As I make my own portfolio cases (for newer pieces that I need on hand sometimes), I thought it’d be fun and different to show what the process looks like. I’m sure most of you have encountered some sort of method if you’ve gone to any art school, if not I hope this will help someone out there. 🙂
Cutting Decorative Paper to Size
You can use any type of paper you want, whether it has patterns on it or is plain; I personally found 2 prints I liked in this adhesive-backed paper at a local Dollar-Store, that came in a roll. (You never know what you’ll find at Dollar-Stores or your local thrift stores, so always check them out.) You should be able to find similar items at your local craft/hobby store, OR you can always apply glue or double-sided tape to any paper and use it that way.
What I’m doing here is basically cutting the paper to fit the space I want covered on top of my Portfolio. You will obviously need 2 sheets, one for each side. Now this is totally a personal preference, but you can either choose to cover up the duct tape edges (hinges) of your portfolio, or leave the taped edges exposed and cover the rest of the surface with the paper.
Since I’m using a paper that has adhesive at the back, I have to carefully line up the paper to the edges as well as pull away the backing paper at the same time. So if you’re familiar with things like laminating documents and such, you’ll know that you have to get rid of air bubbles and wrinkles that appear. Usually you would use a tool for this (the name of which escapes my mind right now…), but I ended up grabbing a pack of gum which works just as well. Using small amounts of pressure, use a swiping motion across the paper to even/smoothe it out.
After you’ve attached the paper to both sides of the Portfolio, you could leave it at that and attach paper/binder clips to the edges to close the portfolio as you would do normally. However, I like mine to look a little more vintage/victorian, so instead of clips that will dig in to the foam-core, I used some craft ribbon to go around the portfolio and tied a nice tight bow to secure all my artwork inside. You may want to double up on the ribbon if you’re doing this for a larger portfolio.
Foamcore Portfolio Case
A simple and inexpensive way to make a case like the one above is to get some sheets of foam core board and duct tape, and put it together as I have done below. Before you cut anything however, its important that you first figure out what size you need your case to be, as well as the height/depth of the portfolio. If you make a case with the boards too close together, your work won’t fit or will get crushed inside. I suggest you take your artwork(s) and place it in between 2 boards you’ve already cut to size, and then measure the height and keep that in mind for when it comes to taping.
What you’re going to do is take your 2 foam boards, place them side by side with about a 1.5 inch gap in between (or whatever the height you measured, and kept note of). *The bigger gap you leave the larger the height of your portfolio will be, and the amount of space you’ll have to put your work in.
Next, place a strip of duct tape across the the length, making sure to cover the space you’ve kept but as well as leave enough to cover a bit of the edge of both boards. You can always add extra tape later to secure the first layer. Repeat this same step for the other side (what will be inside of your portfolio), and you’re done! Just fold it over in half like a book, and you have your case. It’s that simple.
On a side note, I would prefer to have a flat filing cabinet to store all my finished work, but if you have a VERY small studio/workspace like me, you have to work with what you have. So, these Portfolio Cases come in very handy.