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Basic Tunnel Book Tutorial

May 17, 2009

This is for you Wendy Y-H. Hope you take a peek!

For this seasons 4E house project I’ve decided to create a tunnel book. Each artist has to respond to the previous artist’s page, there is no real subject (well, not at this point because I’m still creating the back ground). Tunnel books are assembled with a solid back and accordion pleated sides. Each interior page is cut away.  This is a basic tutorial for the creation and will accompany the project.

Accordion pleats

To start with , I picked a dark green 80lb cover stock for the accordion pleated sides. One sheet (8.5″x11″) folded long-ways and divided (4.25″x11″) was enough for this small book. I then folded one section in half (5.5″x4.25″) and marked it every .75 inches. A straight edge  and bone folder were used to create the folds.  After the folds were creased, I marked basic points to punch small holes for attaching the pages. One could certainly just use glue to attach the pages and in hindsight, its a much easier process.

1 accordion


Created from a quartered section of 80lb cover paper(8.5″x11″), I made the book 6 pages deep including the back and front window.

I had a simple image in my mind incorporating hills, trees and a house. I started from the back and worked forward in design, so tallest mountains reside on back page, hill with house on next, lower hills w/ trees, lower and lower hills towards the front and the final frame.

2 pages

3 drawing

I used an exacto blade to remove the negative space on each page.

4.5 cutting

5 all cut

Once all the pages were cut to my liking, I sanded them w/ 220 grit to create a surface for the pastels to adhere. One could also just spray fixative to help adhesion. This was only the 4th time ever using chalk pastels. After multiple layering of pastels and fixative it could move on to the next step. Attaching pages to the accordion sides.

6 basic assembly

6.5 sewing

6.6 clamp

7.2 attach

7 attachment

This was more time consuming than I originally thought. I decided to stitch the pages into place using embroidery floss and hot pink was the only color to be found. The floss was then tied around bamboo skewer sticks. The bamboo did have the problem of slipping out so a small amount of PVA glue was applied at each knot.

8.2  side lit

8.3 full

8.4 top

8.5 back

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim Everett permalink
    May 25, 2009 6:13 am

    Holy Cow Gale!
    What a cool idea, creation. Even better in person to see. Thank you for doing a tut.
    love, your big sis, Kim

  2. January 1, 2010 12:35 pm

    Beautiful tutorial and the final book is gorgeous. Congratulations….I like your blog.

    • paperstew permalink*
      January 1, 2010 1:56 pm

      Hi Lorraine!
      Thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to hear from other artists. Your work is amazing! Wish I could take your mini workshop!

  3. whatsnormality permalink
    April 25, 2011 6:51 pm

    I like the idea of making the front open like double doors! Every time I have made one of these I didn’t have a front, just because I was more focused on the image inside.

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 29, 2011 3:43 pm

      The double doors just seemed like a good thing. Can’t remember if Ann had one on a piece or where the concept came from. It works and one of these days I’ll post images of a collaborative tunnel book by 7 friends. A binding is included to protect the whole thing.
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. November 8, 2011 5:45 am

    WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!! HOW stinkin’ COOL!! :)

    • paperstew permalink*
      November 8, 2011 6:56 am

      It’s been a very popular post, especially in Russia. An amazing response for the very first accordion book I’ve ever attempted, even prior to taking any book making classes. Ah, the things I’ve learned since then! :)

  5. blackthumb permalink
    February 29, 2012 11:04 am

    Oooh I like this Gale. Though they do look more time consuming than glue, I like the possibilities that the skewers (or other support) give you to incorporate another layer of meaning….hmmm

    • paperstew permalink*
      February 29, 2012 12:31 pm

      Wow, thanks Elaine! It’s been sooo long since doing this project that I almost forgot about using the skewers. I did notice there will be a nice Tunnel Book course offered at Sitka this year (2012). A very fun process!


  1. 2010 in review « Sticks, Stones, and Paper Stew Blog

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