, letter file

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Old letter files, wash basin or bucket, grey cardboard, black paper, glue, stanley knife, superglue, a pair of tongs, nipper, scissors, punch plier, clothes-peg, a metal ruler, thin wire, thin metal sheet (tin, aluminium, old cans, etc.).

Ø 2,5 mm; ø indicates diameter of a round object.


Start by soaking the old files in a bucket or wash basin filled with water. After a while the paper will loosen – peal it off and rinse under running water and let dry.


Dried paper from old letter files.


  To make the cover for the file take a piece of grey cardboard. Cut out cardboard with the following dimension;

Length = 52 mm, height = 26 mm.

The spine of the file will be 6 mm width.


Scratch two lines, on the cardboard to mark the spine of the file, with a knife.

Bend the two panels (front and back cover) inwards to form the file and sharpen the folds.

  Cut a piece of the dried paper from an old file, larger than the cardboard.


Smear uniformly the paper with glue.


  Important: Hold the file closed as shown in the picture, until the paper is glued to the front and back panel – otherwise it could be difficult to close the letter file probably afterwards.

  Start putting the spine of the file into the glue.


Fold the paper around the back and front panel, while the cardboard file is closed.


Open the file, squeeze together cardboard and paper and press to avoid air bubbles.


Cut away excess paper.


Keep the file closed with light pressure until the glue is dry.


Hereafter glue the spine cover

Cut black paper 9 mm width, as 1-1,5 mm is folded towards the front and back panel. As before it is important to keep the file closed while you glue the black paper to the spine.

Cut away surplus paper at the top and bottom. Let dry, use a clothes-peg to keep the file closed until the glue is dried.


Punch a hole with  punch pliers (size 2, the smallest is size 1) or with a die cutter.

The bottom of the hole is made 3 mm from the bottom of the file spine. If you want to make several letter files of exactly the same size – it is a good idea to make a template for cutting the holes.


Make a ring of thin metal wire (f. ex. the inside of an electric wire) use a round stick or round tongs. The ring should not be bigger than it can be pressed and fit into the hole.


The ring made on a pair of round shaped tongs.


Cut the wire off with a pair of nippers.


  Adjust the shape of the ring with a pair of little tongs.


  Press the ring into the hole and glue with a drip of glue.

Filling for the letter file

Important: If you want to fill the file with A4 paper sheets in scale 1:12,  and a clip to hold down the paper, you need to place paper and paper holder/clip before you glue the horseshoe shaped shackle.


In the picture you see how small the pieces for making a paper clip is.

1.      Bottom sheet

2.      Horseshoe shaped shackle

3.      Bottom with holes punched in corners

4.      Metal item to be placed between shackle

5.      Lock release

6.      The finished paper clip


  As shown in the photo/drawings the parts are very small, the dimension is only guidable. With proper tools the correct dimensions in scale 1:12 is possible, but it will be hard to see any difference.


  It is easy to cut/scratch lines in tin or thin metal sheet, using a ruler and a stanley knife, and bend forwards and backwards until it breaks.


Punch 4 holes in the corners of the thin metal sheet using a sewing needle/awl etc.



Horseshoe shaped wires – fitting the above holes, are made with a screwdriver etc. (Ø =2,5 mm).


With the screwdriver as a range finder under the horseshoe, turn around the sheet


Bend the wires, so they don’t fall off.


Glue the wires to the holes with a little drip of superglue, use a sewing needle/awl to dispense the glue.

  Has a tin metal plate been used the parts can also be solded together.


Cut off the ends when the glue is dry.


  Now it is supposed to look like this, when you turn it around.


Place the metal item (see fig. 5 on the drawing) between the two horseshoes, length dependent on the distance between the horseshoes.


The lock release is made from the same thin wire, se drawing fig. 4.


  The final filling (Important: if you want paper in the file, it should be placed before you glue together the horseshoe parts.


The paper lock - to hold the paper, see drawing fig. 2.

  Drill two holes, the size of the holes shall fit with the metal wire.

The filling placed in the letter file.

  Glue the filling for the letter file in the middle (measured from the top of the file) of the back panel, slightly away from the spine. 


Sticker for the letter file spine 1:1 click