Rolodex In Artful Order: Paint Chip Crafts

I am a visual girl… I like to see things, pretty things, tactile things, organized things. I love color, paint chip crafts, office supplies, stationery, and art supplies.  I am not a tech-ie and don’t want to have everything including the kitchen sink in my computer files.

I like connection, hands-on to all my contacts, links, codes, passwords, URLs, user names, etc, etc, etc… I love the Rolodex system and this one I found on Brian and Kristen’s Photostream on Flickr makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Oooohhh la la … I want it…BAD!  It is handcrafted and so colorful.

Creative Rolodex DIY

I have always used a Rolodex, but since I started blogging, I needed a bigger one and found one that I think I can transform to look similar to the one I am drooling over above. Having something so pretty, neat, and organized and in my own style makes me want to work at my desk.

I could leave the Rolodex I found plain and boring, but by adding some stylish touches to it will elevate the time spent working at my desk into an extraordinary experience.

I found this Rolodex at a local discount store, but you can buy them on Amazon: Rolodex VIP Card File


Here is what my new Rolodex looked like right out of it’s clam-shell packaging.  Very business like and practical, not my style,  so I took it apart.  The little blue logo on the front comes off easily.

Paint chip Crafts transform a rolodex

This is the base that holds the cards.

Paint chip crafts DIY Rolodex

These are just your ordinary brown lunch bags that I ripped up to used to decoratively cover the base. You could use just about any paper to cover the base. Other options to consider – maps, pages from an old phone book, gift wrap, scrapbook paper,  fabric, paper place-mats from your favorite diner – let your imagination and personal style guide you.

Mod Podge on Rolodex

I used a 1″ paint brush and Mod Podge to apply the ripped up lunch bags to the base.  I kept the runner for the cards free of the paper and Mod Podge so that the cards would still go up and down the runners smoothly.

How to personalize a Rolodex

and I let it dry for about an hour on a foam plate.

Ripped Up Lunch Bag used as decorative paper on Rolodex

No, it is not a toaster!

Paint chip crafts rolodex

This is the best part – when you create paint chip crafts – part of your project is free.  I went to the paint store and picked out paint chips in all my favorite colors to make the tabs.  They are the perfect weight of paper for making tabbed dividers.

Decorating with Paint Chips

I made 1,2,3 templates – right , middle, left tabs out of one of the Rolodex cards and taped a tab I made onto each one to use as tracing templates.

Rolodex tabs

I found graph paper and colored index cards at Walmart for a few dollars to make some decorative cards like Brain and Kristen used.

WalMart Index Cards

I then sat in front of the TV and traced and cut until I had enough to fill my Rolodex.  :) I mixed the plain cards that came with the Rolodex with the colored and graph paper cards to place behind each lettered tab.

Rolodex Index cards: Paint chip crafts

I then went to my junk jewel stash and found a belt buckle.

collected junk turned stylish

I made my monogram on my computer and sized it to fit in the inside circle of the buckle.  To protect it, I covered it with clear acetate that I cut from the clam-shell packaging the Rolodex was in and glued it to the back of the buckle.

DIY monograms

And glued the monogram buckle to my new, colorful, and pretty Rolodex.

Paint Chip Crafts : Organizing Rolodex

I used a piece of textured wallpaper on the front tab.

Paint Chip crafts Decorating Ideas

Paint Chip Crafts : Creative Organizing

I am in love. Crafting with paint chip samples is fun.    Thank you Brian and Kristen for providing the inspiration.


Since I posted this 6 years ago, I wanted to show you how I improved upon my original paint chip crafts  design. I laminated the paint chips before cutting them into tab dividers.


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  1. OMG.. it was instant love with the rolodex. You even made me search your site for a diy. I’m so glad I found it!.. Loved it and will make one of my own.. so so pretty !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mandy – I made the Rolodex when I first started blogging. I still use it every day. Some say it is old school, but I love it and it works for me. So happy you found the post. Thanks for reading my blog.

      1. I bought myself a rolodex holder and at this very moment I’m following your tutorial how to make one for my own. Mine won’t be as pretty as yours but loved the idea !.

