DIY 6 Pocket Traveler's Notebook Folder with Optional Card Slots

I really like the versatility of Traveler's Notebooks. It's definitely the easiest to customize and what better way to do it than via DIY?

This one, in particular, was filmed by Helen a while ago (hence the quality), but we never featured it on our blog! However, it's still chock full of step-by-step almost all real-time instruction on how to make your own versions of a 6-pocket file folder and a sticker/washi tape insert! I've written a blog post version here for those of you who like to read. Let us know if you'd like specific videos for how to make the Regular or Pocket sized ones!

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Simple DIY 6 Pocket Traveler's Notebook File Folder with Card Slots



Opening and showing the 6 pockets of a D. I. Y. file folder for Traveler's Notebooks.
This is an example of a pocket-sized 6-pocket file folder for Traveler's Notebooks with card slots!
The A5 one we're making is a little different. Let us know if you want a tutorial for a smaller size!

Materials

  • Standard Manila File Folder (or any other pattern)
    - Scrapbook paper can be used but is less sturdy.
  • Tape (Washi tape, clear tape, or scotch tape are all okay)

Tools

  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or Pen (to mark where to fold)
  • (Optional) Paper trimmer (to cut off excess tab - scissors are also fine)
  • (Optional) Corner Rounder Punch
  • (Optional) Xacto Knife or Hobby Knife (for card slots)
  • (Optional) A washi, gift, or credit card (to measure the size of card slots)
  • (Optional) Cutting Mat
  • (Optional) Single Hole Punch
  • (Optional) Bulldog/Hinge Clips (something to hold down your folder while crafting)
*Note the above items are Amazon affiliate links of the same or similar items. Which means if you purchase any item on Amazon through the above links within 24 hours, a very small percentage of it goes to support us sisters at 3 Years Apart. Thank you for your support!

The tutorial itself is for an A5 sized 6-pocket file folder for Traveler's Notebooks, however, as shown in the beginning, you can easily modify it to be the Regular Standard size or Pocket size. In fact, it's actually easier with a smaller size (A5 is one of the largest TN sizes).

Step 1: Choosing your folder and marking the length


Manila folder with hand showing that the tab is at the top
Align the tab to the top.
When choosing your file folder, pick one with a tab at either end (not a center tabbed folder). Make sure to align the tab to the top of your workspace. With the outside of the folder facing you, measure and mark the length (top to bottom) along the spine you'd like your folder to be. Usually, it's about the length of your Traveler's Notebook. For an A5 folder, it'll be 8.25 inches.
Ruler and pencil marking the length of a traveler's notebook on the spine of the manila folder
Here the folder is rotated for easier measuring, but the tab and top are on the left-hand side.


Step 2: Making the Exterior Pockets

Fold up and over from the bottom, where your desired length was marked, and line up the spine of the folders so that they're even. The result should be that part of the interior of the folder is facing you. Flatten. (It's helpful to have a bone folder, here just a ruler was used). This forms the two outside pockets for the A5 6 Pocket file folder.

Hold where you marked the length to know where the fold should be.
Line up the spine so that it's perfectly even.
Flatten the bottom edge of your new 6-pocket file folder!


Step 3: Folding the width and making the Interior Pockets


Now close the file folder so that the outside is still facing out. It's starting to take shape! Measure and mark along the width of your desired size. For an A5 file folder, that would be 5.5 inches. Do the same on the other side.

Rotated the folder upside down so that the bottom is on the top to make it easier to measure 5.5" from the spine.
Next, flip the folder over so that the pockets that were made in step 2 are on the workspace and you see the interior, then fold from the outside-in at the point where you marked the desired width of your folder. Do this for both sides. This makes the structure for the 4 interior pockets!
Already did the left side, working on folding the right. Note that the Step 2 pockets are on the outside.


Step 4: Optional touches

These are all optional but add give the folder a much neater and polished feel. Move on to Step 5 to add card slots.

First, you can trim off the excess tab:
Using a paper trimmer to cut off the tab.
It's also recommended to round off the corners of the interior pockets so that nothing snags on it:
Cutting off that little hook on both sides and the top (3 areas) so that it's flat.
You could also round off any of the sharp corners:
Using a corner rounder punch on sharp corners. Opting to leave the outside ones squared.

Step 5: Making the optional Card Slots

On to the optional but very useful card slots! Measure how high up you'd like the bottom of your card slot to be. In this case, it's the width of the ruler, which is about 1.5 inches. From there, place your card where you'd like the slot to be. You can test the depth by placing the card against the bottom edge of the file folder to see how much would be visible from where you cut. Once the ideal place is found, mark about 1/8th of an inch away from each side of the card to mark the ends of the slot. This will give room for thicker washi wrapped cards or for multiple cards.

Marking about 1/8th" away from the card on both sides and about 1.5" from the bottom.
Still using the ruler as a guide, draw a line connecting the two points on each card slot, move the ruler up (in this case, line up the newly drawn line with the ends of the 1/16th-inch lines on the ruler) and draw parallel lines above. The end result should look something like:
The lines show you where to cut your card slots.
Unfold the file folder and place on top of a safe cutting surface so that you only have to cut through a single layer of the file folder. Use the ruler as a guide, (be careful not to cut into a plastic ruler) and cut out your card slots!
Cutting out the card slots holes on a cutting mat using the ruler and lines as a guide.
Fold it back together and Ta-Da! Card slots!

Step 6: Finishing it all up!

Tape along the bottom of the large interior pocket and fold the tape over to secure it. You could also tape all the way across or use electrical tape or duct tape for a stronger bond, but washi tape is cuter. Do this on both sides.

Tape along the bottom and fold the tape over.
Optional: Use the single hole punch on the top and bottom spine corners of the folder. This is to protect the corners from being worn and torn by the elastics in Traveler's Notebooks digging into it.
Hole punching the top spine corner.
A hole-punched bottom spine corner.
Testing in a Traveler's Notebook before decorating.

Step 7: Decorate and Use!

This is the fun part:
Decorate with stamps, washi, stickers, you name it!
Fill it up and use it!


Some possible modifications:

  • Taping the top and bottom of the large interior pockets closed so that it turns into a sideways long pocket.
  • Cutting the large exterior pocket along the spine fold to make 2 flap or angled pockets on the outside (secretary folder style).

If you do this tutorial please share and tag us on Instagram @threeyearsapart so we can see your awesome creations!

Would you like to see tutorials for other sizes? Pocket/Regular/Standard, etc. or Sticker Storage Inserts? We'll do our best to find a way and show you how.

Thank you for joining us as always!

- Kim

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