The Bee Planner

I’ve been doing a lot of research on binder-making techniques the last couple of weeks. In the ‘Binder Series‘ I’ll show you my take on ‘em and what I learned along the way.

First up is a quick tutorial on the first binder I ever made, The Bee Planner!


The Bee Planner

The Bee Planner

A few years ago I made my first binder, a gift for my brother ‘n law. I completely hacked it together but here’s what I can remember.

Materials

  • → Cheap 2-ring 3×5 notecard binder from office supply store
  • → Vinyl, from the uphostery section at JoAnns
  • → Bumble bee fabric**
  • → Photocopies of CD Artwork**
  • → Tissue Paper
  • → Cardboard or bookboard
  • → Short bolt with flat head, nut and 2 grommets. Might be a good idea to bring your metal binder clip with you to the hardware/craft store to make sure all the sizes match up.
  • DIY Planner Templates to fill the inside!

** These can be whatever, always remember to make it your own!

First, rip out the 2-ring metal binder piece from your cheapo 3×5 notecard binder. Once it’s off the plastic use pliers to pull out the little brads that were holding it in place so you’re left with two holes on each side. If the metal bends while pulling out the brads just straighten it out with the pliers.

Music is ‘Folly’ by Sam Squarewave

Put the paper you’d like in the metal binder clip and measure from the very left point to the very right. Your bottom board will need to be this big or wider. If you plan on having page dividers with tabs include those in the width as well. Measure the height of the binder rings, your spine will need to be this wide + the thickness of the bottom board + a little extra to be safe.

Mock-up

The front and spine are made of paper (photocopies, collages, drawings) or fabric. The back should be bookboard or cardboard to give it a little weight. All three pieces are covered with clear vinyl on both sides.

Covering with vinyl

Once everything is ready to sew pin it together and stitch around the edges. Also do a stitch up and down through the seems between the front, spine and back. Give yourself plenty of extra vinyl around the edges so sewing is simple… then trim the excess off after.

Vinyl sewing tips!

A sewing machine with a good strong needle will sew through a layer of paper/fabric and two pieces of vinyl easily. The problem is that the vinyl sticks to everything… the foot and the feed. This is where the tissue paper comes in. Put a sheet on the bottom and on the top before sewing:
tissue → vinyl → paper → vinyl → tissue
Once the sewing is done the tissue paper will rip off easily.

Attaching the binder rings

Once the front, spine and back are complete place the metal binder rings on the far left of the back board. Mark inside the holes on each side of the hardware. Use a sharp tool or hammer and nail to create a hole through the entire back piece the size of your grommet. It’s best to make it a little bit smaller and squeeze the grommet in, better than having a hole too big! Put it in so that the pretty side is on the outside of the binder.

Once the grommets are in place use the screws to secure the rings to the board with the flat head of the screw on the outside. Voila!

attaching the binder rings

Like I mentioned in the beginning, I really hacked this binder together. Plus I’m writing this from memory so if something doesn’t work out quite right I warned you! There are a few pictures of this planner on flickr, view ‘all sizes’ to see bigger versions for more detail.

Thanks for reading, hope its helpful!

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