When I married my husband in 1995, I received a beautifully personalized gift from my father’s wife. She customized a wedding album with fabric, which happened to be a popular DIY project at the time. Though I believed that album was the coolest thing since sliced bread and I wanted to learn how to make those albums myself, I never asked my step-mom to show me how she made those stunning creations. And even though 10 and 15 years later I still wished I knew the process of making those fabric covered albums, I never took the time to find out how.
Now, it’s 2017. I became a huge list maker, notetaker, prayer journaler and other such things. I had invested a pretty penny into spiral notebooks, journals, and 3-ring binders. None of the things I purchased ever really felt “right” to me. I’d use the cutest Lisa Frank spiral for a month, realize it wasn’t working for me, and I’d go out to buy something else. I bought so many different items to house my lists and notes, I really should’ve bought stock in companies like 5-Star.
Shortly after watching the newest faith-based movie (War Room), I spent a few weeks trying to figure out where I could create my own war room. I didn’t have any extra rooms and I didn’t have enough closet space for our clothes, so using a closet was out of the question.
It was then that my sweet little fabric covered wedding album popped back into my head. I wanted to create a space where I could keep my prayers, sermon notes, and scriptures I wanted to memorize. It was at that very moment when I heard the words “war binder.”
I decided I would find a way to cover a 3-ring binder with fabric and make it my own, private, personal book that held everything related to my walk with the Lord.
I discovered a way that works for me. Please feel free to use my process in your own project.
What You Need
- fabric you love
- 3-ring binder or photo album (or similar)
- spray adhesive and other glue (I used quick-drying tacky glue)
- popsicle stick or other similar item
- clothespins (optional)
First things first, I am using a 3-ring photo album to create this specific war binder. I often find them to be a bit sturdier than a school binder, but I use both depending on what I have on hand.
- Lay your binder/album open and flat, on top of the material you’ll be using for the cover.
- When you cut the excess fabric, leave an inch and a half or so of fabric all the way around the edges of your binder.
- Spray the outside cover with spray adhesive and carefully position your binder onto your material. Be sure your fabric is laying flat and the back side of the fabric is facing up, like in the photograph to the right.
- At this point, quickly flip over the binder so you can smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles between the binder and fabric.
- TIP: I used a light adhesive, so I could lift it, flatten out any of the aforementioned issues and reapply if needed. I don’t believe I would’ve been able to do this with a strong adhesive.
- Once you’re satisfied with the look of the outside cover, flip the binder back over and began to pull each corner of my material toward the center and attached it with some tacky glue. If it doesn’t stick to the binder within a minute or two, I use clothespins to hold the material down till it dries a bit.
- The next step can be seen in the photo collage below and involves wrapping each side of fabric around the edges of your binder and attaching them with glue.
- NOTE: When wrapping the fabric around the edges, do not pull too tightly. You do not want the fabric so snug that it effects your ability to close the binder once everything dries.
To cover the inside of your binder, you have two options. One is done with a heavy-ish cardstock and the other is done with fabric (and cardstock). The measuring and cutting for this step should be done more precisely, since this piece will not have anything hiding it’s blemishes.
Each inside cover should still have a small amount of fabric framing the front, back, and sometimes the spine (as you can see I’m using one of those wonky trifold-like albums). Measure each area you want to cover, remembering to leave some of the fabric visible. Cut your cardstock to your desired size and carefully glue each piece to the appropriate side. Be sure the paper is large enough to cover the cut edges of fabric already glued to the binder. BAM! You just made a cover for your binder.
There are a few more steps to cover the inside with fabric, but I found a great complimentary pattern to this material and I love how it turned out. Even though we are covering the inside with fabric, you still need to measure and cut your piece of cardstock to fit inside the front and inside the back (and possibly the spine too). Remember to leave some of the wrapped-around-fabric visible. Now STOP! Do NOT cut the fabric the same as your measurements or cardstock. If you do, your rough (and possibly crooked-like-mine) edges will easily be seen when you open your war binder. What we do here is wrap the fabric OVER the cardstock, to hide the defects of the cut fabric. So just like we did on the outside cover, spray a little adhesive onto your cardstock and carefully smooth out any blemishes. Once again, gently wrap all four edges of fabric around the cardstock and attach with glue. That’s pretty much it! Take your fabric wrapped paper, paper side down, and and gingerly glue each piece to the appropriate side. Ta-Da!
Ecclesiastes 7:20 NASB
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
I am currently working against my desire for perfection, so though the fabric is crooked and not everything lines up, I am completely okay with those imperfect things. Just as my Father accepts me as I am and does not expect me to be perfect. I pray you too are willing to be happy with your best effort and are not pushing toward perfection.