Old Books become New Wall Storage Folders!

Here are some great ways to create wall storage folders out of old books bound for the dump!

This is a 90%  recycle/reuse project!  Other than rescuing the books from the Goodwill bins and buying a small package of buttons, everything else used to construct these wall storage folders came from project leftovers.

While I was at the bins, I saw lots of discarded children's books.  If I had school age children, I would be making these for their rooms to store school art projects, homework and other treasures using large format children's books in good condition. 

Diane inspired me earlier this year with a post announcing a library class in which she was teaching purse making using old book covers.  I immediately realized the idea could be adapted to create wall storage for all those millions of recipes and craft ideas all of you wonderful cooks and crafters have been sharing on your blogs. 

Now when I print them for later use, I just pop them into my beautiful wall folders!  Not a permanent storage - just until I can get around to organizing them.  After Christmas maybe!

These are EASY and QUICK to make.  I've included several simple construction options within the mini tutorials , so feel free to scan through and mix it up a bit.  You could literally make one very quickly by cutting the pages out of a book that's in good shape, use the string and button method to create hinge straps, attach a bulldog clip to the top and - DONE!

Before we begin - one cautionary tale!  DO NOT DO AS I DID and use original Mod Podge when applying fabric to the book covers.  Use the Mod Podge designed to be used with fabric.  Amy of Mod Podge Rocks fame, has provided a very useful and thorough discussion of the many kinds of Mod Podge and their applications.  Please take my advice - read and heed her words! 


I was amazed at just how easily pages can be removed from books! This particular book has pages that are glued into the spine section.  Remove a few at a time using an exacto knife. (Pages are being saved for other projects!)

Since this book is in excellent condition, I am not even going to finish the inside. Just remove the pages neatly and - Done!

Removing pages from a bound book is even easier!  Simply cut the liner paper along the edge close to the binding.

Same with the back. The entire set of pages comes out in oner piece.

If you wish to give the inside a more finished look, simply cut pretty paper to size and glue in place with original Mod Podge.

  Once you have removed the pages, you have created the framework for your folder. In most cases, the book cover will hang horizontally on the wall; therefore, when I refer to the "top" of the cover or the folder, I am referring to what used to be the long side edges from which you would open the original book.  When I refer to the "sides" I am referring to what used to be the top and bottom edges of the original book.


To make the simple recipe folder:

The book I chose for storing recipes just happened to BE a recipe book!  Believe it or not - I did not plan it this way!  But when I saw some of the beautiful illustrations I had cut out - well - I just had to use one for the cover.  Since I adore Biscotti with a cup of coffee, this image was a perfect choice! The green and white borders were actually part of another page.

Glue paper to the cover using Mod Podge.   Brush on two over coats of Mod Podge for protection, letting dry between coats and over-spray with an acrylic spray to seal.

Another option to make your recipe storage folder more "practical"  - attach several often used recipes and hints to the cover where they can be seen easily when you need to refer to them.

Use an ice pick to "drill" holes for a simple hanging system and simple hinge straps. (Not reccommended for a very hard cover.)

For the hanger, make two holes in the back cover 1-1/2" in from each side and 1/2" down from the top edge.  Pull a piece of ribbon through both holes, tie in a knot or double bow and hang.

For the hinge straps, make the holes in both the front and back covers.  Place them  approximately 2 1/2" down from the top edges and 3/4" in from the side edges and proceed as shown below.

The inspiration for this simple hinge strap came from a package sent to me from Joan who writes a lovely blog Nini Makes.  She sent me treats this past spring wrapped in stamped brown paper and tied with string and a button.

Thread a needle large enough to accommodate your string or embroidery floss, but small enough to go through the button.  Place the needle through the button you have selected for the front, then through the hole you just made on the front cover.  Pass the needle through the hole in the back cover and then through the button you have selected for the back.

Now take your needle back through the other hole of the back button, back through the back cover hole and then up through the front cover hole and the front button.

Leave about 2 1/2 to 3" of string between the front and back, as shown, and tie a knot in the front button.  Cut the string leaving enough of a "tail" to tie a bow.  Ignore that black ribbon for now!  We will talk about that in a bit. Repeat on the other side.



I can see a whole group of these wall storage files in a craft room - each cover design reflecting a different "favorite" craft!  Rachel would  embroider one, Hope would put a trilobite on one, Teri would paint one, Ann would quill one, Susan would bead one and Kathy would no doubt decorate with Safe Sparkle!  I decided to make one using chile pepper fabric accented with a"chile pepper" Kanzashi and another using a mini"quilt".