        Once again.. thank you !

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Mandy – I am sure your Rolodex will turn out beautiful. The best part is that you will be doing it in your own style, adding your own touches that will make it perfect for you.

  2. This is absolutely darling. I am also very visual/hands on/paper over technology. In fact, I believe I discovered your blog via one of your planner posts. That was a great day as I’ve gleaned so much from your amazing creativity. I’m going to use this idea, it’s so fun and unique. The paper sack mod podge is another new idea for me and one I can’t wait to try. I’d love to see a room done in it, so leaving here to start searching. Thank you for another fabulous project to work on.

  3. Can you tell me how you added the paint chips dividers to your rolodex? Did you just glue them to the index Cards? Your rolodex is adorable and functional ! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Connie – I used large paint chips that Lowes has for their paints. A few companies have larger chips that are not in a strip. Olympic has larger paint chips, too. After making the template for the card with the tab, I simply traced around it on each paint chip and then cut it out. No gluing needed.

  4. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    How I missed this is a wonder, but I love it and I want a Rolodex once again. My pc is getting old, so it is only smart to have a beautiful one such as this.

    I want to do this. I can’t begin to say how long my “to do” list is just from your ideas and beautiful stuff you show us. I found you because someone commented on your shiny desk blog about it and I just had to follow along.

    Thank You Ever So Much!

  5. Regina Molinaro says:

    I’m in love with your blog!!!!!!!! Lovely!!!!!

  6. My Home Life Mag says:

    This is a brilliant use of paint chips. I never tire of using them, their color is always perfect and the price is right (because I pick it AND they’re free!!). I love this rolodex! Perfect for recipes and a heapful of other things.
    I also LOVE the use of the brown, paper bags. I actually did this for wallpaper in my bathroom, I had to use the wrapping-paper sized roll of brown bag material due to the large space. But it turned out beautiful, to see that technique used here is just awesome!

  7. Sooooooo cute! Your post inspired me to do one for me :) my husband just said the other day I need to creat a cool “us” rolodex :) thanks for sharing this great idea :)

  8. Love, Love it. The paperbag and paint chips are so recycled. I have an old roledex that I’m going to try this on (may have to buy a new one)LOL. I’m like you I am very visual and I like paper back up don’t always trust the computer but wouldn’t find great ideas like this without it.Your papersack has a marbled effect looks neat. May try napkins or scrapbook paper or dig in the trash. I like to try and reuse things. I have a cereal box in my room that I will use as chipboard instead of buying. Thanks so much can’t wait to see more.

  9. Mod Podge Amy says:

    Diane! I’m like you – love to have things organized in front of me. Which is also good in case something (like the computer) craps out. I love this revamp!

    1. Hi Amy-
      Thanks. It is one of my favorite things – I like that is is tactile and visual. It makes my brain happy. Pretty and organized – two o the things my mind craves, plus like you said – never breaks down. I do need to weed it out soon as it has gotten pretty filled up.

  10. this is great! thanks for sharing :)

  11. Desiree Hesse says:

    This will be an awesome way/place to keep scraps for scrapbooking … Thanks for the idea… :)

  12. I like this! I, too, have areas where I just have to have a basic, hands-on, paper system for organizing some info. I just can’t get away from it and put everything into an electronic format, so this would be perfect for me – the perfect blend of crafty and functional! Thanks for sharing!

  13. After reading your post (and falling in love with the idea – I’ll probably make something similar by the end of the summer!), I was wondering if a rolodex hole punch exists, to make the cutting part easier (I’ve spent too many years in kindergarten, cutting out little things for my students, so any shortcuts that I can find are great)….and YES, it is out there….and I have a feeling that I may have one in my possession in the future. Neat-o!

    1. Hi Yvonne-

      Yes there is such a little gadget. I am holding it in my hand right now. It is made of black plastic and is about 2 inches square. It has a hinge on one end and the other end is where you place the card to be punched. It is called a Rolodex Business Card Punch. If you type that into Google you will see a list of places that sell them.

      I love my Rolodex. I use it many times a day.

