Fabric Covered Ring Binders

Dressed up ring binders
My ring binders after a bit of transformation with pretty fabric and some glue… They turned out really darn pretty, don’t you think?

Wanna do the same with your ugly ring binders or folders? Okay, this is a descriptive tutorial post for you then!

Find a nice sturdy cotton fabric, take out those ugly ring binders from your bookshelf and “dress them up” with a new look. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years!

I used ordinary white glue, covered the ring binder’s spine in glue and adhered the fabric when the glue was sticky. I cut a piece of fabric that covered the colored cloth spine, tuck the edges to the inside of the covers and smoothed all wrinkles and air bubbles out. Then, after a few hours of work, my binders are transformed and in my opinion, much prettier!

Ring binders - before & after

Do you have this kind of ugly ring binders in your bookshelf too? They all have black covers and different coloured spines; bold red, dark blue, brown and black are most common. They are from a time when papers filled every home and every office. When nothing was digital and everything had to be saved and filed away. We’ve always had them at home too. Mom and dad stored away all kind of papers in them. My baby photos are in a few blue folders. I’ve got ring binders filled with papers from school, previous work situations, contracts and diplomas, published articles, inspiration etc. etc.

After all that hard work, I deserve a drink.

Craft time drink
Here you go, have one on me.

These days there are a lot of pretty alternatives out there in paper stores, if you have money to buy them. But as you might know by now I don’t like buying New of items I already own! Especially not when the stuff I already own are working perfectly fine (though not as modern or pretty as I would wish…).

To contributing to the consumption of goods that are so unnecessary (nice looking binders when you already own that kind of binders are very unnecessary indeed). A lot of today’s consumption is about getting “new and pretty” of items we either already have or don’t really need. Shops try to sell us pretty dish cloths, bed linen, towels, office supplies and clothes that we already have a version of at home. And boy, most of the time they succeed. We are seduced by the prettiness much too often!

You can borrow my mantra if you want to. It’s:

DIY (do it yourself), recycling and remodeling old stuff is better for our kids future, the environment – and my economy! Plus it’s much more fun, personal, greener, and more creative to fix old things up a bit instead of always buying new!

I try to do this whenever I can.

Ring binders - plastic label
What about labeling your folders?

I cut off the plastic label holder from each spine before adhering new fabric. I saved those and recycled them on the “new” spine. When the new fabric was in place I used a staple gun on to secure it in place as you can see on the images. I had to hand bend the tacks on the inside, but after that they are secured in place and I can slide in a label with information about what I store in that particular binder!

If you want to see more posts in this series, they are called: before and after. Check them out!

8 Responses

  1. I completely agree. Your folders are beautiful and now I know exactly what to do with our ugly box files. It’s been irritating me for a while but this is a perfect solution.

  2. Thanks for sharing this technique. I don’t like these ringbinders either, I have here in this room alone 40 black, plastic ones on the shelves! And probably 20 lying around the house…. :) They are so practical, but so far from being fun or decorative, or nice looking. I think i will transform the ringbinders that hold my sketches with fabric, that will at least brighten up part of the room!

  3. hello hanna!
    thank you for commenting on my blog. i love this idea and your photos are beautiful!
    smiles~ jill

  4. I think I’ve probably got some of these binders stored away, but I hardly ever have them any more. But at the office! oh, boy. I think I will do this with the binders at the office! They won’t know what hit them!

  5. What a wonderful way to recycle those old binders. A friend gave me an old binder filled with old workbasked patterns that I just love, but the binder is looking pretty battered! What a wonderful way to recycle it in colors and patterns that I love and still be able to store the magazines in the correct sized binder. (I don’t think they even make binders of that size any longer) Thank you Hanna for the inspiration! I’m going to do that to one of my grandmother’s old cookbooks, where she saved favorite recipes too!!!

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