How to Fortify and Beautify Your Binder

by Sara Walker

Cheap binder + duct tape = durable + pretty/cool


  • 1 Cheap binder
  • Duct tape in any colors you want
  • 1 Pair of Scissors
  • 1 Black or silver sharpie
  • 1 Ruler
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Sharpie not pictured.

    Step 2

    Here's my cheap binder from Walmart with stuff in to show the pockets

    Step 3

    I'm putting white duck tape on the binding so I can make it stronger and use the tape as a label.

    Step 4

    Cut it to the length of the binder and stick. Try to center the tape somewhat. Cover the "posts".

    Step 5

    Starting from the middle, fold down the edges of the tape so there is no air, the tape has no wrinkles and sticks to the binder.

    Step 6

    Here is my other side. Centering the tape will help cover and protect the binding and the binder and prevent "holes" in the duct tape cover.

    Step 7

    Check to make sure you are starting with the back of the binder, and...

    Step 8

    Put a binder-length strip of one of the tapes you want with the adjacent edge on the little "dip" under the white, overlapping.

    Step 9

    It's OK if your edge is pulled or icky, it will be finished later.

    Step 10

    You can try to measure, cut, and apply...

    Step 11

    ...but I found it was easier to just cut it after it was stuck down.

    Step 12

    It only occurred to me to measure the overlap to make even stripes after I did the 2nd strip. Then I put a bit more thought in and since unevenness bugs me, I made a plan... Measure your binder.

    Step 13

    Measure your duct tape.

    Step 14

    Then find out how many stripes of tape will fit on your binder (round down). Subtract 1/4" x # in-between stripes you will have, and compare to the total length of your binder.

    Step 15

    If this # is almost or more than 1 inch, either add a whole strip -1/4", or substitute another multiple-of-8 fraction-of-an-inch for 1/4". Try to keep as close to the full binder length as possible.

    Step 16

    My tape is 2" and my binder is 10" so I will have 5 stripes and will use the 1/4" measurements. Don't worry, I'll cover the ends.

    Step 17

    Next measure the fraction you used from the bottom of the tape...

    Step 18

    ...and mark it on both sides. Use a contrasting sharpie or marker.

    Step 19

    Then add the next stripe of tape, barely covering the marks.

    Step 20

    Of course, if you want to have uneven stripes for a crazy effect (or you want to be quick or don't mind unevenness), just go ahead and stick the tape down at shallow angles, making sure they overlap.

    Step 21

    Your tape may be sticking up once you cut it. Smooth and stick it down with your fingers from the middle out.

    Step 22

    Like this.

    Step 23

    Continue in this way until your entire panel is covered. The last bit of tape will hang over.

    Step 24

    Stick it down like you did the ends of the tape on the sides, using your fingers and from the middle out. It is ok if it wraps to the other side a little bit.

    Step 25

    When you get to a pocket, cut or tear it to allow for full pocket expansion.

    Step 26

    Stick down the corners too.

    Step 27


    Step 28

    It should now look like this. The binding and back panel are covered.

    Step 29

    Add the first strip of tape as you did on the other side. Mark a line, wider than the tape, how far down you want the label to go.

    Step 30

    Make the line about how long you want the label, parallel to the top edge.

    Step 31

    Unstick white tape from the roll and place 1/2 to 1 inch sticky side up as parallel to the marking/top edge as you can.

    Step 32

    DO NOT CUT (or at least make sure it's longer than the desired length of the label). I do not recommend cutting it.

    Step 33

    Then place the next strip, overlapping the white tape and the stripe, using the same distance as before.

    Step 34

    Continue adding stripes in the same fashion...

    Step 35

    Until your marking is covered (or almost covered) and you've decided this is how long you want your label.

    Step 36

    Bring your roll of tape down and, pressing the edge as flat as possible, stick the edge of it so it is flush with the edge of the tape that overlapped it. Only stick it a little bit.

    Step 37

    Measure how far it is to the top of the tape from the top of the binder.

    Step 38

    And mark it on your last strip with the sharpie.

    Step 39

    Line your tape up with the mark, and carefully start sticking it down. It should be parallel to the top edge.

    Step 40

    Cut, making sure the end is past the overlap point.

    Step 41

    Mark the overlap...

    Step 42

    ...add the last piece of tape...

    Step 43


    Step 44

    ...fold it down.

    Step 45

    You now have your label!

    Step 46

    This is how it should look from the outside.

    Step 47

    Now we'll want to cover those overflowing bits.

    Step 48

    Now decide if you want the top and bottom or the sides to be the uppermost layer. I chose the top and bottom.

    Step 49

    Slide a bit of tape under the end of the ring mechanism.

    Step 50

    Measure how far to the top/bottom edge.

    Step 51

    This should be the distance to the "post". Make sure it will cover up to your label.

    Step 52

    Take your duct tape....

    Step 53

    And mark the measurement. Make sure the duct tape will cover the untaped spots and enough of the inside for you to be happy with. Mine happens to be half the duct tape.

    Step 54

    Measure from the top/bottom edge.

    Step 55

    Mark on the side of the binder.

    Step 56

    Now on the sides, use the same measurement to check no gaps will still be there when covered.

    Step 57

    Mine is more than covered. Mark the measurement from the edge on both sides (not shown).

    Step 58

    Place the tape just over the markings on both ends.

    Step 59

    Flip over.

    Step 60

    Cut a slit where the pocket is.

    Step 61

    And press the tape down, making sure not to tape the pocket closed.

    Step 62

    Do both ends.

    Step 63

    Mark and measure both ends of the panels on the side you are working on. (Oops, I hadn't done the side yet...)

    Step 64

    Do this on the inside too. (Once the sides are done)

    Step 65

    As well as halfway on the inside.

    Step 66

    And on the outside. (If you did like me and marked for no reason...)

    Step 67

    Mark halfway on the outside too.

    Step 68

    The post bump marks the binding for me.

    Step 69

    Lay you binder as flat as you can.

    Step 70

    Start the tape on one edge, leaving extra tape, and follow the markings. Fold the binder a little when you come to the binding together it in the crevices.

    Step 71

    Continue to follow the markings to the end and leave some extra tape.

    Step 72

    This is how it should look now.

    Step 73

    Cut slits at folds to make it easier to fold over.

    Step 74

    Fold the binding part down as far towards the post as you can. Press down.

    Step 75

    Cut a slit in the overlap.

    Step 76

    Fold back a little...

    Step 77

    Press down the inside while keeping the fold up, and press the inside flap down INTO or UNDER the fold.

    Step 78

    Now press the fold down.

    Step 79

    And the flap to the inside, where it is now protected from extra wear and potential ungluing.

    Step 80

    Do this to the other side. (Outside view)

    Step 81

    If it will make a sloppy corner, cut off a bit from the top.

    Step 82

    Fold it over and the excess into its own little flap.

    Step 83

    Hold down while folding over the top flap.

    Step 84


    Step 85

    All done!

    Step 86

    Laying down.

    Step 87

    This hole punch may wear out the bak of the binder, so...

    Step 88

    I payed down tape furthest first for correct layering and durability.

    Step 89

    And cut it open to use the pocket.

    Step 90

    ALL Done! YAAAAAAY!!!!