How to Make Your Own Printable Binder Covers + Spines
in Silhouette Studio - no machine required!

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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 StudioNO CUTTING MACHINE REQUIRED! Let me show you how…

What You’ll Need

Binder Cover

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.

Silhouette Studio Page Setup Panel

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!

SIlhouette Studio Print Page Setup

Draw a rectangle that is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall. Center it to the page.

Silhouette Studio Center to 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.)

Silhouette Studio Eyedropper Tool

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.

Binder Cover

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.

Spine Label

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.)

Binder Spine Label

Rotate the patterned rectangle 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

Binder Spine Label

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.

Binder Spine Label

Rotate the label by 90 degrees clockwise and align with the top of the page.

Binder Spine Label

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.

Binder Spine Labels and Fiskars Paper Trimmer

Slip the cover and spine label into the plastic pockets of your binder and you are done!

School Notebooks Paper by Miss Kate Cuttables, Design ID #188764
Pencil Point Bold Font by Gina Marshall, Design ID #244534

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.

Sparkleberry Ink Choose Happy Digital Collection
Karima Mono font by The Traveling Fox, Design ID #244018
Bee Happy Font Duo by TypeFairy, Design ID #287007
Happy by Lilium Pixel SVG, Design ID #257374

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More Examples

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!

DIY Binder Covers
Check Register
Springtime Floral Pattern by Caitlin Bell, Design ID #322506
Molly Script & Anjelika Rose fonts

Print & Cut
Rainbow Polka Dots by Glitz Design, Design ID #38202
Cut & Paste Color Font by yai.salinas, Design ID #319237
            Signature London by Faris Fonts Creative, Design ID #266589
Cut – Silhouette Tools by Planeta Silhouette, Design ID #274372  
DIY Binder Covers
Boy Background Paper by Miss Kate Cuttables, Design ID #249493
ZP Triassic Dinosaurs 3D Font, Design ID #259052
T-Rex by Jennifer Wambach, Design ID #34143
Dino Dude Font by Sweet Elsie, Design ID #289311
DIY Binder Covers
Magical Polka Dots Background Paper by Miss Kate Cuttables, Design ID #299531
Medical Equipment by Jillibean Soup, Design ID #322349
Bebas Neue font
DIY Binder Covers
Sewing Pattern by Sandi Idelman, Design ID #291455
Baby Giovani Script by mythastudio, Design ID #312547
DIY Binder Covers
Central Park Flower Pattern by American Crafts, Design ID #20862
Karima Mono font by The Traveling Fox, Design ID #244018

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,

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