Make Your Own Custom Binders

Have you ever wanted to make your own customized, gorgeous and unique ring-binders?  Here at Binding101 we are experts in binder customization with more than 75 years of business experience!  We can create all kinds of custom binders for you for a reasonable price, however, we do have minimum order requirements, so if you only want a couple of your own binders, then we recommend you put on your crafty-hat and make your own.  How fun is that?! We have created an easy step-by-step method for make one of the most popular ring binders: turned edge.  What's a turned edge binder, you say?  Check out photos here:  That means you will be able to make things like this:

Are you excited yet?  Let's get started!

You will need:

  1. Ring Binder Mechanisms (1 for each binder)
  2. Rivets (2 for each binder)
  3. Rivet Setter Tool & Hammer
  4. Fabric, Vinyl, or Paper (pick any fabric or paper from your local store - this is the fun part!)
  5. Custom-Cut Chip Board Sheets (3 for each binder; 2 covers & 1 spine)
  6. Spray Adhesive or Glue
  7. Heavy-Duty Single Hole Punch or Drill
  8. Pen or Pencil
  9. Scissors or X-Acto Knife

...and here comes the fun part!

How to make your binder:

  1. First you want to cut your awesome fabric, paper, or vinyl to size.
    a) You will need (1) large sheet for the outside.  This needs to be large enough to cover the entire outside of your binder with an additional 1" to 2" of extra on each side to wrap-around.  For example: if each of your chip board covers are 12" H x 12" W and your spine is 2" W, then you would need one sheet approximately 28" W x 13-1/2" H.
    b) You will need (4) small strips to hold the chipboard covers to the spine (these will not be visible on the completed binder).  These should be the same height of your chip board and about 2-1/2" to 3" wide . Hint: A strong fabric is generally used here to avoid tearing and provide flexibility for opening & closing the covers.
    c) You will need (2) sheets for your inside liner.  These can be cut-to-size depending on your preference, however, most choose to make them about 1/2" smaller on each side.  For example: If your front cover chip board is 12" x 12" then you would need two 11-1/2" x 11-1/2" sheets (one for the inside front and one for the inside back covers)
  2. Center your binder mechanism on the chip board strip that will eventually become your binder spine.  Use a pen or pencil to draw a dot centered through the two rivet holes in the mechanism.  Remove the mechanism, and use your punch or drill to turn those dots into holes.
  3. Line up your large outside cover sheet and do the same so that the holes line up.
  4. Take the four strips of material and apply adhesive to the insides.  Use these strips to connect the chip board front and back covers to the spine by applying one strip on each side.  You want to leave a small gap between each chip board sheet so that they can be easily opened and closed.
  5. Apply adhesive to the outside of all your chip boards (the front, spine, and back).  Take the large outside cover sheet and center it over the adhesive.  Press down carefully!  There is a lot of surface area to glue down, so we recommend you start in the middle and work your way out to help avoid bubbles. DON'T FORGET to line up the holes on your material and spine.  Hint: You can use a bone folder or the back of a spoon to smooth the cover over the glue.
  6. Apply adhesive to the inside of your remaining two material sheets. Center and apply them to the inside front and back covers, covering up the last bit of chip board surface.
  7. Once the glue is dry, use your rivet setter to attach the rivets to your spine (photo steps below).



 Got a question?  Here are some FAQ's!

Q: How do I know what chip board sizes I need?

A: The chip board size is completely up to you based on the sheet size to be inserted.  Below are the most common sizes for round ring binder mechanisms (which are mounted on the spines) used with letter size 8-1/2" W x 11" H sheets.

  • 1/2" Ring -- 9-3/4" front & back covers, 1" spine
  • 3/4" Ring -- 9-3/4" front & back covers, 1-1/2" spine
  • 1" Ring -- 10" front & back covers, 1-1/2" spine
  • 1-1/2" Ring -- 10-1/2" front & back covers, 2" spine
  • 2" Ring -- 11-1/4" front & back covers, 2-1/2" spine
  • 2-1/2" Ring -- 11-3/4" front & back covers, 3-1/4" spine
  • 3" Ring -- 12-1/4" front & back covers, 3-3/4" spine
  • 4" Ring -- 13" front & back covers, 4-3/4" spine

Q: What size Rivets do we need?

A: Rivets are available in a wide variety of sizes from 5/16" to 13/16".  We have listed our two most popular sizes (7/16" and 9/16") online here: For smaller ring mechanisms from 1/2" through 1" and 2-ring mechanisms, the 7/16" are typically used.  For 1-1/2" rings and larger, the 9/16" are typically used.  Depending on the overall thickness of your cover materials, however, you may need something different.  Call (866)537-2244 to request samples.

Q: Woah, you have different thicknesses of chip board?  How do I know what I need for my binder?

A: Don't fret!  Most binders are made using thick chipboard either 90 or 120 point.  They can be made thinner or thicker, though, depending on your preference.  Call (866)537-2244 to request samples.


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