Introduction: Upcycle a Plastic School Binder (Mother's Day Edition).

About: I'm a creative nobody who needs a job at a sweatshop.

Binders. We all have 'em. Kids always need to buy one every year, even though they have the one from last year... that they never used. Some have no idea what to do with a million binders, so they throw them away. Solution: R-E-C-Y-C-L-E and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

 My mother's a strange one, Mr. Grinch. It's always a bit difficult to buy a gift for her. 
I imagine there are little old Mexican women who are just as difficult. I share your pain. 

In this instructable we will combine the ease of making a gift with the personality of your mother, mother figure, etc.
The details are based on my gift to my mom, a cookbook. 

(This is also a great way to tribute any special person who has passed.)

Step 1: Materials.

-college ruled paper
-transparent binder pockets
-writing utensils
-adhesive of some sort
-any decorating material

Step 2: Mend.

If you are working with a binder that is a little old, you might want to mend the creases, edges, etc. I'd pick Duct Tape that is similar to the color of the binder. Don't forget to tape the inside as well. Be creative. :)

If you are planning on covering the binder with fabric, don't mind the color. 

Step 3: Choosing an Idea.

This is probably going to be the part of the project that will consume half of the expected time. 

Everyone's going to have a different result with this part of the project. The easiest way to figure out the reuse of your binder is to find out what your mother, mother figure, etc. would be glad to have. 

Basic ideas: 
-Memory book filled with loose pictures. This idea would be great in some type of chronology, in essence, pictures depicting a timeline. Start with present time photos until you get to the tearjerkers, the baby pictures, or the other way around. 

-Recipe book (the idea I'm using in this project)  with special foods only the family knows. These can be hand written on lined paper or typed. Add photos or drawings of the food. Use proper cooking grammar. Tsp and tbsp are going to make a difference in the taste. 

-Scrapbook is the most versatile. One may feature concert tickets, photos, and/or a combination of the two ideas earlier. 

Once you've found what is the most appealing and what will provide the most opportunity, start thinking of how you'd like to execute it.

Step 4: Fill and Organize.

Once you've chosen a theme, start collecting photos and such for inspiration.
For the cookbook I decided to take the stubs and write the recipes in fairly large print for legibility. 
This can also be typed with pictures provided by the internet.
I thought it would be important to include a picture in the recipe, just in case. 

Create a cover piece with your fabric or choice of material. 

Photo 2: Recipes stored in a transparency pocket for the binder. 

Photo 3: Organize with labels, clear and legible. and creatively. 

Step 5: Packaging (optional).

Now is the time to wrap, box that project.
I personally like the instructable in the link for easy upcycling of old gift bags. :)

I used some brown craft paper for wrapping. 

Step 6: Fin.

You have upcycled your binder and have put it to good use!

This should be the time to write anything on the wrapping paper.
I used punch outs from the Scrap Pack by Colorbok in the photo.
There are great instructables out there specific to creative decorating, wrapping paper tricks and such.
I hope you had fun!


The hard part is going to be waiting for my mom to open this gift!