This lesson was something I used as a filler lesson when I was subbing in the art room and the fifth grade class was transitioning from one project to another. Most of the students were done with the project that they had been working on so I needed something that was simple enough to explain and complete that some students could do it with little help from me. The lesson can be added to for increased depth, but I allowed the students to do whatever they wanted with the interior design rather than impose a subject or theme on them.
For this lesson I cut 12 x 18" paper into 3 x 18" strips, demonstrated how to fold the accordion shape, and cautioned about the safety of punching the hole for the thread and using the sharp needle. I demonstrated how to cut the embroidery floss to twice the length of their unfolded books (so 36").
The hole is punched with an awl that is very sharp. Keep a piece of cardboard beneath the folded up book as you punch the hole to prevent the tip from breaking or damaging your table surface. Next thread some embroidery floss through a needle and go in through the bottom hole on the front of the book. Thread through to the back and then go through the top hole on the back coming back out the front. Put the the two ends together and thread a bead onto them. Tie a knot at the end that is big enough to keep the bead on. The bead when pulled to the end of the thread allows the book to be opened. When pushed all the way back it closes the book up again.
*All designs, illustrations, etc. to the inside of the book should be done when the paper is still flat and has not been folded, unless you prefer a broken up image. The folds make it difficult to create a continuous design if you fold first. And threading should always be done last no matter what.
For my example I used markers to create an abstract botanical motif. I used a book with quotes about happiness to choose a string of words that I integrated throughout the design. Many of the students did something similar, but using their own thoughts on friendship. This choice was completely their own and not prompted by me in any way other than allowing them to examine my example up close.
The book that I got the accordion technique from is Painted Paper by Alisa Golden.
Another great book on bookmaking ideas is More Making Books by Hand by Peter and Donna Thomas.
Some possible themes for this lesson: Courage, Strength, Justice, Freedom, Happiness, Success, Friendship, Honesty, Compassion, Peace, Hope, etc. Any of these would be a great way to get students thinking philosophically. Have students really reflect on their thoughts in relation to these concepts and come up with a sentence or string of words that they feel best expresses what they think their chosen concept means to them. Double check the sentences for spelling errors before transferring the words onto the artworks.