Swanky Linen Art Binder - Fabric Covered Binder that Doesn’t Look Dumb

After spending a disappointing hour on Pinterest looking for cool-ish fabric covered binders I gave up. They all looked lame and chintzy. I have been holding on to two very cool smaller sized three ring binders to carry around with me when I sketch or watercolor. I wanted something that would make my bookbinding-mentor-friend proud, not something Twilight moms would pin and repin. I wanted something artsy, minimal and timeless. Here is what I came up with. The po’ man’s version of a cool, portable, mini portfolio. 

Swanky Little Linen Three Ring Binder

opens up and lays flat while you write/paint/draw
small, easy to carry
three rings lets to reuse it over and over
remove wet pages and return them when dry
print images on paper, punch holes in them and add to binder
attractive and minimal
weatherproof and rugged
strong cover protects paper from bending

three ring binder (I used 7.5x10, perfect size for me)
fabric (enough to cover binder)
modge podge or anything gluey 
binder clips/paper clips
cardstock/matboard/bristol board

This project shouldn’t take more than an hour-ish if you have a fan to help dry the glue. You can break it into two parts. 


Cut out a piece of fabric big enough to cover your binder.

(NOTE: Because the binder I had was dark blue and I didn’t want the blue to show through my linen fabric I covered the binder with a scrap of white fabric first, if you aren’t concerned with the color underneath peeking you’ll only need one layer.)


Leave a little margin around the edge, your fabric will wrap over your binder. Now get your glue and brush once the fabric is cut to the right size. 

Cover the binder with a decent layer of glue and press the fabric, smoothing out all bubbles. If you are doing a liner (the white fabric in the tutorial is actually the liner in my version and it cut exactly to the size of the binder, the linen piece is cut with an inch or so border) affix the liner and let it dry. 


Tuck the fabric under the metal binder part or your binder will look ghetto. and start painting glue around the edges and fold the fabric over it like this:

Go around the whole binder and paperclip the edges. Binder clips work the best but I only had two.

Once you feel like it has stuck, remove clips and paint over the fabric and reclip if you are anal retentive like I sometimes am. 

(NOTE: The tricky part is folding the corners. I eye-balled it and snipped extra fabric then folded it until it felt right.)



Cut your card stock/mat board/bristol board to fit the insides to cover the ugly fabric edges. Be sure they are the right size by closing the binder and making sure its a good fit. Glue the board in once you like the size.

Oh. woah. You are like, done. Just let it dry and then all punched pages you want to draw on, paint or write romantic poetry on and bring it with you to look cool. 

(By the way, I didn’t draw that. I printed off Guercino’s The Assassination of Amnon at the Feast of Absalom on a piece of my thick swanky cotton paper and sketched over the top. I like doing that to make my own copy as a means of studying techniques of other artists, just FYI). 

All images are taken by me, Leah Sidwell, Ms. Holy Crickey herself.

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holy crickey is a a make-it-yourself blog with ideas for people who think it costs less to do stuff yourself. some ideas are original and some are pinterest knockoffs with better photography.

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