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How to Make a Leather Binder Cover

Updated November 21, 2016

Leather gives almost anything a rustic, old-world elegance, even three-ring binders. Whether you want to give your resume a boost or create a personalised diary, leather will definitely give your binder some personality. This project is so simple that older children can do it with some limited adult supervision. Teenagers can cover their school binders in leather, or you can give your scrapbooks and photo albums a face lift.

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  1. Unroll your leather so the soft, fuzzy side faces up and the shinier side lays against your work surface. Open your binder and lay it down on the leather. Lay a ruler up against the top edge of the binder. Use a permanent marker to draw a line along the edge of the ruler. Repeat on the bottom, creating a one inch leather border above and below your binder.

  2. Measure six inches away from either side of your binder and mark the spot with a dot. Draw a vertical line that connects through each dot. Extend the lines on the top and bottom of your binder so they meet the ends of the vertical lines.

  3. Remove the binder from the leather, and cut the leather along your lines so you have a leather rectangle.

  4. Paint the spine of your binder with an even layer of rubber cement. Press it down against the centre of your leather rectangle. Close the binder to the left, bringing the corresponding leather flap with it.

  5. Lift the leather flap and paint the left front flap of your binder with rubber cement. Smooth the leather down against the binder with the palms of your hands. Flip the binder over and glue the right flap down, as well.

  6. Allow glue to dry completely overnight.

  7. Open your binder and fold the excess leather on either side inward. Close the binder, allowing the leather to move so the binder can close. Hold the leather in place with your thumbs and open the binder again. Glue the folded flaps to the inside of the binder with rubber cement.

  8. Thread your leather needle with your thick cotton thread. Stitch along the top and bottom of the binder, close to the edge of the binder itself. This gives the binder embellishment and secures the folded flaps.

  9. Tip

    Use acrylic paint or leather tooling metal stamps to decorate the outside of the binder. Make a decorative closure by cutting a thin leather strip. Glue the centre of the strip across the centre of the binder's spine. Tie the ends of the strip together on the front of the binder.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1/16 inch thick leather
  • 3-ring binder
  • Ruler
  • Permanent marker
  • Sharp scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Leather needle
  • #12 weight cotton thread, any colour

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