How to Make a Tunnel Book




Tunnel Books are simple to make and they look awesome too! They're generally comprised of pictures (but they don't have to be, be creative!) and they're constructed in a such a way that when you look THROUGH it it gives the effect of looking at sort of a 3-D landscape! They can have just a few "pages" or a whole bunch... they can tell a story or just show a landscape or whatever. Go wild.

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Step 1: Create Your Images

Things that you'll need are:
matte board
colouring tools of your choice
x-acto knife
hot glue or Epoxy
Spray Adhesive
Card stock

The first thing you want to do is start sketching and plan out your story or whatever it is that you want to put in the book. The thing you have to keep in mind is that most of your illustration is going to have to be on the sides of the pages... it's going to have to be on the borders so you can still look through the tunnel... but hey it doesn't have to.... but you want to keep in mind that if you have too many things in the middle of your vision you're not going to be able to tell what's happening. Another thing you want to keep in mind is that the borders of your "pages" will slowly continue to get wider as they move back in the book to get that tunnel effect, so keep that in mind as you're sketching our your ideas

Once you come up with your idea, put it on any kind of paper that you like colour it out but leave a space in the middle. See how I made mine below? Then lay them and glue them flat on some matte board so they will be more study in the final project.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Pages

Using a ruler for guidance cut out the pages and cut around everything that you coloured so nothing is left but a sort of frame. See how I did mine? Continue doing that with all of your pages. It IS kind of grueling and I'm not gonna lie... you're hands are gonna feel like suicide. If you have lots of pages to get through then you're going to need lots and lots of extra blades because matte board dulls them in no time at all. I had about 12 pages and I went through more than I can count.... so keep some sharp blades around and it will make everything a lot easier on you.

Step 3: Binding All of the Pages

Now you should have all of the pages glued down and cut out properly. Remember, the borders on top, bottom, and sides should all get wider as the pages go higher in number. Just to avoid confusion, if the borders on page 1 were about 1/2 inch, you might want to make the borders on page 2 one inch and one page 3 1.5 inches and so on. that you have all of the pages done you need to make little accordion strips to bind them. That's also what gives them a tunneled out look because the accordion strips space out the pages more. The cardstock is good to use because it's not to light to where it will be too floppy but it's just stiff enough to keep everything standing upright. You can make the accordion pieces as tall as the book is or you can just make them into strips and attach them to the sides.

Step 4: Attach the Pages

When you attach the pages, use the hotglue or epoxy or whatever works for you. It really depends what materials you're using too. Some things won't stick to something things as well as others. When attaching the pages the way that works for me best is to turn the first page upside down attach both the strips and keep piling on the pages that way. Again, the points of the accordion that are pointing outward and away from the book is where you want to put the strips of glue and attach the pages so that way when you compress the book down it accordions down neatly.

Step 5: Make a Cover

When all finished you might want to make a cover. You can do that by cutting out two squares of matteboard the exact size of your book. But between the two squares leave a little space for the spine area. You might want to make it a little bigger than necessary because over the time that your book sits on the shelf the accordion might spring up a little. On one square glue a creative design for the cover if you want. Then on the side that your cover is make two scores where the spine is so it will fold around the book easily. Then turn it over and on the back of the other square glue your entire book.

There you have it... .You've just completed you're tunnel book!!

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    37 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm, I hate tunnel dreams, but this defies them-Tunnel books! IDK why I don't care about tunnels in general, but always loved tunnel books and images with stuff all the way down the tunnel. Odd. I am just an oddity about this one.


    8 years ago on Step 3

    All you have to do is make tabs attached to your pages and then glue the tabs down to the accordian shaped long paper on each side, it works and no hot glue needed, I teach this lesson to my fifth graders and elmer glue works great!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable . I taught my history students how to do this a couple of years ago. It is a great displayable book report. The kids remember much more about the book after building these. I checked out the website, beautiful work.

    Nice instructable. If anyone is interested in tunnel books check out the online gallery on my website. I welcome questions and comments.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I went through a LOT of experimenting with that.  At first I hot glued and that would work okay for smaller books, but the more you used the book it would start to brittle and the pages would eventually fall out.  (I'm not saying it won't work though)  Epoxy is like cement and works great.  I would spread some out on a piece of cardboard and work really quickly because it congeals super quick.  Paint it on the edges of your pages and then stuff it into the accordian creases and hold for about five minutes until it dries.  it's an annoying process lol.  
    I've been thinking about trying to sew the pages in somehow and see how that works out... 


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Well Im SOOO making one. But I will try sewing, cuz im broke, out of hot glue sticks, and my dad wont let me use epoxy lol. thanks!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You know... i think I will try making my designs on the computer, then printing them on note cards, to make a more sturdy, yet more portable book.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure you buy acid free or archival note cards for this.  You may get away with non-archival paper on many projects, but notecards yellow nearly as fast as cheap paperbacks.  It's a good policy to just use the archival supplies anyway.  Hm, you might want to try using acid free drawing paper , the textured varieties may give interesting effects.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I am going to attempt to do this as soon as time permits.
    Thank you for making this instructable!!!!!(:


    11 years ago on Step 2

    Talking about cutting on this type of board: get yourself the kind of knife which snaps off at the tip when the point is dulled. The blade will have ten or so sections, which you snap off and discard each time you need a new one. Really useful for cutting paper.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

     Agreed!  and don't skimp on a cheap version of it or cheap blades for that matter!  It really does make a difference, and your hands will definitely thank you.  I highly recommend Olfa brand.  The slim stainless steel blade holder is very nice.  And if you look around for blade packs, try and get the Olfa "black" blades.  They're thinner and the grind angle on the edge is much keener.  I think most Sherwin Williams paint stores carry them for professional wallpaper hangers.  They're not cheap, but neither are your hands, or your time. 


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I wish like hell I would have though of that when I was cutting out those pages.  I must have went through a thousand blades!!  and my hands kept cramping like crazy  :P   Thanks for the tip :)

    MirimeLithium Rain

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Okay I will be nice but still it kinda remindes me of the new tim burton film a little. the idea is very awesome

    (so THERE Lithium Rain i was nice!)


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I did a 4th grade tunnel book lesson while student teaching, it was rough for some but mostly all the students ended up loving them.