With the beginning of back-to-school for my American friends and the looming start-up for my Canadian ones, now seemed like a good time to create an easy organizing solution that you can whip up in no time, and coordinate to your decor…

I give you a DIY accordion folder!

DIY accordion folder tutorial

You’re going to make one of these and then be completely addicted and find yourself whipping them up for friends and neighbours – the first one takes a bit of time (say 15 minutes), but after that you’ll fly through them!

Think one for receipts, one for coupons, for recipes, for school work, for bills, for mail, for school artwork – make one in any size you want to accommodate whatever paperwork you want.

For me, I needed a place to corral receipts until I’ve had a chance to enter them online.  My desk usually has at least a dozen floating around that the ceiling fan re-organizes for me daily… it was time to create a better solution.

I’ll give this tutorial with the measurements for mine, but this one won’t be big enough to hold 8.5×11 sheets of paper without folding – so adjust yours to fit your needs.

You will need:

  • 2   12″x12″ pieces of scrapbook paper  (30cm by 30cm)
  • cardboard box
  • exacto knife (and cutting mat)
  • double-sided tape
  • 2 pieces of coordinating cardstock
  • 5 pieces of white cardstock
  • packing tape

Accordion folder - 1

First up, cut your cardboard box down so that you have one flat piece measuring 11″ by 8.5″.  (approximately 28cm by 21.5cm)

Cut a second piece the same size, but position it along the folded edge of the box.  The flap will serve as the base – so the  measurements above the fold line are 11″ x 8.5″, PLUS another 3″ below the fold.

Accordion folder - 2

Using glue, or double-sided tape, wrap your cardboard pieces leaving a small lip around all of the sides.  On three of the sides, fold over this lip and adhere to the box with double-sided tape.

Accordion folder - 3

Overlap your 12×12″ scrapbook paper and slide the second cardboard piece into place leaving about 1/8″ (2mm) gap between the cardboard pieces – you’ll need this space for folding. (For a nice, seamless look, make sure both pieces of your scrapbook paper end at the bottom of your folder – no use having an ugly seam up the front)

Finish wrapping your cardboard pieces and use a piece of packing tape to reinforce the small gapped edge (I was out of packing tape, so I used scotch tape instead)  If there is a visible gap between the scrapbook paper on the bottom of your folder, now’s the time to glue it down.

Accordion folder - 5

At this point, if you want to line the inside of your accordion folder you can.  It seemed like a waste of paper for me, so I decided to forego this step.

Now you need to cut your white and coloured cardstock down to 8″ by 10″.  (approximately 20.5cm by 25.5cm)

Mark your coloured cardstock at every inch (2.5cm) and then accordion-fold at each mark.  Repeat with the second piece of cardstock.

Using your double-sided tape/adhesive, line up a white piece of cardstock with the fold and stick.  Repeat at every “bump”.

Accordion folder - 7

Your finished side should look like this:

Accordion folder - 8

Repeat with the other piece of coloured on the opposite side and you should be left with something like this:

Accordion folder - 9

Now we need to adhere the accordion part to the cardboard cover; apply your double-sided tape to the last fold of the coloured paper.

Accordion folder - 11

Hold your cardboard pieces upright (how your finished product will be used) and centre the accordion section inside the front cover, with the bottom resting on the base flap of the cardboard, then stick in place.  Repeat on the other side and you’re done!

DIY accordion folder - photo tutorial

I got out my trusty labeller and put it to work:

DIY paper accordion folder - photo tutorial

I love that paper!  The colour, the subtle pattern and it’s so fresh-looking.

The sides are perfectly coordinated, but the centre sections are differentiated with the white.

DIY accordion folder tutorial


I organized all of my receipts – Cash receipts, MasterCard, Blog Visa and Pending and tucked it onto a corner of my desk.

DIY paper accordion folder - photo tutorial

No more papers blowing around, easily found and entered on my spreadsheet and cleanly organized with a small footprint.

DIY Accordion folder from scrapbook paper and cardboard


Stockpile your Thanksgiving and/or Christmas scrapbook paper now, and whip several out as recipe boxes for friends and neighbours!

Have a great one!


Too funny


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