As most people who know me at least fairly well could tell you, I really love office supplies. So, embarking on the journey to find the perfect organizer seemed like a fun little exploration through the world of card stock, colored paper clips, and page pockets. Turns out I was wrong, because what I was imagining in my head didn't really seem to exist.
But then, I had an inspired idea... turn to Pinterest! They love blogs! And printables! And organizing! They will have the answer!
Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
What's a girl to do when the most perfect office supply is beyond her reach? Make her own.
- 2 regular file folders (with the tabs cut off)
- 6 sheets of patterned 8.5" x 11" paper (I suppose this optional, if you would prefer the plain folder. I made my paper by doodling a sheet and then making photocopies!)
- Page pockets (however many you need, I stuck all 10 in there to be super prepared)
- Clear Contact Paper (you can find this in the housewares department of stores like Target and Walmart, and is usually used to line shelves)
- Three 2-prong brads
- Optional: Washi tape and zipper pouch
For the front/back covers, glue a piece of your patterned paper to each panel (4 in total). I recommend re-folding your folder (there are scored guidelines at the bottom of some brands) to create a larger back panel and a shorter front cover. This ensures that there is plenty of space for your page pockets (which are larger than a normal sheet of paper).
For the document pocket, you only need to cover the outsides, and can be left at its natural fold.
Cut a piece of contact paper large enough to cover each side of your folders (again, with the document pocket, you only need to do the outside). A couple of tips about cutting your contact paper: 1. You want to make sure you give yourself a margin of space on each side, but don't make it huge because the larger the sheet, the trickier it is. 2. You will apply the contact paper down the length so you're working with the smallest width possible. You will want to cut your sheet so that it will apply in the same direction as it came off the roll. It may waste less materials if you cut it the other way, but I promise it's not worth it. Contact paper has a strong physical memory, and does not like to going in another direction.
Now for application. I've covered many-a-thing in my life with contact paper, and this is hands down the most effective way I have used. Fold down about 1 cm (the contact paper is gridded) at the top of your sheet (second image). Apply that small margin of sticky to the top of your folder, and run your finger across to make sure it's securely applied (third image). Now, take a deep breath and get ready to roll it on. With your right hand, grab the tab of backing you created folding down that fist cm. Steadily pull that tab to uncover more of the contact paper, while your left hand follows behind, smoothing out the newly revealed sticky side. Start from the middle and push out to try and prevent bubbles; you don't have to worry about sealing the edges at this point, that can be done after. For a larger piece like this, I will sometimes alternate with my forearm to help apply. When you finish, it is likely you will have a few bubbles (only on occasion do I get away with none); you can use a bone folder or scissor handles to try and push some of the air out, smoothing from the inside towards the edge.
If you're not used to working with contact paper, I recommend trying it out on a few smaller pieces beforehand so you can get a feel for the way it moves. I much prefer it to lamination for a couple of reasons; it's much more pliable, doesn't require equipment, and gives a nice matte finish.
You will also want to refold your creases so that the folder will lay flat. I recommend a bone folder if you have one, but scissor handles do just fine (that's what I used).
Using a page pocket as a guide, mark where your brads should come through. Since you now have two sheets of plastic coating on this thing, you're not going to be able to just stick the brads through. Using the point of an X-acto knife, scissors, or, cough, kitchen knife, poke a little guide hole. This is best done with the aid of self-healing pad or wooden cutting board. I would not recommend skipping that part, because you may end up stabbing a kitchen knife sized hole through your planner. Which is not something I would do. Or did. No. Absolutely not.
Anyways, moving on.
Place your brads in from the back so that it looks nice on the outside and you can easily change out your pages if needed. Load 'em up, fold 'em down.
guess what? You're done!
Happy Tuesday! Stay organized, & cheers friends! XO, Rachel