  14. Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts says:

    I love this! It would be so handy – I would modge podge with favorite fabric scraps and use calligraphy pens to write the letters with!! Will you please consider linking up to my Toot-torial Tuesday blog hop at ?

  15. A project after my own heart –I love rolodex organizers and paint chips. What a creative idea & I love how you personalized it!!! Awesome job.

  16. Thank you for this lovely colourful tip! I took my rolodex home from work last Friday and added some bling to it :-) . Took it back to work this morning, and now waiting for the comments of my colleagues. Can’t wait what they have to say about my new and improved goodie :-) I will put pictures on my blog soon.
    (Please excuse me if my English is not correct, it is not my mother language.)

  17. I love it! Good lawd, that cutting and trimming must have taken FOREVUH! Sounds like something I would work on during a Nascar race…

    If I made my own, which I’m very tempted to do, I’d use a patterned paper on the base. I love patterns and bright colors. I’d love to win the giveaway and send you pictures of my version!!!

  18. Oh wow!!! That is sooooo cute!!! I would have never thought to do something like that. It’s amazing!!! Thank you for sharing your amazing creative ideas!

  19. Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea says:

    Wow! this is just fabulous – you are so talented.

  20. This is so pretty – I’ve seen similar projects but this is the first time I am drooling over one! Such beautiful cheery colors!

  21. Stephanie Lynn says:

    Hi Diane! Just wanted to let you know I’ll be featuring your rolodex today. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Thanks again for linking up to The Sunday Showcase. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  22. Stephanie Lynn says:

    What a fabulous idea! Love the rainbow tabs – adorable. Fantastic job…this would make me smile! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase – I greatly apprecite it. Hope you have a wonderful week. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  23. Hope I’m in time for the giveaway. I’m drooling over your creation!!!

  24. Saw you at DIY Showoff, great transformation! Great job!

  25. I just found your blog, just became a follower. I’d probably give the base a quick coat of glossy spray paint and then cover the tabs/dividers with leftover favric using spray adhesive.

  26. In my excitement I completely missed the give-away and I need it! I do follow you, and hope to have time to explore past posts, because I have been so impressed with your last two. About my own style…how can I improve upon perfection? My office is sage, burgundy, yellows, golds, brown…so I would use more earthy colors, my old buckle is bronze, and I would use a metallic bronze pen for the lettering. Other than the colors, (and I’m running to my paint guys Monday morning), I would completely copy what you’ve done here…love, love, love it! Be watching for my results…gnee.

  27. Oh Diane!

    I could feature you each week on my Top 5 Hits! This is such a winner, not as easy as the ribbon holder, but it’s on my to do list. We had a new grand baby this week and so I am just catching up on checking out all the great posts. Thanks so much for showing step-by-step how to make this. I have the perfect belt buckle too!

  28. Funky Junk Interiors says:

    So creative! And so much more interesting on the eyes than what it use to be. Love the first cardboard cutout.. that’s gorgeous!


  29. Julie @Frugal & Fabulous Design says:

    What a pretty project! I may have to try this….I’m desperate need of some organization.

    Thank you for linking up to Fab Friday –


  30. I love this rolodex! We are gearing up for a move and getting all these scraps of paper on my desk and corkboard is a must! I would love to cover mine with a graphic tissue paper to match my new planned mod office in our next home. I must go to the store to find grid index cards for quilt block ideas on the run! Thanks for sharing and the chance to win!

  31. scrappy buttons says:

    I love what you have done with this……I have been saving some beautiful color/printed bags from a craft store I go to. Now I know what I have been saving them for…I would use them the same way you used brown bags…Thank you for sharing your idea…

  32. I love how it came out! I would style it with all blues and greens and use it for receipts and my contacts.

  33. Marilyn B. Hughes says:

    WOW, to try and top that! I LOVE spray paint and have the perfect shade of aqua. Think I would start with that, then use colored cardstock distressed with inks, stamp on some designs, add a little bling, then use different papers (love craft paper and stamps to design some unique fills.


  34. Bethany @ The Paper Pony says:

    This is really cute! I love what you did with the paper bags… I don’t know what I’d do different… maybe spray paint? I think I would definitely keep the embossed paper! Totally great job.

