by Sara Naumann

The holidays are fast approaching and you need to drum up sales in your store. Want the very latest product? Need an answer for those customers asking, Whats new? Looking for a great class idea? Weve got it! Learn the latest techniques with a brand-new line from Hot Off The Press: sarabinders. They make a great class project and can easily be taught in an hour-long session.

Class Introduction: Whats a sarabinder? A sarabinder is the ultimate gift: Pretty, practical and totally unique. Best of all, theyre fast and easy to make! Simply decorate a binder with your choice of papers and embellishments, then fill with our perfectly-sized pockets, envelopes, dividers and paper. Make an organizer, an address book, a CD holder or a mini scrapbook. Use it to stash receipts, sketches, or keep track of scrapbook supplies. The possibilities are endless!

Getting Started: Choosing a size Which size to choose for your class project? Try these guidelines:

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

Tall: A versatile size, this is ideal for an address book, calendar, sketchbook or organizer. At 5x7 1/2, you have plenty of room to take notes and make plans.

Step One: Covering the binder with ink or paint When decorating your binder, you can either leave the brown kraft cover plainor you can paint, ink or walnut ink the binder. 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 dont forget to finish the edges! Then decorate the 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 to get in the nooks and crannies around the spine.

The kraft binders accept acrylic paint easily without warping. Black and a white or cream are great basic colorsor you might want to choose something bright to match your papers and embellishments. Its 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 topor 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.

Step Two: Covering with paper
After painting or inking, 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 dont wrap the paper around the spineit will create a gap as soon as the binder 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. Smooth it down, turn it 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 5x7 1/2 Tall binder, cut a 4 3/4x 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 coveryour painted or inked edge will act as a border.

Step Three: Paper choices
Any paper will work on a sarabinder. You can mix and match coordinating papers, layer or collage them. Papers printed with a decorative border are great for decorating the binderthey lend an instantly finished look.

8x8 papers are great for these binders, and one sheet of 12x12" paper can cover both the front and back of both the tall and small binders. Youll also have paper left over to decorate the binder insert pages.

Step Four: Choosing embellishments
When choosing embellishments, consider how the binder is going to be used. For an organizer that youll carry in a purse or backpack, consider using sturdy metal embellishmentsnothing 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 like library card holders, brads, frames and slide mounts. Personalize the cover with alphabet stamps, handwriting, alphabet tiles or stickers.

Running ribbon along the seam of the paper and spine is a great way to give it a finished looksecure the ends on the inside front cover with tape. Use wide, sheer ribbon for an elegant look and use printed gingham or grosgrain for a more casual effect.

And Finally: Filling the inside
Decorate the inside front and back cover of your binder with coordinating paper, cutting the paper to fit just inside the cover. Add an envelope or pocket cut from a template for additional flair.

Don't forget to fill the inside of your binderwith pockets, dividers and pages. You can personalize these with paper, stamps, stickers, ribbon or other embellishments.

Class Tips
A decorated sarabinder makes a great class ideaespecially around the holidays. Use one of the examples shown here for inspiration, or design your own binder. (Were betting a scrapbook supply organizer is a guaranteed hit!)

Hot Off The Press sarabinder line has been a hit with retailers and consumers. Look for ads and editorial in magazines like Creating Keepsakes, Paper Crafts and more.