Creating and filling an accordion album

Tanyalee Kahler

Tanyalee is a mum to three grown up kids, a wife to her childhood sweetheart, a full time graphic designer and a part time crafter/art journaler. She loves growing veggies to feed her family, she loves raising her fur babies (cats, rabbits and guinea pigs) and she loves spending her spare time just pottering around her house. Tanyalee LOVES being at home more than anything else – as long as her family is nearby.

Hi everyone, Tanyalee here from the Creative Team. I’m going to give you an insight into my process for a journal page. Not just any journal page though, an accordion album using supplies sent to me as part of the Get Messy Craft Swap.

Julia and Karen organised a craft swap for members of the group late in 2015. This involves putting your name in to participate, being allocated a swap partner, collecting some interesting journaling goodies, sending them to your partner, waiting to receive your goodies and making a page with them. It is a really fun process because it often takes you out of your comfort zone by using items that perhaps you aren’t used to using. You aren’t limited to what is in your swap package though, so you can of course add to the supplies with ink and paint and any other goodies you think will complete your page.

So let’s get down to business.


Here are the amazing package of goodies I received from a fellow Creative Team member – the lovely Essie.


I started off by looking at all of the prettiness, in awe of how much was there. How on earth was I going to do this justice? There is enough loveliness to make a whole journal, not just one page! I eventually decided that a mini album would be perfect. I had seen an accordion album on Pinterest that I quite liked so thought I would make something like that. I started by choosing an old book from my collection (of books bought specifically for art journaling – not my kid’s library in case you were concerned). I felt really bad cutting it up, but I hoped that I would make something beautiful to make up for it. It was also a book I remember reading as a kid myself, so I really hoped this would work out!

After cutting the insides out and separating the covers, I wrapped them in kraft paper (from my package). I used gel medium to glue everything down securely.

Then I made accordion pages by cutting sheets of watercolour paper down to size and joining them together. Again I used gel medium as a glue to join the pages together and to add the covers.

After cutting the insides out and separating the covers, I wrapped them in kraft paper (from my package). I used gel medium to glue everything down securely.

Then I started working on the insides. I was a little daunted by how much white space there was, and I couldn’t decide whether to make it one big page that folded up or individual pages that told their own story. In the end, I decided to break it down.

I recently purchased a gelli plate so I was very keen to use that for some backgrounds (if you aren’t familiar with gelli printing, take a look at Katie’s post from earlier this season). I painted the background pink with some darker and lighter flecks for contrast and then made a print using white. It turned out kind of like a flower so I added some pen work to it, and finished it with a chipboard letter T.

For the second page, I used the sticky-backed cork as a background, added some white paper off-cuts and a watercolour flower I printed from Pinterest. 

On the next page, I used the gelli plate again with multiple layers. I stamped it directly onto the album instead of printing it onto paper and then glued the paper down. I really wanted the texture of the watercolour paper to show through. Because I did this, not all of the paint came off exactly how it was put onto the plate, but I like the result anyway. I layered and layered the colours until I was happy. I also added some gelato smudges in matching colours to soften the look slightly.

And then journaled a quote on top. This quote came from the Week 3 prompts.

For my last pages I used a magazine cutting (from a really lovely magazine called Celebrate – it’s all about themed parties and is heaps of fun) with some hand-cut letters using cardstock (from my package). I also made another gelli plate background – again using lots of layers – and added some paint splashes, blown around with a straw. I added a flap and journaled underneath it, using the prompt from Week 1 – all about my happy place.

And that is it – and here is the finished product. Oh, and please excuse my messy work space.

Action Steps

Create in your journal. Bring your imperfect, messy self, take what you need, and know that more than zero is enough.