Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making Our Masterpiece Folders

A few days ago, I posted my review of How to Use Child-Size Masterpieces. Here's how I fared making the folders.

I recently hit one of the mega-stores and bought red, blue and green folders for the first three steps of the Child-Size Masterpieces. I didn't even try to hit a sale, just bought the cheapest pocket folders they had, and still spent only about $5 on all the folders (with lots of extras for those postcards I'll be purchasing later in the year). I couldn't find the colored stickers she suggests (small dots of specific colors) so I splurged and bought myself a small rainbow set of Sharpie markers, planning to color the folder dots myself. (I could have used markers we had at home, but I was really looking for a reason to justify the Sharpie purchase anyway; they were already in the cart. I love Sharpie markers.)

The instructions for making the folders tell you to purchase regular size folders and trim them to 8" x 6", which was actually not difficult at all. It was a little more annoying to make them pocket folders again. When you trim them, of course, you cut the sides off, so you have to seal up the edges again. The instructions say to staple them, so I tried that at first. It was difficult to get them stapled properly, though that probably has more to do with my chinzy fifteen-year-old baby stapler than the task itself, though I also don't really like using staples on things the kids will be handling. I think there's the possibility of them cutting themselves on a staple that doesn't bend properly. More importantly, the staples might come loose and babies are very likely to pick up such things and eat them. It might not be a problem, but eating staples just seems like a bad idea.

So for the least set (the green ones), I decided to try taping them instead. I think it worked perfectly. I used the big clear packing tape, which we always have on hand.

I put some address labels (cut in half) on the insides and colored the dots on there so the marker would show well, rather than directly on the colored folders.

You might notice the green folders have four pockets. To create those, you need twice as many folders and then attach them together. I opted to use double-stick tape, which worked very well. Almost too well. I learned after the first one to be very careful about putting it together only when I was sure I had them lined up as I'd like. I also added a bit of packing tape on the edge to keep the kids (cough, Second Daughter) from pulling them apart.

I figured someone must sell the 8" x 6" size, but the only place I really found them was at Parent Child Press, the publisher of the books, for $1.50 each (here are the red ones, but they have all the colors). That's about ten times what I paid, even without a big sale; a lot more expensive. I was also surprised that the packages they sell are just packages of the books and the folders. You'd still have to cut all the cards out yourself and glue the cover cards on the folders. (I used double-stick tape for that, too.)

All in all, I think it took me about an hour to make the folders and put the cards for the first three steps inside. I had already cut them from the books and can't remember how long that took. (I cut them out while watching something from Netflix.) I probably could have finished quicker if I hadn't been at the table helping First Son and First Daughter with their dot-to-dots and color-by-numbers. (They love those things.)

It's also definitely the kind of project an older child could do. First Son probably could have managed it, but they wouldn't have looked quite as nice (not that mine are perfect).

I didn't mention it in the review, but I do intend to move to a more Charlotte Mason style approach to art appreciation eventually. I think First Son's more inclined to enjoy a Montessori approach right now which will involve manipulation of the cards. We'll see!


  1. I appreciate the time you took to share this, as well as your book review on the series. I've been hesitant to spend the money to start, but your posts have given me the confidence to dive in! Thank you!

  2. Angela, I hope you enjoy them. You don't have to purchase them all at once. I waited a year or two longer before investing in the later steps. Our folders go up through step 7 now and we're still using them. It's nice that once you've put them together they can last for a long time (as long as you keep them out of reach of the toddler).


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