Editor’s Note: Crafting guru Vanessa Falle has come on board here at Our Big Earth to take us on a funky project-focused journey in the land of the creative. She’ll be here once a month bringing you cool ideas on how to make just about anything fabulous, and the major bonus is that she also has kits so that, when you are ready to go and all excited about the latest project, you can just pop on over to her Etsy store for the goods.
Let’s not delay on today’s coolness. Here’s Vanessa:
It’s almost every mom’s favourite time of year…back to school. It means the house stays a wee bit tidier during the day and the laundry bin doesn’t seem to fill up as fast as it does during the summer. But it also means that the amount of paperwork that goes back and forth from school to home and back again starts filling up fridges, counters and backpacks.
As an enthusiastic lover of all things organization related, I thought this month’s project would inspire our kids to make a little bit of an effort to ensure that those permission slips & newsletters find their way to a place where they’d receive the attention they deserve in a timely manner.
We will take a basic dollar store clipboard and alter it to be WAY cooler than basic brown and entirely more functional by adding a handmade accordion folder for small notes, photographs and other paper tidbits that would otherwise stay in your kiddo’s backpack somewhere under that squashed sandwich and spilled juice box.
You will need:
- 8 ½ x 11” clipboard (pretty much every dollar store carries these but I bet you have one already that could be sacrificed for the cause!)
- Sharp scissors for fine detail cutting or a sharp Xacto blade (use a cutting mat or something else so the blade doesn’t destroy your table top!)
- Mod Podge or another similar product that acts as an adhesive & protective layer over paper
- Foam brushes – 3
- Yogurt container lid
- Paper trimmer
- Tape runner (double sided tape, not glue stick. It isn’t strong enough and your project will fall apart, which would suck)
- Scoring tool (bone folder, stylus, or the edge of your ruler
- 2 sheets colored 12×12 cardstock
- 2-3 sheets double sided heavy scrapbooking paper. The lighter gauge stuff will not withstand all the folding for the accordion sides of the folder.
- Acrylic paint – any color that you want to go with your papers
- Alphabet stickers
- Coordinating embellishments/decorations
- Distressing ink (optional)
Preparing the clipboard
Remove any packaging from your clipboard and ensure that it is in good condition. Paint the front of the clipboard with the acrylic paint using your foam brush. You may find it easiest to pour the paint onto the yogurt container lid rather than pouring it directly onto the clipboard…a big blob on the clipboard may dry a little as you work and this will leave weird raised marks that you probably won’t like. Once you’ve applied enough paint that you are satisfied with the coverage, set it aside to dry. Acrylic paint dries fairly quickly.
Decorating the clipboard
To decorate my clipboards, I used a super fun robot themed paper. I cut around a bunch of the shapes – leaving some connected and set them aside to be adhered to the painted clipboard later. I also trimmed off the decorative zig-zag edge that came with the paper to create a fun border along which I could align my robots & space ships. When you have cut out enough decorative shapes to embellish your clipboard, check out the dryness of the paint. If the paint feels cool to the touch but it appears dry, it will need a little more time to dry. There may still be wet paint below the surface which may interfere with the following steps.
Once the paint is fully dried, you can begin planning out the placement of the decorative paper elements. Arrange them where you want them to be and try your best to remember this layout. When you are determining the placement of the decorations near where the accordion folder is to be placed, make a horizontal mark across the clipboard indicating the lowest point to stick your paper bits…so they don’t all get covered up with the accordion folder. This will be approximately 3 ½ – 4” up from the bottom edge. The accordion folder will be created to be 4” deep and will be aligned with the bottom edge of the clipboard.
Remove the decorative paper pieces from the clipboard and brush a moderate layer of Mod Podge to the surface and start with the first layer of pieces. If you have overlapping paper elements like I did, you’ll need to brush over the first piece you’ve just laid down with more Mod Podge. Now continue layering your paper decorations until they are arranged just where you want them. You can now apply a layer of Mod Podge over everything which will seal the paper decorations, protecting them from use of the clipboard. Allow to dry fully and add another layer of Mod Podge just to be sure.
Using either lightweight chipboard that comes with scrapbooking paper packs or cereal box cardboard, cut out two 4” pieces that are at least as wide as the clipboard. Once you have these two rectangles, set each one under the clipboard aligning the bottom edge of the clipboard with the edge of the cardboard. Trace the rounded edges of the clipboard on both of the cardboard pieces and trim with your scissors or Xacto blade.
Then, trace these same shapes onto printed paper and cut out. Stick the printed paper onto the cardboard pieces and set aside. These are the “covers” of the folder.
Next, cut your cardstock in half. Do this with both sheets of cardstock so that you have four 6×12” pieces. Shorten three of these to measure 8 ¼ x 6. With your ruler and pencil, very lightly mark the center where you will fold each of these three pieces to create the folders – an 8 ¼” long line at the 3” mark. To ensure a nice, crisp fold you can set your ruler along the fold line and using either a bone folder, stylus or some other round hard tool to create a groove in the papers. This is called scoring. Fold each of the pieces along the scored mark and set aside.
To create the accordion gussets that keep your papers from falling out the sides of the folder, you will cut one 3 ½ x 12” piece of printed paper. Score every inch and fold the strip up accordion style. Cut in half and set it up so that you have 3 valley fold (V-shaped folds) and 2 mountain folds (A-shaped folds). Using your double sided tape, apply adhesive on the accordion on the outside-most edge and stick to the back of one of the folder covers (on the blank side, not the side with the printed paper). Repeat for the opposite side.
With the outermost pocket, run more adhesive around all four edges and stick on the remaining cover piece with the adhesive being applied to the printed paper side of the cardstock cover. Press firmly to ensure that all the adhesives have made good contact and then stick the folder to the clipboard using super strong adhesive (Tacky Tape, hot glue, epoxy, whatever is going to withstand the folder being used regularly without pulling off the clipboard.
If you care to personalize the clipboard, do so now and once everything is in place and all the adhesives have set, you can begin using your very cool, personalized organizational tool. Have fun and see you next time. If you have any questions or wish to contact me about the directions for this project or others or you wish to purchase kits or other products, please email me at [email protected]
About the Author (Author Profile)From time to time friends and neighbours around the community drop by to share ideas, trade stories and offer up their wisdom – joining us as guest columnists here at Our Big Earth.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Back to School Crafts | August 29, 2009
- 13 Back To school crafts | Handmade Future | July 27, 2012
- Red Ted Art's Blog » Blog Archive » Back to School Crafts | August 12, 2012
- How to get organized with a clip board | Skip To My Lou | September 14, 2012