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How to Make Matching File Storage Boxes

Updated on January 29, 2017
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I've always loved creativity - in art and craftwork, I can embroider, knit, crochet, make clothes and earrings, paint, draw and decorate

Home Made Storage Files to Suit Your Decor


Make Your Own Set of Matching File Storage Boxes - it's Easy!

De-clutter your home and sort out your papers and magazines by creating more storage space using file storage boxes

Sometimes I used to look at my mish-mash collection of old files and piles of papers, gathered over many years, and think what a hideous mess they looked - all odd sizes and colours. I thought that if they need to be on display, at least they could all be matching to blend in with the décor.

I could have just bought a matching set, but I couldn't find any file storage boxes that I particularly liked in the shops.

I could see that it would be quite easy to cover my own files, using wallpaper or gift wrap to create a set to my own individual taste, and now I'm going to show you how to cover your own set of attractive files.

Equipment for Covering Files - Boxes, Glue, Pencil, Paintbrush, Scissors


Things You Will Need to Make Your Set of Storage Files

  • Large cardboard cereal boxes
  • Decorative Paper or paper you can decorate yourself. Wallpaper works best because it is slightly thicker than other paper, so helps to strengthen the box. But gift-wrap would be fine. Or you might want plain paper that you can decorate with pictures, or a collage.
  • Craft Glue or Wall Paper Paste
  • A ½-inch or 1-inch Paintbrush
  • A Pencil
  • Scissors

Method for Making and Covering a File Storage Box - Five Steps

Step 1: Checking Dimensions

First check that the cereal boxes are the right height and width to hold A4 size papers, magazines, or whatever else you intend to put in the completed files.

I've made mine in two or three different sizes, and find that a size which fits Size A4 paper is the most useful.

Then check that the boxes are strong enough and not damaged


Step 2: Strengthening

The box needs to be strong enough to hold the contents

Carefully cut the top off the box, and, if it is suitably smooth, put the cut piece of cardboard inside the box, at the bottom, to strengthen and stiffen the base. Otherwise, cut a separate piece of cardboard the same size as the base of the box, and put that inside the box to cover the base.

You need good craft glue to make things - try Modge Podge

Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish (16-Ounce), CS11302 Matte Finish
Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish (16-Ounce), CS11302 Matte Finish

This is an excellent all-purpose craft glue which not only sticks but also gives a protective transparent sheen when you paint it over a surface. As a crafter myself, I am quite fussy about what I use and would certainly choose Modge Podge


Boxes and Templates for Covering Files


Step 3: Making and Using a Template for Your File Storage Box

(a shaped piece of cardboard that you can re-use)

Decide what shape you want your files. Usually they are high at the back and curve down to a lower level at the front.

On the top edge of the wide side of the box, carefully draw out the shape you want. Cut round the shape as neatly as possible, cutting it off at the front edge of the box. This will be your template. Then place the template on the other wide side of the box, so that you can draw round it, thus making sure that both the wide sides of the box will be cut to exactly the same shape.

Cut the front narrow edge of the box straight across. You will then have a container shaped like a file box.

Box wrapped with wall paper


Step 4: Covering the File Storage Box

Wrap the paper you have chosen round the box and then cut it so that there is a small overlap ( ½ inch - 1 inch on the sides and 1 inch - 1½ inches at the base). If your paper isn't big enough to go all the way round, you can use two pieces, but make sure you cut sufficient to have an overlap on both pieces.

Using the paintbrush, paste (glue) the back of the paper. Then wrap it round the box, a small area at a time, smoothing it as you go. Make sure that the edge of the paper which is going round the top end of the box is exactly level with the highest edge of the box (the back edge). On the side edge, one edge should overlap round the side edge by ½ inch or 1 inch, and then, when the paper is wrapped round the box, the second edge should just cover the side edge without overlapping. Doing this will ensure that the paper is on straight and there are no gaps of cereal box showing through.

Smooth and Straighten the Decorative Paper Now


Important: Do any smoothing and straightening of the decorative paper at this stage, whilst the glue is still wet

You will then have a fully covered box, with a bit of paper sticking out at the bottom which needs to be fitted over the base of the box.

