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CRAFT Project: Customized 3-Ring Binders

It’s no secret that I love HeatnBond, it’s a must-have for appliqué projects and is perfect for all kinds of no-sew fabric applications. But a lot of people don’t realize you can use it with paper, too!
I found these simple paper and fabric binders (made by Russell + Hazel) at a local shop here in Silver Lake. I like their clean yet sturdy design, and that they were made using 100% post-consumer materials. The large binder is Davey Board (think: heavy chipboard) and the smaller binder is board covered with green linen. They look beautiful as-is, but I thought they’d look even cooler with a few simple embellishments. So here’s what I did.
I picked out a few fabric scraps and ironed some HeatnBond Lite iron-on adhesive to the backs. Then I found a font I Iiked on my computer and printed out a phrase (“Home Ec.” in this case) in 2″ high letters. I taped the printout to a window in my office, then taped the fabric on top and traced the letters using an ink pen.
Then I cut out the letters using my favorite scissors, which our “Old School” columnist Cathy Callahan turned me on to. They have a very fine angled tip, which makes them perfect for detailed snipping work like this.
Peel off the HeatnBond’s paper backing and place the letters adhesive-side down on your binder. Using a dry iron on a medium setting, iron them into place. I covered my letters with a floursack tea towel first just to be safe–as I wasn’t sure if the iron would discolor the board or linen–but it ended up taking the heat well. Just try to work quickly so you don’t warp the binder in any way–fuse the letters down bit by bit if you need to.
All done! For the large binder, I simply freehand-cut some teardrop shapes out of my fabric scraps. I’m ready to go back to school now! Oh wait…

12 thoughts on “CRAFT Project: Customized 3-Ring Binders

  1. Alicia says:

    This is so great. I use school binders for my recipes, so maybe I’ll first try to cover them in material (that must be possible, right?) and doing some lettering like this!

  2. sweesweepaperie says:

    I love these takes on the Russell+Hazel binders. Heat n’ Bond is a great idea! We sell the binders in our paper goods store in Seattle and did our own DIY project with them, except we covered the entire surface with paper (we used PVA). I love how you cut out the letters and applied them directly to the book cloth! Really cute!

  3. IamSusie says:

    You don’t find that they peel off over time? When I use heat and bond with fabric, I always have to stitch down the edges. Peeling is an even bigger problem for me if I have skipped pre-washing the fabric and it still has the manufacturer’s sizing on it.

  4. Jenny Ryan says:

    I haven’t had any problems with peeling yet, no. Maybe because unlike applique done on fabric (clothing and bags and such), the binders don’t get thrown in the wasging machine. Time will tell of course, but so far, so good.

  5. Steven Battie says:

    Great place for supplies,

  6. John Marry says:

    I also love handy craft projects. I learned a lot from your blog about binders. The image is really a beautiful and easy to implement. All the steps are clear. You cab also get custom binders at:

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Jenny Ryan

Jenny Ryan is an artist, crafter, and maker of things. She lives in Los Angeles with a pack of various animals (including her husband) and writes about her adventures in creating at Exit Through the Thrift Shop.

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