How to Decorate Paper Folders

Written by renee miller
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How to Decorate Paper Folders
Folders don't have to be boring. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Paper folders, whether 3-pronged, pocketed or plain, are used by students from elementary school to college. For many, the traditional styles are not enough. These students want more than the latest teen magazine favourite smiling back at them. These creative souls need subject folders that make a statement about their personality.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hot-glue gun
  • Beads
  • Plastic gemstones
  • Stencil
  • Markers
  • Stamp kit
  • Découpage mix
  • Magazine pictures
  • Copies of old photos

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  1. 1

    Use any assortment of colourful beads or plastic gem stones found in the craft aisle of most department stores. Glue the beads along the edges of the folder using your choice of a single colour or varying shades of the same colour. You can also alternate every colour of the rainbow and some in between. Another option is to stencil your initial or a simple flower in the centre of the folder before adding the bead work.

    How to Decorate Paper Folders
    Use beads and plastic gemstones to decorate your folders. (beads image by Alison Bowden from
  2. 2

    Choose a colour that contrasts with the colour of your folder. Freehand a design in pencil onto the folder. Draw several wavy lines, loops or geometric shapes containing sharp angles and lines. The key is to start at one corner of the folder and end at the opposite end. Trace the line with the thin point of the marker in the colour you've chosen. On opposite sides of each line, fill in the spaces with your marker so that it creates a contrasting design of negative and positive artwork.

  3. 3

    Fill in every square inch of folder space using a stamp kit. Small 1-inch stamps are available at most craft stores. Use different colours of ink to make a collage of stamped artwork. Change it up by using larger sized stamps or stamps that are of popular quotes and funny phrases in conjunction with the picture stamps. Then découpage pictures from magazines or copies of photos of friends onto the front and back of your folder.

  4. 4

    Colour your favourite scene on the front and back of your folder. Use crayons, markers, pens or tempura paints. Enjoy the process of just colouring for the fun of it and showing off your artwork on your folder.

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