Whether you’re getting ready for back to school, organizing your office, or just brightening up things around the house, printable binder covers are an easy way to add some color and fun to your life! And you can make them quickly in any version of Silhouette Studio – NO CUTTING MACHINE REQUIRED! Let me show you how…
What You’ll Need
- View Binder in the size of your choice
- Silhouette Studio – download the free Basic version here.
- Printable digital pattern (see A Note about Patterns at the end of this post)
- White Cardstock
- Printer (see note below)
- Paper Trimmer, Scissors, or X-acto knife
This tutorial is written for use with a printer that is limited to a width of 8.5 inches. If you have a 12×12 printer like this one, you can fit both the notebook cover and the spine label on one sheet of cardstock or adjust the size of the design to create larger binder covers. I recommend Red River Paper’s 60 lb Polar Matte cardstock.
Open a new document in Silhouette Studio with dimensions to match your printer, portrait-orientation. Check the box for Show Print Border.
My Print Page Setup is 8.5 in x 11 in. Borderless, so the print border is the same size as the page. If your printer doesn’t allow for borderless printing, you may see a small margin on all sides and your binder cover will be white in these areas. Consider it a design element!
Draw a rectangle that is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall. Center it to the page.
Go to your Silhouette Library and locate the pattern you want to use. Click once on the thumbnail to fill your rectangle with the pattern. (If the rectangle does not fill with pattern, make sure it is selected before going to the Library tab.)
Adjust the pattern if desired. (Check out this tutorial for more information on how to adjust patterns.)
Draw a rounded rectangle 5.5 inches wide by 3 inches tall. Fill with white.
Change the line color of the rounded rectangle to a coordinating color. Change the line weight to 5.00 pt. (Hint: use the eyedropper tool to choose a coordinating color from the pattern.)
Add text or other clipart. Fill the text with color and resize as desired. Group the text/clip art with the rounded rectangle.
Position the rounded rectangle as desired. (Mine is about 2 inches from the top and centered to the page.) Group all elements of the design together.
Make a copy of the design and move it to the grey holding area.
Double-check to be sure the design is still centered to the page and print onto white cardstock.
Measure the area of the notebook spine where the label goes. The 1-inch binder I’m using has a label area of approximately 1.25 inches.
Very important!!! Deduct at least 0.1 inches from this measurement for your spine label to slip in easily. I used a measurement of 1.1 inches for mine and it was still a pretty tight fit.
Using the copy you created earlier, ungroup the design. Resize the width of the patterned rectangle to the measurement you calculated above. (The height will remain 11 inches.)
Rotate the patterned rectangle 90 degrees counter-clockwise.
Resize the rounded rectangle and text to fit within the patterned rectangle. I also changed the line weight of my rounded rectangle to 3.00 pts and adjusted the corners slightly.
Align all elements and group.
Rotate the label by 90 degrees clockwise and align with the top of the page.
Print on white cardstock and trim with paper trimmer, scissors, or X-acto knife. If you are making multiple binder covers, place several spine labels on one page before printing.
Slip the cover and spine label into the plastic pockets of your binder and you are done!
A Note about Patterns
This tutorial uses patterns from the Silhouette Design Store because they are readily available and the simplest to use with the free version of Silhouette Studio. If you have Designer Edition or above, you can add custom patterns to your Silhouette Library.
Here’s a fun notebook I made using patterns purchased online. This one is from Sparkleberry Ink, but you can also find patterns (including free ones!) from online sources including Design Bundles, Creative Fabrica, and Creative Market.
Like what you see here? Share the image below to Pinterest!
One word of caution…if you like playing with patterns and designs in Silhouette Studio as much as I do, this project can be habit-forming. Now I want to decorate every binder I can get my hands on!
I hope this tutorial has inspired you to make some binder covers of your own because they really are a lot of fun! If you have any questions or want to show off what you’ve made, leave a comment below or come visit me over in the Silhouette Crafters by Design Facebook group! It’s always fun and inspiring to see what you create!
Until next time,
Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.