  35. I LOVE this!! You did a really great job! I love the colors and your creative uses of the paint chips and paper bags. :)

  36. KentuckyCooking says:

    Hello! I’m your newest GFC follower; I came over from the I’m Lovin’ It Fridays party :) I’d love for you to stop by my blog and say hello!

    You are seriously a woman after my own heart; as soon as I saw the words “In Artful Order” and saw the pictures of what you created, I knew I’d be spending some time looking through your blog. I love organizing and putting things in their place. Such a cute idea to personalize it!

  37. Laura Ingalls Gunn says:

    You are so very clever and crafty!

  38. Stacy@RedDoorHome says:

    I so need something like this! My recipe drawer is overflowing with ideas and no organization. Thanks for getting me motivated.

  39. I love this idea!! I think I would use this to organize all of the cute things my kids say! I’ve wanted to start a journal but haven’t got around to it…

    1. Hi Kris-
      I used to write what my girls said on any scrap of paper I could find so I would not forget. I am not sure where all those scraps went. Organizing them in the Rolodex is a great idea. Thanks

  40. beachhouseliving says:

    I was just fine with my plain old Rolodex until this post. Truth be told I don’t think I could sit and cut out the colored tabs. So, this comment doesn’t qualify as an entry but I thought I comment about your handiwork.

  41. This is a wonderful idea!! I’m a rubber stamper. I think I’m going to get one and then I can stamp all the images I have and file them in one neat place (that’s easy to expand). Right now they are on pages in a notebook (in no particular order). I could add samples from my embossing plates too. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  42. That looks fantastic, great idea.

  43. Diane, that is so adorable!! I prefer paper to-do lists & paper address books so I of course love this. Why haven’t I bought a rolodex before? Probably because they look so boring & my black & white polka dot address book with the red ribbon on the side just makes me happier. However, if I could decorate my boring rolodex so that it makes me smile, I might be on to something. I hope I win! It’ll be tough to make something cuter than what you’ve done, though. Love your site!

  44. iIalso just became a subscriber! Please keep sharing yoru creativity with us!!!

  45. I have been wanting to do somethig like this for so very long! Thank you for your movtivating me to follow-through – either by being fortunate to win the rolodex, or to go forward with purchasing one. Thanks!

  46. I have a thing for scrapbook paper. I use it on everything. Even the cat runs when I come around the corner with my stash. What an inspiration. Now I might finally get myself organized. Ha! Surely I jest….

  47. Crafty Mom says:

    Wow!!! That is beautiful! I love it!!! I would decorate it with all my fave patterned papers (I have a huge stash!) and I love your idea of using the lunch bags for the base. I’d also use the paint chips like you did. Love that idea. But instead of using it as a way to store contacts, I think I’d use it as a crafty database and store crafty ideas/tutorials and such!

    1. This Rolodex holds around 500 cards – it woudl be a great place to store craft ideas and such. Thanks for the ideas. I have a smaller one that I use to organize quotes that I like.

  48. um……………..YES PLEASE! THAT IS FREakin ADORablE!!!

    u r so creative and talented!


  49. This is so cute and such a fantastic idea. I am a hands on person so I always prefer paper over technology any day. I am so excited about this idea as it will be perfect to help me get organized, especially here in le blog land. :) Thank you for sharing this idea!!!

  50. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    This is fabulous, Diane! I am printing this out. I’ve recently been re-organizing my business files and such, and I like pretty,too. I was wondering what I could do with all the new business cards I’ve been getting from people, plus those I already have. I guess I could adhere the business cards to index cards {or the cards that come with the rolodex}, dress up the base with some of my harlequin or French wrapping paper and maybe I’d use a blingy looking button on the front {although, I love your belt buckle idea with your monogram, too}. I already have some colored index cards and one of those index card boxes that I was previously using, but I haven’t kept it up-to-date.

    1. Hi Kathy-
      A few years ago I bought a little black Rolodex punch that you can use to punch the holes in the bottom of business cards so they work in the Rolodex. If you put
      ” Rolodex Punch” into a Google search you will find one. They run about $9.00.

