sarabinder™ Techniques

Choosing a size
Which size to choose? Try these guidelines:

Square: Perfect for holding music CDs, digital photo CDs or a CD from a wedding or recital. Measures 6”x7” so it can also be used as a notebook or sketchbook.

Tall: A super-versatile size, this is ideal for an address book, calendar, sketchbook or organizer. At 5”x7 1/2”, you have plenty of room to take notes and make plans. This size also fits inserts by FranklinCovey.

Covering the cover with ink or paint
When decorating your binder, you can either leave the brown kraft cover plain—or you can paint, ink or walnut ink the binder. I generally paint or ink the back cover, spine and around the outside edges (about 1” in from all sides) on the front cover, as well as the inside front and back covers. And don’t forget to finish the edges! Then I decorate my front cover with paper.

Direct to paper inking: Apply ink from your rubber stamp inkpad directly onto the book. Start with a light touch, then add more as you like. Tilt your inkpad to use the corners and edges of it to get in the nooks and crannies around the spine.

Painting: The kraft binders accept acrylic paint easily without warping. Black and a white or cream are two great basic colors—or you might want to choose something bright to match your papers and embellishments. It’s as easy as brushing on paint with a foam brush or dabbing it on with a sponge.

You can also create a weathered look by painting your binder white or ivory, then dry brushing another color on top—or paint the binder white or ivory, then ink the edges with black.

Walnut inking: Get the look of brown leather by heavily spraying the cover with walnut ink, then blotting with a paper towel. Or paint your binder with a light color, then lightly spray with walnut ink for a natural vintage look.


Covering with paper

After painting or inking, I use paper to decorate the front cover. You can either cover the entire front with paper all the way to the edges, or you can cut a piece of paper slightly smaller than the cover. Either way, only cover the front cover with paper and don’t wrap the paper around the spine—it will warp as soon as the book is opened!

For a totally covered cover: Apply adhesive around all four sides of the binder cover. Place your paper on the cover, lining up the edge of the spine with the edge of the paper. Turn over and use an X-acto® knife to cut around the binder.

For a bordered cover: Cut a piece of paper slightly smaller than the cover of the book. For a 5”x7 1/2” Tall binder, I cut a 4 3/4”x 7 1/8” piece of paper. You can either leave the corners of the paper square or round them with a corner rounder punch. You can crumple it, tear it or simply glue to the front cover—your painted or inked edge will act as a border.


Paper choices

Any paper will work on a sarabinder, but here are a few tips for helping you pick just the right one!

8”x8” papers, sarabooks™ papers and Cardmaker’s Creative Packs are all a great size—and they each come in a pack with coordinating papers and embellishments for fast and easy decorating.

Papers printed with a decorative border are great for decorating the binder—they lend an instantly “finished” look.

One sheet of 12x12" paper can cover both the front and back of both the tall and small binders.

Choosing embellishments
When choosing embellishments, consider how the binder is going to be used. For an organizer that you’ll carry in a purse or backpack, consider using sturdy metal embellishments—nothing that can snag or easily pull off.

You can go all out on those keepsake books and other binders that stay in one place (by the phone, on a coffee table). Add ribbons, tags and other embellishments. Here are a few of our favorites:

Add Album Accents corners and bookplates to the front cover. The metal corners turn the rounded corners into straight corners and give an elegant look.

Slide mounts are great for embellishing the front of your binders. They’re just the right size and shape and work great for framing your focal. Photographs and monograms look great in the slide mounts and personalize the binder.

Quotes from the Cardmaker's and the sarabooks™ lines work great for binder focals.

Running ribbon along the seam of the paper and spine is a great way to give it a finished look. Use wide, sheer ribbon for an elegant look and use printed gingham or grosgrain for a more casual, playful effect.

Filling the inside
Don't forget to decorate the inside of your binder—with pockets, dividers and pages. You can personalize these with stamps, stickers, ribbon or other embellishments. For maximum versatility, the tall sarabinder™ also fits inserts made by FranklinCovey.