Introduction: Wooden Binder

Picture of Wooden Binder

Binders always seem to be extremely flimsy and not aesthetically pleasing. Two years ago I set out to change that. This binder design has been thoroughly tested and has held up to the beating of school. I only replaced the binder because of how dirty it had gotten of the course of these years.

Have fun making and using!

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

One sheet of 12x24 birch plywood that is around 1/8th of an inch thick; I used Revell RMXR7681
Two 12 inch long hinges. These can be found at most hardware stores
One two inch binder that you are willing to take apart/destroy
Enough machine screws with matching nuts to fit into every hole in the two hinges. I had 24 holes so I bought 30 screws

Not shown:
Two long screws with nuts to attach the binder release mechanism to the wood
(optional) Furniture Finish or oil

A drill with High Speed Steel (Gold in color) bits to fit the two types of screws
Loctite or other  Thread Locker
A ruler
A saw, I used a table saw
Somthing to write with
And finally a grinder or sandpaper

Step 2: Cut the Wood

Picture of Cut the Wood

Cut the wood into three pieces with the following dimensions.

Two pieces of 12x11 

One piece of 12x2 (hence the two inch binder)

Step 3: Drill Out the Binder Release Mechanism

Picture of Drill Out the Binder Release Mechanism

The binder release mechanism is held on with two rivets that can be drilled out very slightly to release the mechanism. These rivets hold a spacer between the mechanism and binder, DON'T LOSE THE SPACERS.

Step 4: Drill Holes for the Hinges

Picture of Drill Holes for the Hinges

Place the hinge on top of the boards as you wish it to look if the binder was open. then use a pen to mark where the holes for the hinges should be aligned.

Then drill the holes!

At this point I realized that a 12 inch hinge is not 12 inches long so I marked it to be as tall as the binder and used a grinder (or sandpaper) to make the hinge flush with the boards.

Step 5: Align the Mechanism With the Binder Partially Assembled

Picture of Align the Mechanism With the Binder Partially Assembled

Put four screws into the hinges to temporarily assemble the binder. Place the mechanism with the spacers underneath it to set alignment. When the binder closes, it should not touch the wood. Then use a long marking tool (mechanical pencil graphite in my case) to mark where the holes should be drilled. Now drill it!

An optional step you can take now is to coat the wood with some furniture finish or oil.

Step 6: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Assemble all of the pieces together remembering to put in the spacers for the mechanism. Before you tighten the screws and add thread locker, move the hinges so that they bend easily without being warped by being tightened down. After it is aligned then you can add the final twist of tightening and some thread locker.

Step 7: Use It

Picture of Use It

The final step is to try out your new aesthetically pleasing robust binder.

If you built a binder, liked this instructable or would like me to put in a change, just put it in the comments below. 

Also if you think I deserve my first instructabe (this one) to be entered in a contest I would greatly appreciate it if you would vote for it!

Happy Building,



brittney15 (author)2018-01-12

this was a good idea bc my tech teacher said we could built something and i picked this

jlehm005 made it! (author)2017-02-01

I actually found this on another site under Bulletproof Binder and altered from there as I wanted wood also. Plan is pretty much the same though. I used Dangerous Threads Scrapbook Binding Screws - Screw Post
Extenders Nickel Plated ordered off of Amazon instead.

Countrychick-KZIE (author)2015-07-18

Cool but I'd cut the ends off the screws

hcairns (author)2014-08-04

Countersinking the screws worked for me!

supreme creator (author)2013-09-21

awesome idea

supreme creator (author)2013-09-21

awesome idea

travisyard (author)2013-08-29

Thanks! Take my favorite! ;)

fuzzylumpkin1 (author)2013-08-22

Lol I need this binder for school! Most kids need to replace at least 2 binders during the school year. I would know that because I'm going into eighth grade this year.

DustySeven7 (author)2013-08-21

An idea, rivets instead of bolts. They are lower profile and would in theory look a bit better

TREX ZoaR0K (author)DustySeven72013-08-22

i was going to do rivets to hold the binder rings together just haven't gotten to it yet

spark master (author)2013-08-21

find someone tossing out a leather couch that good sized pieces are let, cut them off. lay out pieces over the leather to be sure you have enough schmear rubber cement over all the suede side of the leather and one side of the panels when glue is set put on your panels, press on flip over roll out any air bubbles. for the inside use a piece of tyveck material (unrippable envelopes used for overnight mail). trim the edges, then attach the ring binder bar.

