DIY Project: 3 ring binder

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I’ve been wanting to try this binding method for awhile – I am a bit enamored of book rings. And I kind of eat a lot of crackers (they keep well in my cubicle drawer at the ‘day job’)

This project was inspired by this 3-ring-binding tutorial from Follow the Paper Trail

Supplies needed:

  • empty cracker/cereal/pasta box
  • adhesive
  • eyelets
  • fabric (or paper to cover box) – pictured is just a remnant I picked up once at JoAnn’s because I liked the color
  • (also pictured and to-be-explained: book rings)

The great thing about using a box as a base for your album is it is already creased in the perfect way for you.

Cut off the top and bottom sides of your box.

Find where the seam is on your box (should be one of the narrow sides) and cut that side off.

You should be left with a 3-sided box (vs six sides when you buy it) – essentially the shape of a binder.

(sidenote: I’m not much of a stickler for brand-name products, but REAL CheezIts are far superior to these store-brand “cheese squares” …. just, you know, FYI :) )

Cut your piece of fabric so you have enough for a bit of a lip on all 4 sides

(sidenote#2 : I ironed this piece of fabric TWICE! I swear I did…. )

Use your adhesive to attach the fabric to your box – I used ATG, but you can also use spray adhesive or your favorite adhesive.

I originally tried Krazy glue. Does NOT work. It leaked all through the fabric and onto my surface beneath. Annoying.

I don’t have very much luck with adhesive. Let me know if you have any favorites….

The best way to keep the fabric from bunching in strange places as you glue it on is to cut the fabric along the same line as the folds of the cardboard.

Make sure the edges are adhered really well

Another trick is to fold down the corners FIRST … and then fold down the edges.

Glue glue glue!!

I also decided to line the inside to clean up the edges and cover up the fraying fabric (much easier than hemming the fabric, or, you know, measuring carefully)

A 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper is just about the right width, and I cut off a strip *about* 2.5-3″ wide

I just used a spray adhesive to glue the paper on – fast, easy and easy to make even.

Next it is time to add the rings.

Now, I SPECIFICALLY measured the eyelets to make sure that these book rings would fit through them.

I kind of love eyelets – even if just for reinforcing holes.


You can see in the photo below that the book rings I got are a *little* big. But I don’t mind. Clearly the book wouldn’t close all the way when I put these in. …. But big rings allow for more pages.

So, by kind of eye-balling where the book ring would hit the book, I made rough marks on the inside of the book for where the holes should go.

Next I used my eyelet tools to make 2 holes in the binding (narrow) side of my book


I love how clean this looks with the eyelets!

All that’s left to do now is put in the book rings where the holes go.



Guess what.

With the SIZE of the book rings I have and the proximity of the holes, it is not actually physically possible to put the book rings in those holes.


Andrew tried for me, though ….

I’m still really happy with the way this turned out, though.

I might try looking for smaller book rings that would fit….

Or maybe just thread some ribbon through the eyelets.

Either way – I now have a cute little blue book cover to make a mini album or other little bound work.

Love it.

And I’ve got something like 3 other cracker boxes just begging to be transformed.

Have you ever used a cracker or cereal box for a craft?

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  • Mim January 1, 2011 at 8:10 am edit

    Cute! And I like that you were honest enough to post your mistake! You don’t often see that in the blog world.

  • Alexandra January 1, 2011 at 10:16 am edit

    This is SO COOL. Thanks for the tips! Have you thought about covering it with woodgrain paper? That would be a bit easier than fabric!!
    Where did you get the eyelets? Any tips for setting those?

  • Jamie Budak January 12, 2012 at 9:33 am edit

    How super cute would it be to make tiny ones of these as wedding favors!

    I use pasta, cracker, cereal, etc. boxes to ship stuff I sell on Etsy. I disassemble the boxes and reassemble them inside out, then wrap in brown craft paper. Saxes me a bunch on shipping materials.

  • Megan Anderson July 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm edit

    I love using recycled cardboard for minis! (Here’s one I did long ago:

    When I use binder rings, I usually punch though the covers instead of the spine. It’s a lot easier to get them in there (like this: You’d need really big binder rings for a wide spine, though.

    It wouldn’t be too hard to use the holes you have, though. You could do a signature (folded section that you sew through) for each one.

  • Theresa November 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm edit

    I love this! I love the mistakes and the imperfection of it all! I see twine or ribbon finishing it off. Contact paper could be fun, I’ve got to show this to my daughters.

  • Judy A. August 5, 2015 at 10:14 am edit

    Couple of comments — If you’re punching holes for book rings, the space between the holes needs to be about the same as the diameter of the ring. There are some alternatives for a fix here. 1. Get smaller book rings. 2. Thread ribbon through the holes to add your pages, and tie bows on the outside of the album. 3. As another commenter mentioned, sew signatures into the book, using your holes as sewing stations. I think the ribbon option would be very cute and would dress up the plain fabric cover.

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