube

The paper towel or toilet roll tube will act as a belly band around your bookmark.

Glue the 2” by 6” magazine paper to the 1” wide toilet roll tube.

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A tip: Make a slit at the folded end of the magazine paper before you wrap it inside the tube to get a clean wrap. The magazine paper tends to tear otherwise.

Covering The Belly Band


Complete The Bookmark Construction

Fold the end of the printer paper to a width just narrower than the covers. Around 1 ¾”, then repeat the fold in the opposite direction. Imagine the folds of a vintage hand-held fan or an accordion. Repeat until you run out of paper. You might have a narrower piece of the printer paper left at the end. Cut this piece off and discard.

Carefully glue the one end of the printer paper just inside the border of one of the rectangular covers. Repeat by gluing the other end of the printer paper to the second cover.

Bring the covers together with the folded printer paper sandwiched and glued between them. Slip the covered toilet roll tube over the bookmark like a belly band.

Put It All Together


Time To Decorate

You can distress the edges of your covers and folds of the printer paper for an aged look.

Paste stickers on the belly band.

Decorate the cover even further with old book pages, vintage lace, or stickers.

Optional Decoration Ideas


Four Examples


How To Use These Bookmarks

These accordion fold bookmarks are great gifts for an avid reader.

They make nice stocking stuffers.

Consider a decorative theme and then add them to a gift basket at a baby shower, bachelorette party or as a graduation gift.

They make perfect additions to a junk journal. Tuck them into one of the many pockets in your journal or use it as a diary marker.

Write your favorite aspirational quotes in them and carry them with you for an on-the-go mood booster.

If you make a slightly larger accordion bookmark using 11” x 17” printer paper for instance, you could use it as an on the go sketch book. You will get more folds and therefore more ‘pages’ with the longer paper.

I’m going to try to use some scrap fabric to cover the ends instead of the magazine or calendar pages for a vintage boho feel.


I suppose the next time I stand in front of my recycle bin with a pensive yet curious expression, I will take myself more seriously. Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to be open to it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Celeste Wilson

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