Creating a Visual Timeline of You | An Accordion Book

Creating a Visual Timeline of You

Do you love soft pencil lines and dreamy puddles of watercolor? Me, too! That’s why I’m head-over-heals with Danielle Donaldson’s book creativeGirl and I had so much fun with a project in the book—Creating a Visual Timeline of You—that I wanted to encourage you to give it your own spin as well. I did this by turning my timeline into a cute little accordion book.

For this project in her book, Danielle uses watercolor paper that’s 6″ x 12″ (15cm x 30cm). Because I wanted to create a long and skinny accordion, I created a text block that when flat is 1-3/4″ x 23-1/2″ (4cm x 60cm).

Creating a Visual Timeline of You, Steps 1 and 2

To get such a long piece of paper, I glued three lengths together and then using a mix of intuition and rational thinking, I added the watercolors that represented each phase of my life from childhood to present and an intention for the future.

Danielle suggests lightly penciling a line across your sheet and then thinking of what’s below the line as representing times where you faced struggles or adversity while having what’s above the line represent joyous events and special things you remember. I applied this direction loosely and tended to apply color to stages of my life as a whole, with a bit more grey at the bottom and lighter hues at the top. If you’re making an accordion book (you are, right?), now is a good time to fold up your paper so you’ll be able to easily see where the mountains and valleys will be and this can influence placement just a wee bit of where you’ll put your little bits in the next step.

After getting basic washes of color down, sketch and paint in more concrete details, including phrases if you like. Danielle suggests adding in shapes of white paint over the writing or any other details you want to keep private. The next step was to gather bits of paper or fabric that are an extension of your journey. I loved gathering these pieces! Danielle suggests sewing them along your penciled horizontal line using a sewing machine, but I love to hand-stitch so that's how I attached my pieces. Do what works for you!

After getting basic washes of color down, sketch and paint in more concrete details, including phrases if you like. Danielle suggests adding in shapes of white paint over the writing or any other details you want to keep private. The next step was to gather bits of paper or fabric that are an extension of your journey. I loved gathering these pieces! Danielle suggests sewing them along your penciled horizontal line using a sewing machine, but I love to hand-stitch so that’s how I attached my pieces. To make this easier, I pre-punched a line of holes down my horizontal line using a T-pin. Do what works for you!

While you’re sewing pieces down, don’t worry if they shift or get pulled out of shape. As Danielle says, “Life is messy and beautiful all at the same time, right?” Right! It was incredible to me how many memories came back to me as I picked up, held and sewed down these little bits of texture and color that reflected back to me the journey I’ve been on and all of its rich ups and downs. I even stared recalling poetry I’d written at different phases and songs that I had loved.

Here are some close-ups of my timeline. Someone else may look at your timeline and guess what each little piece means, but only you will really know and that makes this project delightfully intimate.

Here are some close-ups of my timeline. Someone else may look at your timeline and guess what each little piece means, but only you will really know and that makes this project delightfully intimate.

Now it’s time to make a pretty cover for your timeline. You’ll want your cover pieces about 1/8″ (3mm) bigger each direction than your folded text block (accordion). When my text block was folded up, it measured 1-3/4″ x 2-3/8″ (4cm x 6cm) so I cut my covers to 1-7/8″ x 2-1/2″ (5cm x 6.5cm).

Cut covers for your book from matboard, book board or any other dense material and either cover with decorative paper, or . . .do like I did and have fun with Duck tape!

Cut covers for your book from matboard, book board or any other dense material and either cover with decorative paper, or . . .do like I did and have fun with Duck tape!

Lastly, glue the backs of the first and last pages to the inside of the covers using PVA, craft glue, gel medium (you get the idea) or double-sided tape. Ta-dah! Your own timeline of YOU. (Tip: Set a weight on your closed accordion book overnight to tame a bit of the springy-ness.)

5-Timeline-Finished-Book

I hope I’ve encouraged you to explore this unique way of expressing your life path and that you’ll give the project a try. And I highly recommend you check out creativeGIRL. Danielle’s work is so lovely and this project didn’t even scratch the surface of the insane amount of inspiration in the book.

creative girl

You may also like these articles:

  • No Related Posts
This entry was posted in Art Journaling, Book Arts, Editor's Picks, Make: Mixed Media Art Projects, Mixed Media Collage. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply