How to Make Tab Dividers


Tab dividers come in handy in organizing notebooks and files and are often a required school supply. Unfortunately, tab dividers are an extremely marked-up product, usually costing several dollars and adding up quickly in the cart when you have multiple notebook. Dozens of handmade tab dividers can be made for the price of one store bough pack if you have a laminator.

Things You'll Need

  • Hole-puncher
  • Heavyweight paper
  • Laminator
  • Glue
  • Pen
  • Scissors


  • Organize your material so you can guesstimate how many tab dividers you will be needing.

  • Cut out small square strips of paper to act as the actual tab of the tab divider. These should be about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide so you have room to write and extra room for attachment.

  • Write the names of your notebook and file sections on the tabs. Use specific labels, especially if you have a plethora of them. The more specific indications your tab dividers give, the more quickly you will be able to locate correct documents.

  • Decorate the tab divider as desired. Designed tab dividers are very popular for school notebooks. Paint or draw various designs, or make it simply just by using colored paper. If you are laminating, considering adding personal touches for unique dividers like pressed flowers. This is a functional way to use dried flowers. You could also use photographs, stickers other organic material.

Attach the Tab

  • Use a little dab of glue to temporarily attach the tab to the papers. This can be your final step if you don’t have and aren’t interested in getting an at home lamination machine.

  • Attach the tabs at varying lengths of the paper so you can read more than one tab at a time. If you have 1-1/2-inch long tabs, place each tab an extra 1 1/2 inches down the paper than the tab divider before. When you run out of room, start back at the opposite end of the paper.

  • Laminate the tab divide for professional durability. Use the laminating machine at faster speeds for paper.

  • Run the paper through the plastic film and trim off excess plastic. This should only be an issue around the tab itself. Careful not to split the plastic. If you do not have a laminator, take them to a laminating company.

  • Use a 3-prong hole puncher to add holes for a pronged notebook. No holes are necessary if the divider is going into a file cabinet.

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