Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cottage Style File Folders

I have been busy these last few days organizing. 

I don't know what it is about beginning a New Year, 

but it always makes me want to put things in order. 

One organizing project I have been working on
 is filing all the craft, recipe and decorating ideas that I rip from magazines. 

You know what I mean. 

You see that perfect recipe and you rip it out, 
and then it gets mushed in the cookbook collection somewhere
 and you can never find it when you need it.

Or, if you like to write the recipe down on cute little recipe cards,
 those can get lost, too.

My magazine files were out of control, 
So I came up with a way to organize them using basic supplies
and scrapbook paper. 

Plain manila file folders from the office supply store
make excellent recipe files. 

I used small, oblong stickers to cover over the tab headings with my own categories. 

Twelve inch square scrapbook paper is a perfect match for the standard 12" wide manila file folder. 

A paper cutter is a very nice tool to have.

I chose small, graphic prints that coordinate with each other and with my kitchen.

I experimented with different adhesives and found that plain white glue worked the best. 

Use a thin, steady line around the edges with a little extra in the corners, 
but remember -  not too much! :)

Pay attention to how you will place it before you glue.

White glue allows you to have some sliding room. 

Carefully press from the middle outward and then lightly smooth around the edges.

Wipe any drips with a dry piece of paper toweling. 

Glue the front, the back and then the flap. 

I used two different patterns on this flap. 

Here, above, one pattern is already applied. 

To cover the seam between sheets of paper, I used ribbon or rick rack.

1/4 inch wide seems to be the best size.

Apply the glue to the ribbon, not the file.

You can also use scrapbook tape. These come in pretty colors and designs. 

Cut the length with a little extra to fold underneath (about 1/2 inch each side) 

Use simple clothespins to hold in place - only a few minutes! 
(Approx. 10 min. or until the glue is set)
You don't want to glue clothespins to your file! 

When you remove the clothespins, wipe any visible glue off clothespin with a wet cloth,

then pin them to the top of a jar until they dry. 

This will keep them from sticking together! 

For top of the file, use strips of paper over each joint. 
Glue ribbon or rick rack to only one side of each joint. 
This will allow ease of opening and closing. 

I used self adhesive Velcro tabs for the 'clasp' 

A simple, embroidered rose applique' was glued on to the center front for decoration. 

You could use charming buttons, too. 

Use colors that will coordinate with the manila folder, as the sides will be visible. 

Small graphic or floral papers are much more forgiving than solid colors. 

Don't forget to cover the back!

Now I will know exactly where that special recipe or craft idea is! 

And my files coordinate perfectly with my kitchen! 

Plain wooden recipe boxes from the craft store can be done the same way. 

By choosing your own papers, 
you can have something special that will coordinate with your style. 

(I removed the little clasp to paper the box, but if you can't,
 use a razor knife to cut around the clasp.
Soft felt is glued to the bottom.) 

Remember, nothing has to be perfect. 
That is the charm.

Keeping the files in a handled basket makes it easy to transport them. 

And they are so much prettier than plain ones! 

I hope this inspires you to make your own Cottage Style File Folders. 


Supplies needed:

Standard 12" wide Manila Accordion File Folder with Flap Front. 
4 pieces 12" sq. Scrapbook Paper per file
White or Clear Craft Glue
Pencil, Ruler, 
Paper Cutter if desired
Close-pins or other small clamps
Approx. 1 and 1/2 yds ribbon, rick rack, or scrapbook tape per file 
Self-Adhesive Velcro Closures
Button or Embroidered Motif Medallion

Have fun! 


  1. I love this fun idea, many ways to personalize them...your paper choices are lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  2. love this. I have a giant filing mess I have been meaning to get to and you have inspired me.

  3. Hi Karen, sorry I didn't realize you had technical difficulties. I noticed your absence and thought you were on a blogging break. So I missed some of your recent posts. I've added you to my Google+ circle of friends as I check that more frequently than the Blogger reading list, and I can see your updates there.

    I love these colorful folders and you have inspired me. I have so much organizing to do at home and lots of paperwork to file. Have a great creative week, Karen! xx

  4. Oh wow Karen this is some amazing creativity. You are such a creative and artistic soul!

  5. cute. i am glad your blogging issues were resolved.

  6. You did a fabulous job with this tutorial! Your file folders are very chic and look great in your kitchen! Great idea, Karen :-)

  7. Hi Karen, you made the folders look so pretty the way you decorated them! It will be a nice way to keep everything organized too. Have a nice day and thanks for the visit to my blog.

  8. Well done! This is something that even I might be able to do with your good instructions.

  9. Oh Karen, these are SOOO cute!! Love, love, love them :) And yes, I will definitely have to make some in the near future since our file folder for our receipts is falling apart. You are such a clever lady and I appreciate you sharing with us :)

    Have a beautiful week, friend!

    Love and hugs to you!

