Coloring Book Organizer

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Intro: Coloring Book Organizer

For some, cleaning is an art. For others, sometimes you have to clean up your art. When you have children or grandchildren around, you know their coloring supplies can get thrown all around the house; crayons rubbed into the carpet doesn't exactly create a spotless mind or life! I designed this coloring book organizer with a pop-up marker/crayon/pencil holder to get them excited about keeping their art in a space of their own!

And let's be honest... I wanted to keep one for myself to hold all my colored pencils and adult coloring books because... coloring is therapy.

Step 1: Materials

Materials:

  • 4 separate fabrics (I used a Riley Blake cherry collection)
  • Cotton batting (not lofty polyester)
  • Backing (you wont see this too much, so feel free to use a scrap matching fabric
  • 1" Binder
  • Thin cardboard (a recycled Zesta crackers box worked perfectly!)
  • Basting spray
  • Friction pen or chalk
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter and ruler
  • Elastic
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine

Dimensions:

  • 4 fabrics: (2) 2.5" x Width of Fabric (WOF ~44"), then cut each strip into 14" sections. You will end up with (24) 2.5" x 14" strips
  • Backing: 14" x 44"
  • Batting: 14" x 44"
  • Pocket: 10" x 12"
  • Marker pocket: 9.5" x 19"
  • Binding: (3)2" x WOF
  • Cardboard: 9" x 8", the 8" length should be folded in half to create the pop-up marker carrier. The pre-bent corner on a food box was so easy to use.

Step 2: Binder Cover

To make the striped binder cover organizer, we are using a "quilt as you go" method, which will make the cover sturdy, taut, and just plain adorable.

Start by laying your batting down, spray basting the wrong side (WS) of the large backing (white) fabric, laying it on top of the batting, and smoothing it out. Flip the piece over. Take one of your 2.5" strips (green) and lay right side up on the edge of the batting side of the spray basted piece. Then, take another 2.5" strip (blue) and lay it face down on top of the first strip. Stitch 1/4" seam on the fabric edge closest to the center of the basted piece. You might need to roll up the whole piece to fit it under the arm of the machine. Then, press the 2nd piece (blue) open. Continue this process by laying another (yellow) 2.5" strip right side down onto the 2nd right side up (blue) strip, sewing 1/4" seam, and pressing open. Continue for the rest of the 14" x 44" fabric. You will likely have 2 14" strips left over.

Square up your piece by trimming off the least amount of fabric possible on one long side and then cut down the width of your quilted piece to 12.5". Square up the short edges as well. We are using the leftover ~1.5" for the handles.

Step 3: Add Handles

If you didn't end up with enough quilted striped fabric leftover to make your handles, you can make your handles with a 4" x 14" piece of fabric and a 1.5" strip of batting by folding the strip in half, long ways, right sides together and sewing down all sides - leaving an opening to turn inside out. Turn the handle inside out and sew an 1/8" topstitch around the entire piece. This is the process used on the blue striped binder.

However, for the cherry binder, I loved the fabrics so much and didn't want to waste it, so I bound the tiny strips! The outcome was just darling. To do this, cut two (2) 14" sections from the ~1.5" leftover strip. Lay your quilted 14" strip right side up. Take a 2" binding strip and fold in half long ways. Press. Place this strip on top of the quilted strip, raw edges to raw edges. Sew a 1/4" seam, joining the two together. Flip the handle over and press, covering the raw edges. Top stitch the bind into place.

Next, we are adding the handles to the binder cover. First, on each end of the quilted cover, fold the first strip over so now it is underneath the organizer. Clip into place and sew a 1/4" seam down this new edge of the organizer. Next, lay the handles down 3.5" from the sides, facing in, as pictured - one handle is 5 strips in and one handle is 6 strips in. Sew a 1/4" seam joining the handles to the binder. Flip the handles outwards and sew another 1/4" seam. Make sure to reinforce your stitches.

Step 4: Pocket

To create the pocket, take the 10" x 12" fabric, place it right sides together (hamburger style), and sew a 1/4" seam all the way around, leaving a 2" opening gap in the middle of an edge (not on a corner). Clip the corners and turn inside out. Top stitch an 1/8" seam across the top of the pocket (the fold) only. Place the pocket on the side with 6 strips, 1.5" up from the bottom as pictured, and as close to the right edge as possible. Top stitch an 1/8" seam around the sides and bottom of the pocket.

Step 5: Pop-Up Marker Holder

To create this super handy pop-up marker holder, fold your 9.5" x 19" fabric in half, hamburger style. Sew 1/4" on the left and right sides, leaving the raw edges at the top open. Trim the two bottom corners. Flip inside out and fit the cardboard into the sleeve you've just made. If the cardboard is too wide, trim it down until it fits. Top stitch an 1/8" around the sleeve. You shouldn't need a special needle to sew into thin cardboard, however, if you're having trouble, switch to a jeans needle.

Now we are ready to start the actual marker/crayon/colored pencil holders. Decide which medium (crayon/pencil/etc) you want in the holder and use one as your guide. First, draw a line 2" from the bottom of the holder. This will guide your elastic. Place your elastic down on the right side of the pocket and secure with stitching. Place your marker to the left of the stitches, mark where the elastic will snugly hit the fabric, remove the marker, and sew alone that line. Continue until desired. You could also add a wider gap for scissors or other tools.

Step 6: Put It All Together

Now all you have left is to lay out your pieces and bind! Lay the organizer inside up as pictured. Pocket #1 will be on the left, with 5 strips visible, and the coloring book slot, with 4 strips visible, is on the right. Place the raw edges of your pop-up marker holder centered on the top of the left side. Take your 2" bind, press it in half, and place raw edges to the top of the binder cover. Cut the end of the strip off 1/4" longer than the organizer length and tuck in raw edges as pictured. Clip into place and sew 1/4" seam to secure. Press the bind open towards top of the organizer, flip it over, and press the bind down over raw edges. Top stitch to secure. Repeat on opposite side.

Step 7: Fill With Goodies!

Your 1" binder should fit perfectly in this organizer, and it's so customizable. You can add extra pencils in the pocket, or it fits a 9x6 construction paper pad from Dollar General perfectly. I gave these to my grandchildren and they loved them; they were so excited to have a coloring book organizer all to themselves that they could fill with all their crafting goodies!

And the cherry on top? It makes all of our lives just a tad closer to spotless.

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