I am getting old so I can't remember exactly how, but spraying the cured rubber surface with distilled water before placement allows you to slip parts into place then press home, (non removable).

that is how I was shown to make parts of a wallet line up before lacing.We glued in linings/pocket parts pressed home , then stitched/laced.

Someone please remind me how it is done, I learned it at Tandy Leather.


parmsco (author)spark master2013-08-21

This is a fascinating idea for creating a leather binder with a built in hinge. If you make one post it in the comments or make your own Instructable about it!

Marrock (author)2013-08-20

This is three-ring binder I carried all through high school... and yeah, that is ⅛" stainless steel diamond deck.

parmsco (author)Marrock2013-08-21

Where did you find the steel? In my searching I only found aluminum Diamond Plate.

chuckyd (author)2013-08-20

Very nice work. I was wondering about two alternatives.

1) Use sex bolts, instead of machine bolts. Sex bolts are similar to machine bolts, except that the nuts resemble the screw head, but without slots. You will often see such bolts in toilet partition assemblies. The sex bolts do not extend as far from the surface, and the screw heads can be placed on the inside.

2) Use a little sandpaper to round over the edges and corners. Not a lot is needed, just enough to prevent splintering.

parmsco (author)chuckyd2013-08-21

I looked into many fasteners and decided that nuts and machine screws were the easiest items to find for others that were building the project. Sanding is a good idea if you do not pick up the same wood as I did. (my plywood seems to not splinter)

JefferyS (author)2013-08-20

Using plexiglass or something like that would be cool too. Could tape a picture of something on the inside cover.

Great Idea!

parmsco (author)JefferyS2013-08-21

I looked into a clear material for the binder. Every one that I had easy access to was not shatterproof so that idea was dropped. If you find a way to make a strong clear binder, I would love to see it! I am always looking for new ideas!

garagegraphics (author)2013-08-20

This is a great little project.

TREX ZoaR0K (author)2013-08-17

Here it is used Chicago screws as suggested in earlier comments

parmsco (author)TREX ZoaR0K2013-08-20

The quarter inch wood will make the binder much stronger than my design. I hope you enjoy using it!

TREX ZoaR0K (author)TREX ZoaR0K2013-08-18

and used 1/4 of a inch wood and didn't buy enough Chicago screws to put in all the holes so i didn`t drill all the holes and right now the hinge is a little harder to open than i would like but its fine

Mindmapper1 (author)2013-08-19

mmm I can see why you might have decided this was a good idea but dont you keep catching the screws on yourself and on your papers? I also think this would make your bag wear out much quicker. Pop or tubular rivets would have been a better solution to secure the hindge strips and the binder mechanism. I think also rounding the corners would have been a good idea too.

parmsco (author)Mindmapper12013-08-20

When I purchased the screws for this project, I chose ones that had a top without sharp edges. As far as wear goes, the only wear I have found is from objects pushing my backpack into the binder which pinches the fabric possibly damaging it.

neo71665 (author)2013-08-15

I'd suggest looking into Chicago screws over open nuts and machine screws.

parmsco (author)neo716652013-08-15

I did not think of using Chicago Screws. Thanks for the idea! I will see if my local hardware store has some in stock tomorrow.

TREX ZoaR0K (author)parmsco2013-08-18

i actually like the look of the open nut and machine screws over mine that has chicago screws but mine is more practical

TREX ZoaR0K (author)2013-08-17

Going to make today I will post some pictures when done

billbillt (author)2013-08-17


phish814 (author)2013-08-17

I hope that's not a binder full of women.

bosnstokes (author)2013-08-16

You should try using rivets that way the nuts will not come loose and get lost

blawson3 (author)2013-08-16

Had the idea for a photo album like this, just haven't had the time to design it! This design is better that what I would have come up with!

parmsco (author)blawson32013-08-16

If you make your photo album in a similar way to my binder, post some photos in the comments. I would love to see how it turned out.

M3G (author)2013-08-16

Fantastic! Hope to see more instructables from you soon.

parmsco (author)M3G2013-08-16

Thanks! I hope to be posting another one soon,

whycantmynamework (author)2013-08-15

Great idea . Just in time for back to school .

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