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Any ideas for making--sewing?--a BINDER or NOTEBOOK COVER for a middle school student?

I'm hoping you or someone can direct me to any instructables related to the idea of making--sewing, I assume, but maybe not--a binder for a middle school student. My kid likes the $20 (or so) binders/organizers that have a zippered cover, but they don't last; he's on his third this year. A more durable, home-made cover that slipped over a cheap, normal binder might do the trick. What those covers do--in theory--is (a) protect the binder, (b) they can be zipped closed and so seal the contents. I hate to be fussy, but my kid is, so it would be nice if the cover looked 'cool' (remember middle school?). An obvious home-made 'look' might be a deal-breaker. The store-bought versions have lots of bells and whistles: special pockets for this or that, but there are pencil-pouch thingies (that attach via the binder's rings) that come with the fancy store-bought versions, and they survive when the rest of the binder is destroyed--or can be bought separately. One of them might satisfy the need for cool pockets and misc. item storage. If it helps anyone thinking about this, I've replaced the actual 3-ring component of such binders by drilling out the rivets holding the 3-ring clasp thingy from a cheap binder then attached it with screws to a not-yet-destroyed organizer (only the rings of the latter were destroyed at that point), so if someone had ideas for a stronger material for the binder--instead of using a standard, off-the-shelf binder with cardboard inside a vinyl/plastic cover, attaching the rings would be very doable. As far as material for the cover, would it work to use one of those re-useable totebags they sell at grocery stores? I was thinking heavy canvas would be the way to go, but that might be hard to work with. If it was for me, I'd use an old pair of blue jeans, but that might not cut it in terms of the 'coolness' factor. I am planning on getting a sewing machine--but would/could borrow one now relatively easily--and have enough experience with such to 'get by': on a good day, if I'm careful, I can sew a sort-of straight line. I've put grommets in various items--maybe some way of lacing-up the cover or pulling it closed with a cinch-strap/string would be a better way to 'close' it? Seems like a zipper could be hard to attach/might be a weak spot. Thanks for any thoughts.

The seat and front of an old pair of jeans would make a pretty nice cover, and you could possibly find ways to incorporate the jeans pockets in your design. Let the kid decorate it with fabric paint if they want to jazz it up. I've seen heavy zippers at the sewing needs stores with plenty wide enough fabric to handle this job. The best material for the binder would be a particleboard. Check with your local hardware store to see what they have. You may have to buy a 4' x 8' sheet.
schneb (author)  DELETED_GuardianFox5 years ago
I'm likin' the jeans idea--too many of mine wear out at some inconvenient spot (can't be patched easily by me). It'd be nice to have another use for them.

I actually just dissected the last notebook my guy went through--interesting to see that the materials are relatively simple--stuff I could buy, except the 3 ring part itself and the extra-hvy. duty cardboard.

But we've got three ring thingies from other binders.

So with the particle-board, we'd be all set.

Then again, looking at the 'related' items, I'm seeing a 'Duct tape Book Cover!' and thinking, that's just the kind of thing my guy would buy into--if he could cut the duct tape to make designs, using different colors, etc.

Well.

One way or another then.

By the way, here's a link someone else gave that also looked good:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22325193

Perhaps combine the jeans thing and the duct tape thing? Just a thought. Duct tape peels, so I suggest letting him apply it to a fabric and running a stitch along the edges of each exposed strip. Then use the fabric+duct tape "quilt" to make the cover. When I said particle board, I specifically meant the type you see used in wooden clipboards, however other types should work too. Ask for 1/8" or 3/16" thickness and see what you get. Best of luck!
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