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How to Make Our F3 Folders

Finally..Here's how to make our F3 Folders that are made to fit 3-ringed binders.

So, we know F3 is a strange name but it really is about the 3 Fs to do with the folder - flip, flap, fold.  Now lapbooking is neat and cute and very warm and fuzzy and I know people who do GREAT and extravagant lapbooks.  Unfortunately for us, it is way too much of a task for us complete a lapbook project at once.  The kids get overwhelmed by the sheer number of pieces in most premade packets.  They often get tired of the topic or the tediousness required to make all of the pieces.  Many times our kids want to switch to notebooking part way through a topic or use some of our own worksheets or resources.  We found that just a few pieces are often enough for us and many times we like to incorporate the piece directly into a little lesson type worksheet that then needs to find a home.  Some lapbookers can be bit of purists and feel that worksheets shouldn't really go into lapbooks.  We did not want to limit our children's learning activities to what could be pasted into or onto a file folder and we wanted everything we used - notebooking sheets, cut-n-paste activities, handouts, worksheets - to be kept in one spot and be able to be placed neatly on a shelf in a normal position.  Thus the F3 Folder was born.

This post explains how to create these folders in detail.  They are neat and fun to use but they do require a bit of work and a touch of patience to make them initially.  Once you get the hang of it, it's easy.  I usually make a whole pile at once.  (I even use this style of learning in my CCD class.  I will share more on that in another post.)

F3 Folders are made out of two manila folders, connected together especially designed to fit in a 3-ring binder. The folders extend out of the folder while still contained in the rings and can always be added to with more folders to accommodate any project including timelines. No more trying to find homes for odd-shaped paper projects or even storyboards. We like to use folders of various colours for different months projects, subjects, or topics and we are never afraid to have a few going at

Note: We have found a bit of variation in folder sizes (measurements) from brand to brand and style to style.  **Remember the old rule, measure twice and cut once. 

To create our F3 Folder you will need:

  • 2 - letter size (8.5"x11") manila file folders (Placement of tabs and folds may vary from below according to brands or varieties.)
  • clear packing tape (with a cutter or on a tape gun for ease)
  • paper cutter with ruler
  • 1 - 3-ring binder
  • a pencil to mark with
  • a ruler - if your cutter doesn't have one
  • 1 - 3 holed punch
Here is a general overview graphic.

Step 1: Keeping both folders closed and the tabs to the left, mark and trim off 1/2" from the bottom of both folders. Make sure that you cut both folders facing the same direction with tabs to the left.

Step 2: Select one folder to work with. Keeping the folder closed with the fold to your left, trim its closed width to 7 3/4".
Step 2

Step 3: Select the second folder. Measuring carefully from the outside centre-fold, trim the right side from the fold to 7 3/4" and the left side from the centre-fold to 8 7/8". (See graphic above.) When closed, the top flap of the folder should appear shorter than the bottom. You will end up cutting off the tabs.
Step 3

Step 4: Continuing with the same fold, using your 3-hole punch, carefully punch holes on the edge of the flap that measures 8 7/8".  (Again, see graphic above.) It will be the side that goes into the rings of the folder. 

Step 4

Step 5: Open both folders out flat with the insides facing toward the table. Match up the sides/edges measuring 7 3/4" and tape them together on the outside using clear packing tape; using a helper can make it a bit easier.
Step 5

Step 6: Fold up folders with the outside flaps together and put into your binder. If more space is needed for projects simply tape on another folder like that used in Step 2. [We have used a total of three folders accordion folded before and have had joyous results.]

You can now affix your F3 Pieces to your folder on the inside of the folders. It is always easier to affix things with the F3 folder inside the binder but if you prefer to affix things with the folder say, on a table, make sure the holes face the left side other wise pieces you glue in may appear upside down. Worksheets and reference sheets can fit into the F3 folder in-between the folder flaps. They close up quite nicely and keep like themed resources together.
Step 6

We hope you find this project helpful and useful.  It is a great way to keep all kinds of topic resources together.  You may find that your first folder may not come out exactly perfect.  Ours didn't  But, it really is worth the effort to have projects kept neatly on a shelf and everything kept together for future reference and keepsake browsing. 


That Resource Team

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