  10. I admire you, I can't say anything better. You are a multifaceted talented woman with good taste and a lot of energy!
    Many hugs and greetings from here!

  11. How creative and organized you are now! The file folders are so pretty.
    Glad you have the technical difficulties fixed.

  12. So clever and so cute. They go will with your house.

  13. totally totally awesome - I've seen these file folders but would not buy them because they are ugly! Covering these folders with a more pleasing colors and textures - you hit on a great idea. Your choices of color units and design is perfect and work is nicely done and on top of this you share tips... THANKS SO MUCH for sharing this idea..


  14. Hi Karen, my daughter uses the concealer that you use and she likes it too! Maybe I will try it next time. Lol. Take care.

  15. You make it all look so easy! I envy you being able to buy plain accordion folders and nice boxes like that to decorate.

  16. What a darling idea. You have been busy and so organized!! Thanks for sharing!!

  17. I am totally blown away by your organizing skills! Big Kudos to you for doing this and in such a wonderful project too. i am pretty excited as I will be in your area for a little spring trip ( will it ever come????). Going to go on a boat trip down the columbia river in the path of Lewis and Clark. Then ending at portland, and traveling up to Seattle for a few days before going home. Can hardly wait, and was especially excited to tack a few Seattle days on to the end of our trip. Any suggestions for "must do's " in Seattle? In the planning stage now. Big hugs from Texas.

    1. Thanks, Jeanne - how exciting for you to be planning a trip to retrace the Lewis and Clark expedition! If you come to Seattle, you have to take a ride up the Space Needle - the views are wonderful. The Dale Chihuly glass museum is at the base of the needle. Also, Pike Street Market is a must! Plan on taking the monorail from the Needle to Pike Street and having lunch at the market. The views of the waterfront are lovely. If you are adventurous you can take a ferry to one of the islands for the day or take the Victoria Clipper up to Victoria, B.C. It is a short trip on the high speed clipper and you can spend the day walking around Victoria. Have tea at the Empress. Well, that should help you out, if you have any more questions, just ask! So happy for you! Hugs xo Karen

  18. Now Karen, those are the prettiest file folders I've ever seen!! Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us and your tutorial. Lovely blessings sent to you. xo

  19. Wow Karen , great work, these file folders are very pretty.

  20. Folks would pay big $$ to buy those in stores.

    You've got more go get 'um than I do. If I just get the pages into a file in a drawer I feel victorious. I think if I had to make the files first I'd get to the filing in 2020.

  21. Dearest Karen,
    Obviously the technical problem got solved! Glad for you.
    Oh those Manila Accordion File Folders I've had many of them but they do wear out and I have trashed most of them. My recipes are in hanging folders sorted by subject and inside a cheap file cabinet. That always worked fine and is real easy to find. They are stashed away out of the dust and light.
    Enjoy yours and hope you stay warm too or is that Polar Vortex bypassing the northwest?

    1. Dear Mariette,
      Thank you for visiting - my technical problems are still being sorted out and I am not able to leave comments at times. It seems to be a Google issue. I like your ideas for filing - wonderful idea! Yes, we are very fortunate this winter and are having a mild, but unusually dry winter. We will see how long it lasts! :) We still get the chance of storms into April. Hope you are staying warm!
      Hugs xo

  22. Hola Karen que lindo trabajo con esas cajas ,, muy buen trabajo,, que tengas un óptimo fin de semana

  23. They sure are a lot prettier than plain old files. What a clever idea and you don't have to keep them hidden away. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  24. You have made organizing beautiful......My daughter is a very organized person and I can already envision some of the papers that I have collected made into some folders for her....While I am at, I think I'll make a few for my studio....Thanks for sharing all the steps involved in making them....

  25. Sometimes I wonder if we are on the same wave length! Ha! As I am on a mad organizing spree here in this house! And YES I have piles and piles of clippings that get stuck in books and then the beans find the books and the clippings end up all over the floor...and the cycle continues! These are gorgeous Karen!!!! Just gorgeous!! They look completely custom!!! It is just a fantastic transformation lady!!! And now I am inspired to move on to my next project!!! Thank you for sharing and you have a wonderful week dear friend!!! Nicole xoxo

  26. Whoah Mrs Karen...can you make me one please? They look so adorable :)
    I love to see the treasures in your house. Thanks for sharing this idea, I would love to give a try. I hope you have wonderful week. Praying for you and family.

  27. These are so pretty! I am amazed at your creativity. I would never have thought to cover the folders with paper and other fun touches like you did. And they really do coordinate so well with your kitchen decor. This is such a great idea!

  28. Fabulous tutorial! What a great idea. They really are pretty and so wonderfully organized. I keep thinking I will get organized finally, and it never happens!

  29. My brain is still in a fog, sorry. I meant to tell you how awesome that Hoosier cabinet is, and all those other gorgeous vintage pieces. Love your home!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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