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For a beautiful wedding guest book that's sure to bring joy to both guests and the lucky couple, Mary Luttrell of Peaceful Dumpling shows us how to create a unique, accordion-style book to house special messages from friends and family.
The unconventional design of Luttrell's wedding guest book—a small, accordion-style, hand-stitched book with a pocket on each page—makes for a beautiful display. The prints and colors were chosen with a botanical-themed spring wedding in mind, but the pattern can be adapted to any style. And because guests can take tags to their tables, it allows them time to compose their messages. Here, we show you how to easily make this guest book at home.
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Pick The Pages
Choose high-quality cardstock for the pages. Prints are best suited for the outer and inner covers, while solids or non-directional prints—those that don't have a right-side up or down—are preferable for the pages.
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Preparing The Book Cover
Cut two pieces, each 4 3/4 x 4", of mat board or non-corrugated cardboard such as the cardboard on the back of a drawing pad. Then choose a background color for your cover and cut two 5 3/4 x 5" pieces. For the outer covers' featured pattern or color, cut two 4 1/2 x 3 3/4" pieces of paper. Repeat for the paper that will go on the inside of the covers. Finally, select a satin ribbon 1/2" to 3/4" wide; cut two pieces, roughly 12" each. Cut the ends at a slant and use a touch of clear nail polish to prevent fraying.
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Preparing The Book Pages and Pockets
We used six regular pages and two half-size pages that attach to the front and back covers, forming the first and last pages, but you can use as many pages as you like. For a full-sized page, cut a piece of cardstock 9 1/2 x 5 1/4". From the bottom-right corner of each page, cut out a 1/2 x 1 1/2" vertical rectangle. The half-inch flap remaining above should be folded to the back of the page and will eventually attach to the following page. Create a 1 1/2" horizontal fold up from the bottom of the page. This will be the pocket. Next, fold the page in half, lengthwise, and seal the outer edges of the pocket to the page with 1/4" double-stick tape.
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Preparing the Book Pages and Pockets Cont.
For the first page, cut cardstock 5 1/4 x 5 1/4". From the bottom-right corner of the page, cut out a 1/2" x 1 1/2" vertical rectangle. The half-inch flap remaining above should be folded to the back of the page. Create a 1 1/2" horizontal fold up from the bottom of the page to make the pocket. Create a 1/4" vertical fold toward the front on left side of the page. This will be tucked between the cover and the patterned paper covering the inside of the front cover.
For the last page, cut cardstock 4 3/4 x 5 1/4". Create a 1/4" vertical fold on the right side of the page. This will be tucked between the cover and the patterned paper covering the inside of the back cover. Create a 1 1/2" horizontal fold up from the bottom of the page to make the pocket.
In the center crease of each page, use a binder's needle to punch two holes: one 1 1/2" from the top of the page, another 1 1/2" from the bottom of the page. The bottom hole should be just above the top of the pocket. Use embroidery floss or very thin ribbon to bind the pages.
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Finishing the Covers
Cover each cardboard cover piece with selected background paper. Before folding the edges of the background paper around the cardboard, cut each corner of the paper at a 45-degree angle, slightly away from the edge of the paper, so the folded paper creates mitered corners. Secure with double-stick tape.
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Assembling The Outer Covers
Glue the ribbon along the horizontal center on the outside of each cover, but leave enough room between the covers for the pages, about 1/4". Cover the back of the decorative paper with a thin layer of glue, place the cover paper in the center, and press down firmly.
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Assembling the Inner Covers
Glue the back of the left-side flap of the first page to the right side of the inside front cover, leaving a small amount of space between the crease of the flap and the edge of the cover. Center and adhere the inner cover paper. Repeat with the last page and the back cover. (You will be securing the right-side flap on the page to the left side of the back inner cover.)
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Attaching and Binding the Pages
Use 1/4" double-stick tape to adhere the right-side flap of one page to the left-side of the following page. Repeat for all pages until your book looks like an accordion. Make sure the holes you created are aligned and at the spine of the book. With a large binder's needle and a 24" ribbon or floss of choice, bind the pages using a long stitch.
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Stitching the Pages
For a long stitch, begin with the top hole on the first page, starting from the inside and leaving a few inches of thread inside. Bring your thread through the bottom hole of the same page, and tie a double knot with the remaining thread in the top hole. Go back out through the top hole, and thread through the top outer hole of the second page (we'll call this horizontal stitch a bridge). From the inside of the second page, thread through the bottom hole. Thread the string back through the top outer hole of the second page and then back through the bottom inner hole and over to the bottom outer hole of the third page, creating a bridge. Repeat until you reach the end. Note that the bridges will alternate between the top and bottom holes. When you reach the end, tie a double knot inside the page. Use a dab of clear nail polish or glue to secure the knots.
The stitching should be somewhat loose; this will allow the book to hold all of your guests' messages without being overstuffed.
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Select small, blank decorative tags or create your own by cutting white cardstock with pinking shears and punching a small hole at the top center of the page. Cut thin ribbon into 5" lengths. Loop a ribbon in each tag. Display the tags on a decorative dish beside the pens for your guests to write their well wishes.
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The Finished Product
Now, after all of your hard work, you can decorate the cover and pages!
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