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Folder Mixed Media Book

By: TwoCraftingSisters
May 9, 2019

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Folder Mixed Media Book
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I was inspired by artist, Gwen Lafleur, to turn an ordinary manila folder into a mini book, perfect for travel, notes, sketches, and even those mundane tasks like keeping track of bills. After all, not only is it a book, but there are two big pockets in it just ready to be stuffed. Why not create something fun and colorful for everyday tasks?

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Varnishes - Ultra-Matte Varnish
  • Andy Skinner Stencils 12x3 - Bubbles
  • Andy Skinner Stencils 8x8 - Serendipity
  • Americana Stencils 12x12 - Numbers Collage
  • Americana Stencils 12x12 - Segmented Swirls
  • DecoArt Chalky Gesso - White
  • Manila file folder
  • Scissors
  • Flat brush
  • Heat tool
  • Cosmetic sponges
  • Book binding/embroidery needle
  • Waxed thread
  • Awl
  • Ink pens - fine and medium black
  • Fine point marker
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Baby wipes
  • 12x12 cardstock (ivory)
  • Paper trimmer


Step 1: Trim two triangular pieces off of a manila folder. Leave about one inch above the center horizontal fold, and about two inches in the middle (vertical fold) I just find it easiest to cut one triangle, then turn it over on the other side of the folder and trace the cut. Save a piece to make your pattern for binding the book. Apply a layer of White Chalky Gesso to both sides and let dry thoroughly.

Instruction #1 - FBStep1
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Step 2: Brush on your blue layer on one side of the folder with Cobalt Teal Hue and Ultramarine Blue. Let dry partially, then lay the Numbers Collage stencil down, and wipe the open areas with a baby wipe to remove some of the paint. The numbers orient in one direction, so be sure to turn the stencil in the opposite direction for the inside piece if you want the numbers to stand vertically.

Instruction #2 - FBStep2
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Step 3: Brush the inside of the folder with a blend of Quinacridone Magenta, Translucent White and Ultramarine Blue. Let dry partially (you can always speed up the drying with the heat tool if you are impatient like me), then lay the Segmented Swirls stencil down, and wipe through the stencil with a baby wipe to remove some of the paint.

Instruction #3 - FBStep3
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Step 4: Back to the blue side - lay the number stencil down over the folder, matching the previous design. Mix Quinacridone Magenta and Translucent White to make a pink color and sponge this into the open areas of the numbers.

Instruction #4 - FBStep4.1
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Instruction #5 - FBStep4.2
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Instruction #6 - FBStep4.3
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Step 5: Now take the Bubbles stencil and randomly sponge in areas of the folder (blue side) with orange. I mixed Cadmium Orange Hue and Translucent White. Dry.

Instruction #7 - FBStep5.1
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Instruction #8 - FBStep5.2
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Step 6: Stencil the word “Create” with the Serendipity stencil, using a sponge and the Carbon Black paint. Also, now that the folder is completely dry, doodle around some of the orange bubbles. I used a Platinum Carbon Ink pen, but many black pens or markers would also work for this.

Instruction #9 - FBStep6.1
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Instruction #10 - FBStep6.2
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Step 7: I didn’t want the center section of the folder (purple side) to stick together, so I brushed on a coat of Ultra Matte Varnish and let that dry.

Instruction #11 - FBStep7
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Step 8: Take a piece of the leftover folder and cut it to fit the inside of the folder (about six inches). Decide how many holes to punch and mark them. (I punched 5) Use an awl, and punch the holes into the valley of the fold. Check the outside to be sure you are staying in the middle. Cut several sheets to make your book signature. (I used scrapbook paper and cut it to 12 x 5.5 inches) Choose your paper depending on how you plan to use your book. Finally, stitch the pages into the book using a book binding or embroidery needle and waxed thread. I sometimes use a needle nose pliers to help pull the needle through.

Instruction #12 - FBStep8.1
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Instruction #13 - FBStep8.2
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Step 9: I decided I needed more variation in the thickness of my doodle lines, so went in and added a bit more with a fine point marker. I also went around the word with the marker to sharpen up the edges.

Instruction #14 - FBStep9.1
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Instruction #15 - FBStep9.2
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Details: You can get an idea of the final construction of the folder book.

Instruction #16 - FBDetail1
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Instruction #17 - FBDetail2
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There are so many great products out there to help you plan and stay organized, but it’s always fun to create your own. Whether it is for a special occasion like a trip you’ve been looking forward to, or to help you with everyday tasks, why not create your own folder book?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the project!

Be sure to visit TwoCraftingSisters  for more projects and to learn more about Maura.


I love this folder! How whimsically unique!


May 9, 2019

What a great idea and execution, Maura! I need to buy some cheap manila folders now and try that too! Love how you've used the stencils and your bold colour scheme! Very inspring, my friend! Hugs, Claudia xxx


May 21, 2019

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