Sunday, August 29, 2010

cereal box folders

I realized the other day that I am in need of folders for my classes that I'm taking this semester. I've already spent a good deal of money moving and getting settled, plus I know I'll be spending a lot on materials for my classes later on in the semester, so I'd rather not spend even a few bucks on something as basic as folders. So I decided to try my hand at making my own. As with everything, some turned out better than others, but I now have 3 folders to my name that are clever, functional, and earth-friendly. Here are some photos (keep in mind that you can click on any photo to enlarge it so you can see the detail better.):

Here's one of the boxes I started with. The only alterations I've made thus far are to cut the box open (I used a metal ruler and rotary cutter to cut about 1/8th of an inch off one side as the box was folded flat on itself) and cut off the flaps on that small, middle section that used to be the side of the box.
Here that same folder is all finished. All I did was turn the box over so the inside of the box is now the outside of the folder. Then I folded the flaps over so the top and bottom flaps are the tops and bottom of the inside pocket, and the nutrition facts panel is folded over as the side of the pocket with its flaps folded over and glued onto the back to make the pocket solid.
Here's the back of the folder. I punched tiny holes in the back cover before gluing the pocket flaps down and used some bookbinding thread to attach a large rubber band. You could use an elastic headband or those elastics for gift wrapping as well if you wanted. In fact, they might last longer, too, since they aren't raw rubber.
Here's a close up. You can see that the thread actually doesn't go through the rubber band, just around it so it can slide around and doesn't weaken the rubber band by punching holes in it.
Here's another folder I made, and this time the cover worked out right-side up. I suppose the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios one can be right-side up too, if you just put the pocket on the left side instead of the right. Things to think about.
Here are all 3 folders together. Fun fact: not all cereal boxes are the same size. Make sure you check the paper you want to put in the folder with the size of the front/back sides of the box before you start to folder-ify it. If the box is tall enough (if you are using standard 8/5 x 11 in paper, the box needs to be a little over 11 inches or more) but not wide enough (it's narrower than 8.5 in) you can fold the top of the folder down in a different place to allow more room. I had to do this with the two folders pictured above. If you look, the fold on the side of the box is actually the second one I'd made: the first one was in the center of that panel and it made the folder too small. So I changed the fold to give the paper about 1/2 in more space and it worked much better.
I realize that these folders are not the conventional 2-pocket folders you can buy at the store. These are modeled after folders that I used while I was on my study abroad in Spain. The three flap technique was nice because then you never had to worry about your pages falling out of your folder if you picked it up upside down, and I liked the security of the rubber band to keep it closed. The Spanish flaps weren't glued in any way, though, and I may regret gluing mine if I can't fit enough papers in. We'll see how it goes: there's always room for improvement.

And now I have a confession: personally, I really don't like it when instructions don't have pictures of each of the steps so you can follow along, but when I think about doing that myself I get really intimidated. Maybe I will conquer my fear someday. But for now, I hope this might inspire you to try your hand at your own folder making, either using this cereal box idea, or something else. If you do try it out, let me know how it goes!

In the mean time, I'll let you know how the folders hold up over the semester.


garrett said...

HEY CASSI I LOVE ALL YOUR COOL BOOKS!!!! they be sooo cool yo. i am glad i could coment cause i know how much you love it. also i will refresh the page like 50 times so you get to like 450 on the counter down below lol.


Cassandra said...

Haha. You know me well, my brotha. Thanks for finally reading the blog!