Kanzashi Pepper Wall Folder

Place your open book cover on your fabric and cut around it leaving about 3 " of fabric extending beyond the edges, as shown

Brush Mod Podge over the entire outside surface of the cover.  You DO NOT need to use as heavy a coat as I have here.  Way too much.  AND BE SURE TO USE FABRIC MOD PODGE HERE.  Original Mod Podge, especially in this concentration will leave unattractive shiny spots all over the surface. Definitely a candidate for Heather's CraftFail blog!

Be sure your fabric is lying with the wrong side facing you.  Carefully place the cover, Mod Podge side down, on top of the fabric, centering as best you can. Press the cover material into place.

Brush a little Mod Padge along the side and top and bottom edges of the inside cover.

Fold the fabric over the Mod Podge and press.

If you like, you can miter the corners as you fold them, adding a bit more Mod Podge to hold them in place.  You can easily see here that I got way too carried away with my own application.

Once the folder cover has completely dried, you can line the inside with paper.  Cut your paper so that it is the right size to cover the fabric edges on the inside of the cover by about 1".  Brush the entire wrong side surface of the paper with original Mod Podge, apply to the cover, press for a good contact and let dry.

Now, to create a hinge system using 3/8" wide ribbon instead of string and buttons.

This hinge works well when glued to fabric, but I don't recommend it for paper.  Sometimes the paper layers will separate and the hinge will fail.   I, of course, speak from experience! 

However, I am using the images showing the application on the paper because they are easier to see than on black fabric.

Determine the length of your ribbon by laying it on the partially open cover as shown.  You will need about 3" more in length than the distance between the partially open front and back covers. See photo.

Crease the ribbon about 1 1/2" from each end

Measure 2 1/2" to 3" down from the top edges of both the front and back covers and make a pencil mark on the inside of the cover about 1/2" in from each side.  Place a bead of glue on the inside front cover starting at the pencil mark and extending 1 1/2" toward the top.  I used  Beacon Fabric-Tac Permanent Adhesive.

Place one of the 1-1/2" folded ends of the ribbon on the glue bead, cut end toward the top of the cover and the fold right on the pencil mark. Repeat with the other ribbon, glueing it to the other side of the front cover.  Let dry thoroughly. Once dry, repeat with the back cover and the other ends of the ribbons.

Makes a perfect little hinge!

I made this little pepper red Kanzashi to resemble a Ristra to decorate the cover.  BE SURE to follow this link.  Gorgeous photo! Gorgeous!

Then I decided to wrap the cover in some lovely pepper red gross grain ribbon to add interest and create a hanging system.  Again, I used the original Mod Podge in copious amounts - big mistake.  Ruined the look of the ribbon completely.  If I had used Fabric Mod Podge, it would have been lovely.

TIP if you decide to use ribbon to hang your wall folder: 
Depending on the thickness of your book cover, staple, glue or sew the ribbon where it meets the very top edge of the back cover so it doesn't pull loose. Mod Podge will not stand up to the tension.

To make the "Quickly Quilted" wall folder

Again, measure your fabric by cutting 3" beyond all edges of the open book cover as shown.

Now cut a piece of scrap quilt filler exactly the size of the open cover.

Cut a piece of backing material - I used an odd piece of muslin - also the same size as the open book cover.

Now place the printed fabricwrong side up on the work surface.  Center the quilt filler material on top and then the muslin liner on top of the filler.

CAREFULLY turn the sandwich over and using large safety pins, pin the three layers together.

Use a sewing machine to quilt all three layers together.  I purposely selected this favorite piece of Laurel Burch Christmas fabric because it already looks quilted! And I wanted it out where I could see it every day!

When you are done "quilting", remove the safety pins.

Look familiar!  Brush Mod Podge over the entire outside surface of the book cover. Then apply the fabric and the liner paper just as described in the chile pepper wall folder above.

Once the you have completed the cover, apply the ribbon hinge system as shown above for the chile pepper folder.

To make hanging REALLY EASY, simply clip a 1 1/2" - 2" bulldog clip to the top of the back cover and hang.

Make a bunch of wall storage folders! You can use them anywhere paper accumulates. I have three in use and they are already nearly full!  I hope you will have fun making, designing and using them. I would love to hear what ideas you come up with for your own wall storage folders!  



LOVE this idea! I think it

LOVE this idea! I think it would work using old cereal boxes as well... close the top and bottom, but cut open the side and hang horizontally. I'm going to try it and podge fabric or paper all over it...
THANKS for the inspiration :)

I LOVE this! I had so much

I LOVE this! I had so much fun making it and it was so easy (thanks to your wonderful step by step tutorial). I love that much of what is needed for this project are things that you already have on hand. What a great way to solve a pesky problem!

Thanks so much for this!

I just love this project! I'm

I just love this project! I'm going to make some for my grandaughter's bedroom, and friends kitchens and my workroom and christmas presents . . . Thanks a million!

