Daydreaming on Paper
January 2016
Easy Planner Folders From Scrapbook Paper

I have tried all kinds of notebooks over the years, but these days, I pretty much use my day planner for everything - calendar, diary, scrapbook, sketchbook, note-taking, and record-keeping. Its loose-leaf format works really well for me. Like many people, I accumulate emphemera that I like to include in my notebooks to supplement the basic writing and drawing. Some of these items get pasted directly onto the notebook page, but I don't always like to do that. There are some items that I want to be able to take out and hold at a future date, so I need to be able to include them intact. For these, I like to use folders.

There are plenty of commercially available folders that would fit my planner, but they always seem to be either too plain and boring or completely not my style. So, I began to make my own. There are dozens of different ways to do this, and I could make really clever, ornate, and complex folders if I wanted to, but I have found that the design most likely to get made and actually used on a regular basis is the one that I can whip up in a few minutes using materials that are seldom far from my work table: 12x12 scrapbook paper and double-stick tape.

I like this size of scrapbook paper because it is easy to find, easy to turn into a folder that works with my planner size, and comes in a seemingly infinite variety of colors, patterns, and prints. This paper tends to be an impulse purchase for me, so I usually have a nice variety to choose from when I need a folder and can make one in a theme that fits the contents.

How I do it:

To make a quick but durable and aesthetically pleasing folder for your loose-leaf planner, all you need is two pieces of scrapbook paper (I usually buy the kind that is printed only on one side, but if you double-sided paper, you can cut your folder-making time from five minutes to something like two), double-stick tape, and a hole punch. If you also have a burnisher or a bone folder, great; if not, don't worry about it. If you are a stickler for exact measurements, you may want to grab a ruler, too.

Step One: Tape the two pieces of paper together using the double-stick tape. I do this in a completely random and non-methodical way using as much or as little tape as I have patience for at the time. I do try to get close to the edges and put at least a few pieces of tape in the center.

Step Two: Fold up one end of the taped-together sheet. My planner pages are 5.5x8.5 inches, so I fold about a 3.5-inch pocket. You can make a deeper or shallower pocket as desired.

Step Three: Fold the taped and folded sheet in half. This is where you might want to use your bone folder or burnisher to smooth down the folds if you want.

Step Four: Punch holes in your new folder to correspond with your notebook format. You will probably find it easier to do this with a single-hole punch than with whatever multi-hole punch you normally use. You may want to secure the hole punched nearest to the edge of the pocket. I just use clear reinforcement holes for this. You could tape the entire pocket edge down as well if you want, but I never bother with it.

All done! You are now ready to put your new double-sided folder to use. Mine come in handy for keeping tickets, postards, cards, photos, sticker sheets, and so much more ready and available in my planner notebook. I also use them in my notebook archives to hold menus, brochures, photos, maps, and other paper goods related to vacations and other events, as well as letters, cards, and anything else that I do not want to punch holes in.

Variations to Try:

  • Use two contrasting colors or patterns of paper. Try a solid and a print. I also like to use a regular and a vellum version of the same print as shown above.
  • Use 12x12 cardstock. When using cardstock, you may want to score the folds first so that you have cleaner edges.
  • Instead of using two sheets that are the same size, use three sheets arranged so that you get a contrasting edge when you make the pocket fold.
  • Use decorative scissors or a decorative border punch on one edge before you fold it up to make the pocket.

Happy Scribbling!


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