Every couponer needs a coupon holder. I have yet to see one marketed for this purpose that is actually functional. Target sells one made by Real Simple that attaches to your cart handle, but it has many faults: it only has 6 dividers (seriously?!); it wasn't wide enough to accommodate the width of printable coupons; and it cost more than I wanted to pay. I opted to follow in my mom's steps and use a check-sized accordion file folder. (Does anyone actually use these things to hold checks?) I made mine really pretty with colorful dividers, printed labels, and lettering on the front. If I'm going to take the time to coupon, I'm going to do it in style! It looks like I bought a fancy holder, but it only cost me a couple of bucks to make. Although a little tedious at times, this project was still a great GRE study break activity.
What you'll need:
Check-sized accordion file folder - I got mine in the dollar section at Target. It was a month or so ago; I'm not sure if they still have them. They always have them in the office section, though.
Card stock - 1 sheet per 1-2 dividers depending on the size of your dividers and the size of your cardstock. I used 30 sheets to make 30 dividers. I scored mine on sale at Michael's for $2.50 per package of 50 sheets.
Ruler - A cork-backed metal one works best.
Paper cutter and/or Scissors
Cutting mat (or a stack of old newspapers, magazines, or cardboard)
Label maker & label tape (optional)
Letter stickers or transfers (optional)
Clear nail polish (optional)
Prepare the folder.
Step 1: Use the X-Acto knife to cut the tabs off of the file folder dividers. They would otherwise block the visibility and usage of the tabbed dividers you are about to make.
Step 2: Measure the length and height of the file folder dividers to determine the dimensions you should make your dividers. Mine are 10" long by 4 3/4" high. I made mine 1/4" taller than the file folder dividers; so they would be the dominant dividers.
Step 3: Determine how tall to make your tabs. Look at the clearance between the desired divider height and the flap that closes the file folder. I made my tabs 1/2" tall - I wouldn't go much smaller, because you need room for the labels.
Step 4: Determine how many tabs you can fit across the length of your divider. A good tab length ranges from 1.5" to 2". I fit 6 1.5"-long tabs across the length of my divider with 1/2" margin on each end.
Step 5: Cut out a test divider to ensure that you like the dimensions you determined. Adjust as needed.
Make the dividers.
Step 6: Measure out one divider for each tab position onto the card stock as shown. I bought 8.5" x 11" card stock, so I could only fit one divider on each page. I saved the scraps for later projects. You should be able to fit 2 dividers per page with 12" x 12" card stock.
Step 7: Cut out each divider. I used an X-Acto knife, because I'm a perfectionist; scissors would be faster, though.
Step 8: Using the cut dividers as a stencil, trace & cut out the other dividers.
Label the dividers.
Step 9: Using the label maker, print labels for each coupon category. Alternatively, you can most certainly hand-write the labels. I printed labels, because I like things to be nice and neat.
I have the following categories arranged more or less in the order of the aisles in my Target store:
Shopping Cart (for the coupons I'm going to use), Misc., Clothing, Seasonal Items, Home, Office Supplies, Pet Care, Cleaning, Laundry, Air Freshener, Personal Care, Cosmetics, Medication, Feminine Products, Shower Products, Dental, Paper Products, Food Storage, Bread, Condiments, General Grocery, Baking, Cereal & Breakfast, Snacks, Chips, Candy, Beverages, Dairy & Refrigerated, Frozen, Store Coupons (for all of those Michael's, A.C. Moore, Jo-Ann, Kohl's, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons)
Step 10: If necessary, trim the labels to fit onto the divider tabs. Mine were a little too long.
Step 11: Apply the labels to the divider tabs.
Finish the file folder.
Step 12: Insert the dividers into the folder, evenly distributing them across the pockets. 30 dividers across 13 pockets resulted in 2-3 per pocket.
Step 13: If desired, adorn your file folder with lettering or other decorations.
Step 14: Apply clear nail polish over the decorations. They don't always want to stay attached to the ridged plastic surface.
Step 15: Admire your work! Clip those coupons!
I'm linking up with:
CraftOManiac Monday @ CraftOManiac
Made by you Monday @ Skip To My Lou
Lil' Luna Link Party @ Lil' Luna
Share It Link Party @ The Winthrop Chronicles
Time for a Party @ Fine Craft Guild
Uncommonly Yours @ Uncommon
Pretty Things Thursday @ Scissors & Spatulas with Johnny in a Dress
Flaunt It Friday @ Blissful Bucket List
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Weekend Wrap Up Party @ Tatertots & Jello
Strut Your Stuff Saturday @ Six Sisters' Stuff
Sundae Scoop Link Party @ I Heart Nap Time