That is such a wonderful

That is such a wonderful idea! I love it and I love how it recycles old books. I HAVE to try this out! Thanks for such a great idea:)

Great idea-must try--- Love

Great idea-must try---

Love your blog. I am going to follow--hope you'll do the same.

Look forward to getting to know you


This is SO wonderful....what

This is SO wonderful....what a fantastic idea :)

Thanks so much

Yay Pam! This is posting

Yay Pam! This is posting tomorrow on my blog.

I just came across your blog

I just came across your blog by chance, but I am so glad I did! I've been looking for a way to organize papers at my daughters art desk, but didn't want to buy a cheap plastic wall mount filer. These will be PERFECT!! Thanks so muc for sharing your talent!

what a fun project!! I love

what a fun project!! I love the one with buttons!

Congrats on your Apartment

Congrats on your Apartment Therapy feature. Crafty stardom is running in the family!

What a great project. I'm

What a great project. I'm going to make one to hold holiday cards this season, so that people can look at them any time without them taking up valuable decor space!

Pam, your tutorials are fantastic. I know I say this all the time, but it can't be stressed enough, how important a good one with good pictures is. I can't always understand verbal instructions by themselves!

I may just make these as gifts. Probably not time to make them for Christmas, but even as birthday gifts this would be great.

Thank you!! I remember Diane's book cover purses and how much I wanted to make them!


Oops- forgot to add: I could

Oops- forgot to add: I could totally see something like this as an organizer for a large project, like a book in progress.

I love this project so much!

I love this project so much!

I am glad you do because YOU

I am glad you do because YOU were the inspiration for this in the first place!

Adorable! Love this so much I

Love this so much I am going to make some for me and some for presents for friends. We can ALL use organizers lol

This is brilliant! I have an

This is brilliant! I have an avalanche of artwork headed towards our house now that school has begun. This is perfect--such a great idea, thanks :)!

Whoa! That is such a fun

Whoa! That is such a fun idea! So many fun folder possibilities. I love anything that helps me stay organized. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Oh wow! This is such a great

Oh wow! This is such a great idea and tutorial! I saw this on the Craftzine blog and had to come by.

This is a great idea!

This is a great idea!

I love this idea. Instead of

I love this idea. Instead of finding a book couldn't you do this with cardboard and cover all of it I should think so. I am going to try with cardboard and I figure failure is a good way to learn how NOT to do something.

The same thought crossed my

The same thought crossed my mind too1  So, PLEASE let me know how it works.  I am pretty sure you are going to be very happy with the resulots!

Thank you everyone for your

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments and for sharing your great ideas for decorating!  I am delighted you are finding this idea appealing and useful! 

So cute Pam, I have no

So cute Pam, I have no shortage of old books! I'm glad the button packaging was a little inspiring. We're finally moved and back online and hoping to have time soon to catch up with lovely friends like you :)

LOVE this idea and your

LOVE this idea and your tutorial is so well-written. Thank you so much - I'm gonna try this for my craft studio and my new "office-in-progress" to house all these misc papers I have everywhere. Oh, and in my kitchen too. And ... :) Thanks!

LOVE the project! I have a

LOVE the project! I have a ton on books the boys don't read anymore, and just hated to throw them out, and they're not in the best shape (since we have a rabbit who also enjoys a good book now and then) Can't wait to get started!! Thanks so much for the How To!!!

You know if you were making

You know if you were making these for kids papers you could actually put their pic on the front that way they would know which one you had put their treasures in....I am thinking of making them for the kids and having one for stuff to go back to school for them to check and one for the treasures...awesome idea.

Brilliant Judi!  I would have

Brilliant Judi!  I would have never thought of this!  Might be fun to use Sarah's idea (geek+nerd) and change the photos each year.  Thank you for sharing this great idea.

Great tutorial Pam...you're

Great tutorial Pam...you're amazing...of course I went out and bought 3 hanging folders last week for the kid's homework when I could have made my own...Oh well I need a bunch for the art studio!! Thanks for How To.
Take care

These are very cool! I'm

These are very cool! I'm thinking it might be neat to put some kind of plastic pocket on the front so you could change out the art work, or photos. Double duty frame and pocket if you will. Hmm...

I love this idea Sarah! 

I love this idea Sarah!  Thank you for sharing it with everyone!

You are just amazing Pam!!!

You are just amazing Pam!!! What a fantastic post. Seems everytime I read one of your posts I bookmark it. Just great.

These are fabulous, Pam! SO

These are fabulous, Pam! SO attractive and useful! And yes, I really would quill one; thanks for the link love. :-)


Ah!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!! I have some AWESOME books that I love the covers of... OLD ones... that I plan to use the pages for projects, and this would be a GREAT way to use the covers!!