To fit the wallpaper or giftwrap paper neatly:

Cut out a "V" shape at the corners

You will then be able to turn down the bottom edge and glue it neatly to the base

If you wish, you can then cut a piece of paper the same shape as the base of the box, and glue it to the base, to conceal the uneven bits of paper.

However, when the files are in use, this bit doesn't show, so it is aesthetical rather than essential to cover the base.

Covering file and cutting a "V"


Craft Scissors

ECR4Kids Kraft Edger Decorative Craft Scissor Set - 18 Scissors with Rotating Wood Rack
ECR4Kids Kraft Edger Decorative Craft Scissor Set - 18 Scissors with Rotating Wood Rack

A fantastic set - these scissors each have different types of blades to cut different styles of edges and


I like the craft scissors above because there are so many uses, and it's always good to have a wide selection

The beauty of buying a whole set is that you'll always be able to find at least some of them - none of this running around the house searching for a pair of scissors that some naughty person has left in the wrong place, or dropped under the sofa. I've seen it happen - all too regularly, I'm afraid!

Step 5: Complete Your Set

Cover further files, using the same template to shape the top edges of the cereal boxes.

You might like to make a couple of large ones for your magazines, several A4 size for your correspondence, and one or two slightly smaller files for note books, notes and bits and pieces. That's what worked well for me.

Covered and Uncovered Storage Files


Covered Files - the end product


What About Files of Different Sizes?

Files, Boxes, CD Containers, Pencil and Pen Boxes

As well as the A4 size files, you might like to cover one or two smaller cereal boxes to carry loose letters, notes, bills, take-away menu's and so forth. Maybe have a box file of papers "To be Filed", and another for things which are outstanding - a "To Do" file.

And then you could make a matching desk set, or even a letter rack. There are so many permutations.

Covering files - black and white flowers


What's the Look You Like on Your Covered File Storage Boxes?

Take the poll below and see what others like too

People have such varied views about colour schemes in their home.

What style and colours would you like for your covered files?

See results

Below is Some Stationery Which I Designed, to go in Your Files

On Zazzle you can choose what's there from hundreds of designs, or you can design your own products. It's great fun!

Stationery - Red Venetian Mask "Masquerade"; by GloriousConfusion

Stationery on Zazzle - Red Venetian Mask "Masquerade"


My Guestbook - Leave Your Comments Here

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    • profile image

      M L Morgan 2 years ago

      Clicked through the FB Hubpage group. Useful article, I homeschool, so will definitely be using this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I tried covering closed cardboard boxes with fabric and liked the results. Since I have such a big fabric stash, I might try that on file boxes too.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      I love this tutorial. I am very big on recycling and these file boxes are adorable. Simple, practical, and unique. Thank you!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      @savenlives: That sounds nice - make sure it fits in with the décor of the room where you intend to keep the files

    • savenlives profile image

      savenlives 3 years ago

      Great idea!! I'm pinning this for future reference! I would use some pretty beach themed paper I think...thanks for this great ideas!!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Virginia Allain: You could always ask friends or neighbours for their spare boxes

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Marvelous idea. Unfortunately we don't eat cereal so don't have any boxes like that. Very well explained.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @RadaFrancis LM: I'm awful - can't bear to throw anything away, so I recycle everything I can!

    • RadaFrancis LM profile image

      RadaFrancis LM 4 years ago

      Very cool idea.. way to recycle :)

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @eskecime: But it can get a bit obsessive - I now have file boxes all over the place (matching, of course)

    • eskecime profile image

      eskecime 5 years ago

      Really nice lens.

      Now I know what to do with my cereal boxes!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      Excellent lens! Squid Angel Blessed! :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 5 years ago

      I have loads of papers and many files and more papers and magazines waiting to be filed. Every so often I have a clear out. Your file boxes were very useful looking. I might just try making one, instead of buying another!

    • Angelgirl1976 profile image

      Angelgirl1976 5 years ago

      These are some really good ideas :) going to save some cerial boxes now :)