With more and more people working from home these days (including myself!) sometimes getting organised can be a bit of a drag. January always feels like a good time to do this with a fresh clean slate of a year stretching out in front of me, but my paperwork and magazine collections don’’t seem to get any smaller and I’’m loathed to throw away my favourites! So, I was looking for a pretty and practical solution to house all my various bits and pieces.

I had been looking for some magazine files but spending £12-£20 each on ones that matched my décor just seemed like way too much. I decided with my stash of leftover wallpaper I would upcycle some really inexpensive cardboard ones that not only worked with my colour scheme, but looked a lot more expensive than they were.

Obviously you can use any wallpaper you have, but you might consider trying things like leftover wrapping paper as well. As long as it’’s a bit thicker, you shouldn’’t have any trouble. I also decided to dress up the files– using simple pulls and bookplates, I was able to update the look and quality with very little effort. Now I know immediately what is in each file and I can easily pull them off the shelf with the little ring pull.


here's what you'll need...

  • Simple cardboard box files
  • Leftover wallpaper (or wrapping paper) in complementary patterns or colours
  • Metal bookplates
  • Small decorative ring pulls
  • Metallic gold spray paint
  • PVA Glue or Paper craft glue
  • A foam brush to apply the PVA
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • A small screwdriver
  • A large piece of cardboard or old newspaper to protect your work surfaces

DIY Magazine Files - Materials

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DIY Magazine Files Post Image 2


DIY Magazine Files Post Image 3

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    I found the bookplates and ring pulls in an antique gold but I wanted mine to be a shiny brass colour, so I spray painted them and allowed them to dry. You can skip this if you’re happy with the finish.

    Start by laying out your wallpaper, pattern side down. The wallpaper has a tendency to curl so you’’ll see throughout I used some little brass elephants to help me hold the paper down at the edges! Now start by laying the box file on its shortest end, allowing enough paper on all sides to create one continuous pattern. You’’ll then trace each side in succession until you have fully traced every side.

    DIY Magazine File Step 1

  • 2

    Next, cut out your pattern as a whole but leave approximately 4cm on all sides to allow for an overlap when you are ready to cover the file.

    DIY Magazine File Step 2

  • 3

    Cut small incisions in your paper just to your original outline wherever there is a vertical line (indicating where the corners of your magazine file are) on your paper.

    DIY Magazine File Step 3

  • 4

    Lay down a piece of cardboard or newspaper to protect your work surface and brush a layer of PVA glue all over your paper paying special attention to the edges.

    DIY Magazine File Step 4

  • 5

    Lay your magazine file so that the back spine is aligned to where you traced it originally and press it down firmly. Wrap one side of the paper and then the other, smoothing and pressing down and then overlap the paper at the front. At the bottom, fold down the side flaps and then the longer ones.

    DIY Magazine Files Step 5 and 6

  • 6

    Where the edge is curved, make small incisions just to the point where the paper overlaps the edge of the file every inch or so. This will allow you to fold the paper without it creasing. Fold it along one curved edge, smoothing as you go and then the other curved edge. Then fold down the inside top and bottom. If your PVC dries a bit by this point, just use your brush to apply a little more to stick it down securely.

    DIY Magazine Files Step 7 and 8

  • 7

    Now you can actually leave your file like that if you like but I decided I wanted to line the insides with a complementary wallpaper. Simply trace the sides and back onto another paper and cut exactly to size.

    DIY Magazine Files Step 9

  • 8

    Cut into 3 individual pieces (you may have to trim these down a bit at this point) and use the PVA glue to apply to the inside of the file.

    DIY Magazine Files Step 10

  • 9

    Now to attach the ring pull and the book plate, simply locate where you want them to go and using a very small screwdriver, create a small hole in the back to insert and press into place.

    DIY Magazine Files Step 11


  • 10

    Repeat with the bookplate and insert your own tag and you’’re all done!
    I did this with five file boxes, reversing the paper and insert on each one for a mix-and-match look.

    DIY Magazine Files Post Image 4

    Now I have a personalised set of magazine files that look great and that I’m proud to have in my own home office. Is this a project you would try? What colours and patterns would you choose?

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By Kimberly Duran on 20.01.15

Guest Contributor

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