November 13, 2011

Organizational Bliss: A DIY File Folder

When I started Operation Organizational Bliss, tackling the counter tops was a top priority.  I don't need to tell anyone how easy it is for these spots to attract clutter.  You already know.  

I have one counter top that is a particular mess magnet.  It's where our tot's art project supplies accumulate.  See for yourself.

I could try to train myself to put those things elsewhere, but that would be like trying to force a square peg through a round hole.  The craft stuff gets deposited there because it's easy to reach, and the items stay in view so they aren't forgotten. It's a natural place for them.  And I'd rather not retrain myself if I don't have to. I don't want to serve our organized spaces. I want our organized spaces to serve me.  That's when the bliss happens.

So the craft supplies need to be in that location, in view, nicely displayed, and done on a dime.  It's a tall order.  One that will need multiple solutions.  This week, I got in gear on the first solution by DIYing a file folder to house the coloring books, loose leaf sheets of paper, sticker sheets, and a few of mom's cooking magazines too.  Sure, I could've bought a file folder.  But my local HomeGoods store wanted to sell me a cheapy cardboard version with a dizzying paisley print for $14.99.  Nuh uh.  So I made my own and customized it exactly how I wanted for a fraction of the cost. Here's the play-by-play.

DIY File Folder Tutorial

You'll need:
  • cardboard box
  • duct tape
  • fabric to cover
  • Elmer's glue
  • colored paper or contact paper
  • white spray paint (optional)
  • stiff card stock (optional)

Step 1
Step 1 - Start with a sturdy cardboard box. The thicker your cardboard, the nicer your final product will be.  Cut out the pieces to form the sides and bottom of your file folder.  I'm not getting super detailed on this because the pictures tell most of the story.  For a rough idea on dimensions, this file folder is approximately 12" h x 9" l x 4" w.  

Step 2

Step 2 - Tape the sides and bottom of your file folder together using a thick tape.  Duct tape is an obvious choice.  You can use camo colored duct tape if you want it to look extra tough like mine. Hooah!  Another reason to use duct tape? It will help seal the bottom from any spills that happen on the counter top.

Step 3
Step 3 (optional) - I knew my fabric was thin and that striking green duct tape would show through.  So I spray painted my file folder white.  Skip this if your fabric provides enough coverage.

Step 4
Step 4 - Cut your fabric into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the whole file folder.  Allow for at least 2" of extra fabric on the top, bottom and sides so that you can tuck and glue it with ease.  Glue your fabric to the cardboard.  The seam should start and end in the back.  And remember to check that the pattern is oriented in the right direction on your file folder.

At this point your file folder looks like this.  (Note that I didn't cut the fabric to along the slanted edges yet.  It's easier to trim those pieces after gluing to the sides).

Step 5
Step 5 - Trim the excess fabric, fold neatly inside the corners (pleats work well), and glue.

Step 6 - Take some coordinating colored paper and cut it to fit inside the file folder.  I used blue wrapping paper because I liked its glossy finish.  But it was also very flimsy.  So I taped it around a thicker piece of card stock.  And by card stock, I mean a couple junk mail fliers taped together and trimmed to size.

Step 7

Step 7 - Last step! Glue the colored paper (exposed side of the flier faces the glue) into the file folder.  I turned my file folder on its side and laid a heavy book inside it to help the colored paper bond nice and flat to each side of the file folder. You could also use contact paper instead and skip the gluing.

And the finished product with the world's cutest product model too.  Those Barker Beauties ain't got nothin' on this.

We had a "before" so we need an "after".  One more time.

I can see more counter space already.  On our way to Organizational Bliss!

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