File Folder Art Journal [VIDEO] How to Tutorial

November 27, 2011

During a recent art therapy supervision session, I was re-introduced (thanks Mary!) to the technique of taking a basic file folder and re-purposing it into a mini book that could be used as an art journal.  I wanted to remember the folding sequence and steps involved, so I decided to do a quick, short how-to video and thought other creatives would also be interested in trying this fun, easy, and inexpensive idea.  Materials you will need to get started include a file folder (with side tabs, not a middle tab) and some glue:

Here’s some written steps:

1. Start with the tab in the upper right hand corner.

2. Fold the folder up from the bottom straight across so the tab curves line up.  This will create four pockets inside of the journal.

3. Next start with the right side and begin to fold this into the middle, making sure the bottom of the tab lines up with the file’s center seam.

4. Fold the left side to the middle, lining up the upper left section with the center seam.  Note the file’s tabs will be extending out of the journal.

5. Squeeze the folder/journal in together- Glue the middle together and the folder’s edges.

6. Embellish with paint, collage, fabric, and mixed media materials.  The thickness of the file folder surface is great for painting, sewing into, and doing lots of collage!  The pockets are the perfect size for Artist Trading Cards, tags, and other creative keepsakes!

Before

Covers Started

I remember that the January/February 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors also had an article about making art from office supplies and featured a File Journal (watch the video here!), with another slightly different folding technique and ideas for Journal Cards/Tags to put inside the pockets.  I have also been researching other inspiring examples on the sites Dreamcicle Journeys and Rough Around the Edges, as I continue to keep working on the art journals I have started.

If you try this technique out, I would love to see your journal!   Feel free to comment with a link to a photo, post, etc.!

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14 Responses to “File Folder Art Journal [VIDEO] How to Tutorial”

  1. ReStitch Me Says:

    These are sooo cool! They would make great Christmas presents! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lani Says:

    Thanks so much Gretchen, this is perfect! Love it!

  3. Cathy Says:

    Okay, now I know what to make for Christmas presents! And I have a ton of folders too! BTW, whose hands are those?


  4. Many thanks for the comments!
    ps- art journaling hand modeling courtesy of KK


  5. I’d like to post this on my ART IN HAND facebook page. Great idea!

  6. rhodiah Says:

    A great concept to reuse the folder. Besides being practical

  7. Sara Says:

    Great idea! And no shortage of filing folders lying around my organization… ;)
    Thanks for sharing!


  8. [...] above image is a spread from one of my file folder bluebooks I am currently working on to visually document some of my travels and adventures in twentytwelve. [...]


  9. [...] with their paper stashes or day to day collected findings and keepsakes using the introduced file folder or paper bag book making [...]


  10. [...] photo is 7 x 5 inches, which will fit really nicely in one the file folder pockets of my 6 Degrees of Creativity 2 gluebook. Fiona suggests that this image technique can also [...]


  11. [...] Since the workshop I have pondered my Ikigai many times and each time I do this, it gives me another gift as another layer of meaning is uncovered. Therefore in preparation for the next Creativity for Well-Being workshop,which will focus on values, I decided to further explore  my Ikigai.  I used a small file folder gluebook  inspired by Gretchen Miller over at 6 Degrees of Creativity 2. If you want to make you own file folder journal Gretchen has instructions on her blog Creativity in Motion. [...]


  12. I LOVE this idea! Thank you for sharing, and for such a great how-to video!! I’ll definitely have to try it :)


  13. [...] Lautenbach facilitated a file folder gluebook project with a workshop she offered for Arts at Smith student orientation with the theme of [...]


  14. [...] wanting to create my own journal for a while, and I found a tutorial on how to make a mini-book using a file folder that seemed like the perfect starting point for this [...]


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