How to cover file folders with decorative paper

Written by mary ellen popolo
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How to cover file folders with decorative paper
Decorate each folder using themed paper reflecting the contents of the file folder. (bike scrapbook image by robert mobley from

File folders are functional. They are also plain, beige and relatively nondescript. In a professional office, manila file folders work well. At home, colourful file folders add personality to a work space. Adding decorative paper to file folders dresses them up and gives them personality. With the wide array of papers available to choose from, you can decorate the files to reflect your own personal style. You can coordinate them with the look of your office, or style each one to reflect its contents. For instance you can use car-themed paper for your car folder. A set of decorated file folders also makes a great gift for a student or someone who just moved into their first place.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 12-by-12 inch decorative paper
  • Letter size file folders
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Embellishments

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  1. 1

    Browse through the scrapbooking section of your local craft store to find decorative paper for your file folders. Purchase enough paper to use for this project. You will need two 12-by-12 inch sheets of paper for each folder.

  2. 2

    Turn one sheet of paper facedown on a flat working surface. Begin with the tabbed side of the file folder and place it facedown on the decorative paper.

  3. 3

    Match one corner and the bottom edge of the file folder to one corner and edge of the decorative paper.

  4. 4

    Use a pencil to lightly trace an outline of the remaining two sides of the file folder. Cut along the pencil line to remove the excess paper.

  5. 5

    Repeat the above steps for the second side of the file folder, using a new piece of decorative paper.

  6. 6

    Run the glue stick along the edge of the decorative paper. In addition, make two or three lines width-wise across the back of the paper.

  7. 7

    Attach the paper to the file folder, glue side down, by matching the bottom corners of the paper and the folder. Press firmly upwards smoothing out any creases, wrinkles or bubbles. Trim any excess paper from the edges of the file folder.

  8. 8

    Make sure to glue the tabbed piece of paper to the tabbed side of the file folder and the non-tabbed paper to the non-tabbed side of the file folder.

  9. 9

    Add decorative ribbon or other embellishments such as beads, stickers or chipboard accents, to add a personal touch.

Tips and warnings

  • 12-by-12 inch card stock or wrapping paper can be substituted for decorative paper.

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