You’re going to have the coolest school supplies on the planet when you make yourself an upcycled folder from a cardboard record album cover.
Cardboard record album covers are perfect for this project–they’re a little sturdier than your regular dime a dozen cardstock folders (which is a good thing!), but still light and easy to carry, and their prominent graphics both recall the look of your favorite themed folders and are unique to your own old-school interests. Seriously, where else on the planet am I going to find a Simon and Garfunkel folder for myself?
Tip: To find cardboard record album covers to upcycle, check out yard sales and thrift stores. People barely know how to properly store records anymore, which means that a lot of the ones that you can pick up on the cheap have been mistreated and are now completely unplayable. Unplayable records are records ripe for upcycling!
How to Make a Folder from an Album Cover
You will need:
cardboard record album cover. You’ll need one entire record album cover, as well as one additional piece of cardboard of the same dimensions. Two record sets will provide the necessary cardboard, or you can utilize part of another record album cover.
x-acto knife and self-healing cutting knife. Fair warning: I have a post about craft knife safety coming up in a few days, because while cutting the cardboard to make one of these folders, I sliced a gigantic piece of flesh almost completely off of my index finger. I then proceeded to half pass out in the middle of the floor, bleeding profusely, while my two children hovered over me, horrified, and repeatedly asked me what to do.
It’s important to make memories with your children, My Friends!
duct tape. Duct tape isn’t an eco-friendly craft supply, but it IS the best supply for the job here. You’re also not going to be using a ton of it, and the folders that you make are sturdy enough that they should last for a super long time, so I’m comfortable with it. If you’re not, play around with perhaps stitching or lacing up your folders, and then tell me all about it in the Comments below!
1. Measure and cut your cardboard record album cover. For this folder, you will be using both the front and back of one cardboard record album cover, keeping them attached on the left side to form the folder’s natural fold.
The height of the record album cover, 12″, is perfect for a folder. To get the correct length, 9.5″, cut the excess 2.5″ away from the right side of the cover.
Watch your fingers!!!
Slit open the top and bottom of the record album cover, leaving the left side attached.
2. Measure and cut the upcycled folder pockets. From a second piece of cardboard, measure and cut two rectangles with the dimensions “9.25 x 5”. Notice that the length of the cardboard is slightly less than that of each folder half–this will decrease bulk at the fold. The height of each pocket is up to your discretion, although 4″-5″ looks proportionate and will do a good job holding your papers.
3. Tape the hinge of the upcycled folder. Measure out a piece of duct tape that’s a little longer than the height of the folder, then cut it in half lengthwise–you’ll have the easiest time if you use duct tape scissors (I own this pair). Use one of the halves to cover and strengthen the folder’s hinge.
After you’ve folded the duct tape to cover both sides of the hinge, trim off the excess at each end.
4. Place and tape the pockets. Turn the folder over and place the cardboard pockets on each side, lined up with both the bottom and outside edges. Use the second half of duct tape to cover the inside hinge, catching both cardboard pockets.
Overlap or trim off any excess tape at each end.
5. Tape all the other edges. You can now cover the perimeter of the folder with duct tape, again measuring out the correct length for a side and cutting it into two lengthwise.
Fold each piece of tape under to cover both the outside and inside edges of the folder, and don’t forget to make sure that the tape catches the edges of the cardboard pockets, too.
Trim excess tape after you’ve taped each side:
These folders really are SUPER sturdy, and will stand up well to being tossed into a backpack and used all year.
And next school year, you can use them again!