tutorial tuesday: small pocket flag book

I’m breaking away from my baby and kiddo tutorials this week so you can get prepared for Mother’s Day. I don’t live close enough to my mom to celebrate Mother’s Day in person (sniff sniff) so I try to send something meaningful in the mail. This year, I designed a little flag book with pockets that are just the right size for little notes, gift cards, photos, or anything else foldable. So you should have plenty of time to make it this week and ship it off to your mom – where ever she may be!

I’ve included a TON of photos to help make this as simple as possible. There is no sewing involved. And all the gluing can be substituted with tape if you want to skip dry times.

Leave a comment or email me if you have questions.

Here we go.



+ 3 sheets of 9″ by 12″ paper (I used a double sided Amy Butler print)
+ 1 piece of paper for your covers that is at least 4″ by 9″ (I used a thick, rough handmade paper)
+ 1 piece of paper for the accordion that is at least 6″ by 14″ (I used a text weight paper, ie computer paper)
+ bone folder (optional)
+ glue and paintbrush
+ double sided tape

STEP 1: Make the pockets.

1. Start with one sheet of the 9″ by 12″ paper.

2. Fold in half (hamburger style) and crease with the bone folder. Unfold.

3. Choose which side of the paper you want to be the inside of the pockets. Lay this side face up. Take the bottom left corner and line it up with the center crease, making a triangle.

4. Take the top left corner and line it up with the center crease, making a triangle.

5. Fold paper in half (hot dog style). Unfold.

6. Fold the triangle half along the first center fold you made.

7. Fold in half along the crease you made in step 5.

8. Trim off the extra paper with an xacto knife or scissors. This is your pocket! It should be about 4″ square.

9. Make 2 more pockets following the same steps. (side note: you can make as many pockets as your little heart desires. The next steps of the tutorial would need to be adjusted for how ever many pockets you decide to make… email me if this is confusing and you need more pockets)

PART 2: Make the book block.

1. Start with your paper that is at least 6″ tall.

2. Measure 3/4″ from the edge and mark with the bone folder (I used my trusty 3/4″ guide made from binders’ board, but you can use a ruler and pencil for this). Crease. Continue folding accordion style the entire length of your paper. For 3 pockets, you need 14 sections (as shown here).

3. Spread glue (I used a paintbrush) in the second “valley” from the left.

4. Place one pocket in the glue with the edge lined up in the bottom of the valley (along the crease).

5. Now fold over the other side of the valley (already has glue on it) and press firmly. Now your first pocket is secure.

6. Skip one valley and put glue in the next one (can you see where the glue is?). Spread it around with a paintbrush.

7. Put in the second pocket the same way you did the first. This time, pay careful attention to the positioning – make sure you line up the top and bottom of the pocket with the first pocket. Fold over the other half of the valley (already has glue on it), just like you did with the first pocket.

8. Skip a valley and put glue in the next one (sound familiar?).

9. Put in the third pocket. Again, make sure it lines up perfectly with the other two pockets. Fold over the valley (already has glue on it) and press firmly.

10. Now, your book block should look like this. See how each pocket is glued into every other valley of the accordion fold? You will use the extra valleys on either side to secure the book block in the cover. That was the hardest part! You did it! Stick it under something heavy overnight (ie under a stack of books, a mattress, etc)

PART 3: Fitting the book block into the cover.

Here is what your book block looks like after you’ve pressed it overnight.

1. Trim off the top and bottom of the extra accordion folds so it’s flush with your pockets.

2. Lay the book block on your cover paper and use a ruler to mark the edge. (side note: I’m lazy when it comes to measuring. You could actually measure this out if you wanted. I prefer to use my book block and eyeball it.)

3. Tear or cut the paper.

4. Put double sided tape on the backside of the book block. NOT on the pocket. ONLY on the accordion (mine is white).

5. Carefully line up the book block on the right hand side of your cover paper. Press firmly so the tape sticks. The first pocket of the book block should be face up at this point.

6. Use your bone folder to mark the spine of the book block.

7. Lift up the book block and back cover so the spine rests on your desk. Mark along the book block edge again with your bone folder.

8. Fold the book all the way over so the back cover is now facing up.

9. Open the book back up. Put tape on the front accordion paper (again, mine is white). Fold back over the same way you did before and press firmly making sure the tape sticks to the cover.

This is what the cover and book block should look like. See how the tabs from the accordion folded paper are now attached to the cover paper? The pocket pages will turn easily.

10. Now it’s time to mark and trim your front cover. Lay the book block down and mark along the edge with your bone folder (or pencil).

11. Tear or cut the excess paper from the cover.

You did it! You made a book!

Part 4: Personalize and Package.

So what will you fill your pockets with? I had a few ideas:

+ old photos of the family (moms love those)
+ gift cards are just the right size
+ left over paint chips are great for writing notes on

There are so many options here so get creative and do something that will make your own mom smile.

I added a fabric flower (from this tutorial) and some twine to tie it all up. Pretty cute, I think!

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes!

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