Friday, November 12, 2010

Mini File Folder Book Tutorial

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Our take on mini lapbooks have been a huge hit around this house. The boys find them so much easier to use because their small hands can deal with the size better. Personally, I find the small size a bit cuter too!

I've also had a few questions on how much we trim here or there in order to make them, so I thought I'd take pictures of it while I cutting a few down to size this week for our latest lapbook.

What you'll need for an average lapbook is:

  • 2 file folders; colors of your choice, sometimes we mix and match sometimes we just match
  • scissors
  • tape (scotch/cello)
  • ruler
  • CutterBee Paper Trimmer (optional, but makes the job that much quicker!)



Step 1: Laying the fold against your cutter bee starting point measure off 2.5 inches on the short side of your file folder. Cut it off using the cutting blade. If you're not using this handy tool, simply measure 2.5 inches of your file and cut that excess off.


This is what you should have when you're done. Excuse the absurd color, that really is an orange file folder. Don't throw away that chunk of file folder, you can use it for all sorts of stuff like the back of a bookmark or a million other things! In fact, if you cut your lapbook slightly smaller you can use the excess on the side for a really cool geography project we've been working on, but more on that later..


Step 2: Now lay your file folder on the cutter bee in the other direction. Cut off 1-inch on the top side. Make sure you aren't cutting the side with fold on it! Otherwise you'll just end up with two pages instead of a book shape! 


This is what you have now. Your file folder should look like the green one. I had pre trimmed the green one and simply laid it against a full size orange file folder to give you an idea of the size difference. Also, remember that with this tutorial I'm using Australian Sized file folders, yes they are a bit bigger then American File folders. The worst that will happen is you'll have a slightly smaller lapbook! I'm unaware of the dimension difference so I can't say how much, if any, you'd need to change these measurements.


Step 3: Using some sharp scissors cut an inch to an inch and a half slit on EACH end. Set this file folder aside. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for your second file folder and then skip ahead to step 4.


Step 4: Taking your very sharp scissors cut the middle spine of your second file folder except for the first inch to inch and a half on EACH end. See above picture for help.


Step 5: Roll up your file folder from step 3 (the one with a small slit at each end.) Gently place it through the file folder from Step 4 (the one with the long cut down the middle); Once it's halfway through (seams match up) let it unroll. The slits (Step 3) should fit into the uncut parts of (Step 4) or the other file folder. If they are off, simply give the slits (Step 3) a bit more.


That's it, you're done! You should now have a 6 page mini lapbook to fill as you desire. To give it a bit more stability I like to use my tape on all the binding areas. You'll probably notice them a bit in the finished lapbooks if you look closely. 

Notes: If you don't need six pages avoid Steps 3 & 4. Instead, remember when I said not to cut on the fold? Cut on the fold. And simply tape ONE part of the file folder in. We've done this with the Lego Lapbook. We've also made them with no extra pages like the Canadian Lapbook

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