Accordion File Folder

by AJ Otto

Turn a file folder in a beautiful tag book.


  • File Folder (8.5" x 11"), left tab
  • Three 3 1/4" x 7" pieces of cardstock, Vanilla Cardstock used here
  • One 3 3/4" x 7" piece of cardstock, Vanilla Cardstock used here
  • Three 3 1/8" x 6 7/8" pieces of colored cardstock , Burgundy and Sage Cardstock used here
  • Patterned papers
  • Die cuts (optional)
  • Corner Rounder
  • Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive
  • Bone Folder
  • Embellishments to decorate


  1. Step 1

    Open the file folder so that the tab is in the top right corner. This is important!

  2. Step 2

    Fold the bottom of the folder up about 4" to create the pockets.

    When you fold the bottom up, the left side of the folder must match up with the cut out tab.

  3. Step 3

    Fold the left side toward the center until the straight part touches the center line.

    Important: The tabbed portion will overlap the center line. It's okay!

  4. It should end up lining up like this.

  5. Step 4

    Fold right side over to the left side until the "binding" matches up.

    It is very important that the binding of the book lines up evenly.

  6. This is how the spine or binding should look.

  7. Step 5

    The folder completed and laid out flat ready to embellish.

    Notice the farthest right panel is larger than the others. This is how it should be.

  8. Step 6

    Decorate the inner pages.

  9. Step 7

    Decorate front of folder.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Accordion File Folder. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Very cool, AJ....Thanks!
Bekah  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 9:35 AM
Great tutorial, AJ! Beautiful finished folder! I love it!
Hugs and smiles
beate  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 1:02 PM
Totally fabulous project, AJ! Great job on the tutorial, can't wait to try it!
Angie Tieman  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 2:20 PM
That is very cool! Love it!!
Christine  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 2:25 PM
This is a beautiful project. Where can I find the measuements for the inserts?
Jan  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 4:31 PM
Check the supply list. AJ listed the measurements for the tags there.
Hugs and smiles
beate  |  Sat Nov 7, 2009 at 4:44 PM
Now this is one fun toot, A.J.!
This is on my "must do" list for sure!

TexasGrammy  |  Sun Nov 8, 2009 at 8:43 AM
Where did the YouTube tutorial go?
shelly katzung  |  Sun Nov 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM
Fabulous project!! Very clever and great tutorial. I'm working on a baby-themed (grandson) one as we speak. How did you attach the ribbon? I love yours!
Mary Davidson  |  Sun Nov 8, 2009 at 1:59 PM
Wow! Great for all occasions including gift cards or even recipes.
karen  |  Sun Nov 8, 2009 at 3:16 PM
Hi Mary-
in the 2nd step 6 photo, if you look, you can see the ribbon come out from behind the tag- I just sliced a slot with my knife right through the back of the folder. So, you can put the ribbon through, and wrap it around to the front.
AJ  |  Sun Nov 8, 2009 at 9:18 PM
LOVE this idea. GREAT way to use "old" file folders and make them useful and beautiful.

But I am confused..where is the rest of the tutorial? How do you attached papers and embellisments? Help! lol Linda
Linda  |  Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 10:21 AM
This tutorial is awesome. I can't wait to try it.

One question:

Do you seal each pocket closed on the vertical edges so things don't slide around or is the fold enough to hold the tags where they belong?
Nicole Maki  |  Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 2:16 PM
This is too cool. I found though that you need to use 1/3 cut tabbed file folders so that everything lines up correctly.
Becky H  |  Sat Nov 14, 2009 at 7:34 PM
I so love this, I was going through my friends' blogs and go to your link - i so am making this tomorrow while i sit at work w/folders so I can come home and decorate - thanks so much for sharing!
Jackie  |  Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 9:56 PM
I got a file folder and followed along with your video. Very good instructions. Hopefully I can come up with something creative to cover it. Yours is sooooo pretty!
Marvelous  |  Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 11:49 PM
I love love this idea!! Very cool!!! However I am having trouble covering the folder. Can you give me any tips? THanks so much!!!
Shawn  |  Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 3:57 PM
Hi Nicole,
You can add adhesive to the sides, you can stitch them shut or you can leave them open. It's up to you and what you want to put into those pockets.

Shawn, what do you need help with? I would start out by measuring the top and bottom section and cutting my patterned paper either the same size, or if you want the folder to show a bit, to cut it down a bit smaller. Then just decorate to your liking.
beate  |  Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM
Thank you all for your helpful comments! I got it finished and it turned out beautiful, I am going to try to get some pictures posted on my blog tonight!
Shawn  |  Tue Dec 8, 2009 at 3:58 PM
I'm going to make a MILLION of these now - thanks so much!
Shaela  |  Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 1:05 AM

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