Introduction: DIY Pocket Protector

Picture of DIY Pocket Protector

Maybe I've spent too much time at Instructables World Headquarters, but I woke up this morning with a sudden urge to make myself a pocket protector.

Upon seeing how cool my pocket protector was, everyone else at Instructables requested that I make some for them.

In short, making your own pocket protector will turn you into a very popular person.

Disclaimer: Melting vinyl or plastic may be toxic and should be done in a well-ventilated area. Do this at your own risk.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need...

- a 3-ring binder with a vinyl cover (as pictured)
- or a vinyl term paper cover

- a plastic bag sealer
- or a soldering iron and some wax paper

- a laser cutter
- or ink jet printer

Step 2: Start Cutting Up the Binder

Picture of Start Cutting Up the Binder

Cut off one side of the binder along the fold.

Trim excess plastic around the sealed edges.

Step 3: Remove the Cardboard

Picture of Remove the Cardboard

Cut off the edge on the side where the joint was.

Pull the cardboard out through this opening.

(Don't do like I've done in the picture. See picture comments for more info.)

Step 4: Cut the Vinyl Some More

Picture of Cut the Vinyl Some More

Measure 3-3/4" in across the length of the long-edge of the cover (the edge that is still sealed shut).

At this measurement, cut across the vinyl so that you produce a folded-over strip that is 3-3/4" wide and about 10" long.

Cut 3" off the strip so that it is 7" long (folded in half), but do not remove the side where the edge is still sealed.

Next, cut away the sealing joint that runs lengthwise down the strip.

You should now be left with a folded strip that is 7" long, a little under 3-3/4" wide and is folded over at the bottom of the shorter side.

Step 5: Fold.

Picture of Fold.

Pick one side, measure 2-1/4" from the top and evenly fold it over to make a crease.

Once you are sure the fold is correct, run your thumb back and forth over this crease a couple of times while applying a strong pressure.

Step 6: Seal

Picture of Seal

Fold back the flap that you just made and turn on your heat-sealer.

Place the edge of your protector on the heat sealer so that the edge of the heat sealer lines up to the crease that you just made (see pictures).

Seal for three seconds (or as necessary. I recommend doing test seals.)

If you are using a soldering iron, sandwich the protector between the waxy side of two sheets of wax paper. Trace the edge of the protector from the crease that you folded to the bottom crease using the soldering iron. This may take some testing before you get it right.

Step 7: Some Final Modifications

Picture of Some Final Modifications

Finish it up by trimming about an inch off the back side of the pocket protector (the side that you didn't fold or seal).

Carefully and slowly round of the corners of the top side and the front flap with a pair of scissors.

Trim any excess material that may be sticking out from the side of the case.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

Lastly, customize.

I decorated mine with a Epilog laser cutter (settings: Raster cut. Speed = 100%. Power = 30%).

You can also try running it through an ink jet printer. However, you might have had better luck printing on the pocket protector material from the onset (before you did any folding, sealing or cutting).


RebeccaJ13 (author)2015-11-19

I was super excited about this project but using a soldering iron makes the edges all black and charred :( Oh well.

kmeindl mason (author)2015-01-29

These instructions are the WORST!!! Holy Cow!!!!

trebuchet03 (author)2007-06-05

I'm totally gonna pimp out my pocket protector.... At least some sort of blinky light :D

Punkguyta (author)trebuchet032007-08-09

how bout a tiny lcd and a embedded xp machine :P

darman12 (author)Punkguyta2013-08-12

Raspberry Pi is where it's at nowadays ;)

darman12 (author)darman122013-08-12

6 yrs after the comment, haha.

zachninme (author)Punkguyta2007-08-25

No! Embedded linux! XP doesn't work so great on embedded platforms... and I think it no longer makes it "embedded", as it can then do anything...

BobsDogHouse (author)2007-06-06

Aww... you didn't make it out of duct tape?

randofo (author)BobsDogHouse2007-06-06

Duct tape is soooo over. Besides, gaffers tape is better for making stuff out of.

darman12 (author)randofo2013-08-12


ElvenChild (author)randofo2010-12-28

huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? How dare you say that about duct tape oh wait that means more for me. My precious

Jessie Marie (author)2013-01-02

This is awesome.

bruce.cao (author)2009-01-12

hahaha I love this, thanks randofo!! I got me thinkin of making just a faux pocket protector and wear it as an ID Badge holder (around the neck style like my company likes) I'm sure I can find a way to get a clear side in the front somehow (clear vinyl binder + iron to melt it all into 1 piece?? idk) we'll have to see but thanks for the great idea!!

randofo (author)bruce.cao2009-01-13

Just be careful when ironing it, heating vinyl can produce chlorine gas which can be lethal.

zieak (author)2008-12-12

Oh how i wish i had seen this before the "nerd rodeo" party i went to a few months back. Sigh. I had all the accessories except a pocket protector. If you think about it a nerd rodeo is about the best themed party that anyone ever thought of. I knew you'd agree.

randofo (author)zieak2008-12-13

Nerd rodeo. That sounds pretty awesome. I wish I got invited to nerd rodeos. Was there a mechanical bull?

zieak (author)randofo2008-12-13

Sadly, no. But they had a corn-on-the-cob eating contest.

Supercoke (author)2008-12-10

how do you use it in the printer?

randofo (author)Supercoke2008-12-10

I would guess to print on it, you can cut it to an 8.5" x 11" sheet (the size of normal paper) and then play with your printer material settings and just try to send it through and see what happens.

ninja slacker (author)2007-07-09

pocket protectors are super hypo nerd.why would you not want one

randofo (author)ninja slacker2007-07-09

because they're awesome.

shammallamaman (author)randofo2008-07-05

he said why would you NOT want one, so he was complimenting it, not insulting the project

johnpojman (author)2007-11-09

Great to see someone who values pocket protectors -- "the fasion accessory of the new millenium".
Check out the world's largest webseum of pocket protectors

adamthiede (author)2007-07-03

pocket protectors are super hypo nerdo. whyd you want one?

adamthiede (author)2007-07-03

pocket protectors are hypo-nerdo. why would you want one?

Austinbwood (author)2007-06-23

Yeah.....Go gaffiers tape!!! Sweet Pocket proctector too!

canida (author)2007-06-05

When do we get our pocket protectors?
I can't wait- it will make me look totally cool.

randofo (author)canida2007-06-05

Very shortly... In a whole rainbow of colors!

T3h_Muffinator (author)randofo2007-06-06

Can I get one when I come over?!

randofo (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-06-06

I'll be long gone by then. Send me your middle initial and I'll work something out for you when I make everyone elses.

T3h_Muffinator (author)randofo2007-06-06

Awesome! It's "M", for Michael... actually, no, it stands for Muffin!

canida (author)randofo2007-06-06

Awesome. Now I just need a slide rule holster to be the ultimate in retro nerdiness.

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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