  51. I just love it the way it is. The only thing I would change would be the initials :)

  52. Oh I am inspired! I love your cardsystem! I am not sure I can buy such a system here, but perhaps something similar. I will have a search for it next week! I want to give it an old bronze pewter look with something white red blue for my kitchen recepe cards! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Elsina-

      They still sell a few different types of Rolodex’s at office supply stores, but they are pretty pricey and becoming less popular because of computers. I found mine at a discount store called Ollies. They sell brand name stuff for literally- dollars. There is one right next to where I work. I peruse in there on my lunch break and have found many great deals on everything from outdoor furniture to books.

      1. Your paint chip projects are really cute and bright! Unfortunately I or my friends/family would never ever collect or store paint chips. That would probably even show up on a list of things to declutter! When I paint a room, I put a tag inside a light switch cover, listing the paint color/brand and where purchased. I do clutter a lot of stuff but not paint chips. If I went into a store that sells paint, where I live you could only get the maximum of 3 chips and usually only two! They protect them like gold, for fear they might run out. I have been married almost 35 years and my husband hates, what he calls, do-dads, so he would never tolerate that cute cover for an open door space, as well as my crazy Border Collie dog would probably accidentally tear it down. Wish I could do them but I know what battles to fight! Ideas are really cute anyways.

  53. Crafty Mummy says:

    I love that you used paint chips to make your tabs! I feel a bit sneaky taking them at the hardware store, but they are great for crafting ;)

    1. I love seeing all the colors together – so inspiring to me. Valspar and Olympic paints have the best chips, as they are pretty large. I don’t feel too guilty taking a few extra chips from time to time as I do buy all my paints and supplies there.

  54. This is so adorable! I can’t think of a way to do it cuter than you did, so I would do something similar. Very clever! Lisa~

  55. LOVE your rolodex idea. What/how do you use yours? Websites and blogs or by project? I would love to get organized like this!

    1. I have mine organized by letter. Then by tabs – a Passwords tab, just added a Link party tab for each day of the week, Pros – for business cards I get from contractors. A Wordpress Plugin tab for all the info I need for each of them, Blog Help sites tab, and a Craft Submitting sites tab. I have all my favorite sites under Blogs – they are also on my computer, but I like to have them listed here too, just in case my computer crashes. I think the tab that is the biggest is the password tab for all the sites I go to like Amazon, Blog Frog, Thesis, Google analytics, etc. I think everyone files in a different way. What makes sense to me, may not to another. I change it from time to time as I add new categories. I call it my ” Brain” If I didn’t have this I would be lost as I forget everything if it is not written down.

      1. I use and love Rolodexes! One is for all my doctor info, past and present as I have a LOT of them. One I used to use for info regarding my mom and dad (both deceased now). One I use for Christmas cards and birthdays as they can be updated immediately and yes, I am one of the few who continue to send Christmas cards One I use for my online accounts and on the back of each card I write my password. The last one I use for household services like repair companies, warranties and utility accounts. This works really well as we have two houses. I keep them on a closet shelf or between husband and I, we would have our desktop completely covered! Love them a lot!

  56. Sydney @memorableminutes says:

    Hi DIane,

    I absolutely LOVE this – for so many reasons. I am a huge fan of the paper bag mod podging. My mom actually did a whole bathroom in our house with torn GROCERY bags. It’s awesome. That rolodex is so neat. Can you believe I never in my life have used one?! I’ve always wanted to though. I usually bookmark all my favorite sites, and when i have the time print out all tutorials/recipes/patterns and put each in a page protector in its proper binder. I have quite the collection. but this would be so neat to do and add my scrapbooking touches to it. Do you just keep names of sites and places? Or how exactly do you use yours?

    And by the way, thanks for your nice note on my site last week.
    – Sydney

    1. Hi Sydney-

      My mom always used brown bags to decorate with also. I have gleaned many crafty ideas from her. Using the bags is my go-to way to cover things inexpensively. I also like the neutral color so you can use them just about anywhere. In the reply above I listed how I use mine.

    2. Sydney, can you post a picture of this bathroom?!