Sunday, October 14, 2012

Technology Tutorial: Making Binder Covers & Spines

Reader, Brianne, sent left me a comment on the last post, asking if I could post a tutorial on how to create the binder covers. Of course!

I now create everything in PowerPoint {thanks to Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files}. I had no idea you could create full page printables with PP, but I learned that I could from Kristen. I used to use Word, but PP is so much easier.

Step 1: Open PowerPoint and delete the text boxes so you have a blank slide.

Step 2: Select the "Design" tab and then "Page Setup". A box will pop up and you'll need to change the following settings:
  • Slides sized for: Letter Paper (8.5x11 in.)
  • Orientation >> Slides: Portrait
You can select any size you want for your page under this setting. So if you have a different binder size, this is where you can customize it to fit your needs.

Step 3: Still under the "Design" tab, select "Background Styles" >> "Format Background". A box will pop up. Make sure you're on the "Fill" selection screen. Select the "Picture or Texture Fill" circle. Click "Insert from File..." and find the background clip art you want to use. If the background looks funny, try checking the "Tile picture as texture" box. Close the box.
The backgrounds I used are from Mel Stampz. They're free to download and use, as long as you're not using them to create files that you're going to profit from.

Step 4: Select the "Insert" tab. Click on "Shapes" and select the rectangle shape. Draw the box on your slide to whatever size you want. It doesn't need to be perfectly centered. We'll fix that in a minute.

Step 5: Click on your box to select it, then click the "Format" tab. Change the shape fill to white, the shape outline to white or no outline, and add a shadow under "Shape Effects" if you wish. To center the box on the slide, click on Align {on the right side, under the "Format" tab}. Select center and middle.

Step 6: Right click on the box and select "Edit Text". Type in whatever you want on the page. You can change the color/size/font/etc.

Step 7: If you want your text outlined in white, select the "Format" tab while the text is selected {highlighted} and then click "Text Outline". You can also add a shadow under "Text Effects". Font by Kimberly Geswein - KG Be Still & Know.

Step 8: When printing, click on the "Full Page Slides" drop down and make sure "Scale to Fit Page" and "High Quality" are selected. If these two are not selected before printing, your page will have a large white border around it and any shadowing will not print out.

If you're looking to create several binder covers, you can simply create one, then right click on the slide preview at the left and select "Duplicate Slide". Now all you have to do is change the background design and the text.

For the spines, it's pretty much the same directions, but I'll show you the differences.

Keep the page turned landscape, but change the page size to 8.5x11 in. Draw a rectangle shape. When selected, click the "Format" tab and make sure the dimensions {on the right side} are 0.9" high and 10" wide. {0.9" high fits a 1 inch binder spine perfectly. Whatever size you're using, choose 0.1" less than the size for the height.} Align >> center. While still selected, click the drop down menu "Shape Fill" and select "Picture..."

Again, find and choose the background clip art you want. Right click on the image and select "Format Picture..."

Select "Fill" from the choices on the right of the pop up box. Check the "Tile picture as texture" box. I also changed the "Transparency" to 50% so the text is easier to read once you type on top of it. Close the box.

Right click on the box again, and select "Edit Text". Type in whatever you want on it. Again, you can change the font/size/colors/shadows/outlines/etc. the way I showed you above.

When printing, select the high quality and scale to fit page options. I print my spines on card stock so they're easier to insert into the side of the binder.

I hope this tutorial was useful for you!

Any questions?


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I was doing it much the same way on my own but some of your tips will streamline my process! =) Thank you Thank you thank you!!!

  2. PowerPoint is the most amazing thing ever! I don't use Word for anything anymore!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  3. Giving my school binders a makeover...NOW!

  4. I tried this for my son's binders this year and it didn't turn out right. Will be trying this! Thank you!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I used your technique to make myself some new binder covers! Would it be alright if I post a link back to this post on my blog?

  6. This is amazing! Thank you so much! :)

  7. Thank you, this is extremely helpful!!!!

  8. Super helpful! Thanks so much! :)

  9. This is an awesome tutorial! Thank you for sharing.

    Ms Richards's Musings

  10. Thanks so much! Now I can customize all my binders the way I want them!

  11. AMAZING!!!!!!!! I now have THE cutest binder covers and spines ever. Your directions were so clear that even someone not very tech savvy like myself could execute them easily and without any problems!! Thank you so much!!

  12. Thank you so much, I've been looking on sites every where on how to creat your own binder inserts, covers and so on couldn't find anything helpful until I came across your site, I have no clue I could use PowerPoint, thank you;)

  13. Thanks a big for your tutorial it was designed high impact in my opinion. However, in order to make it more professional looking you can use next website to find some good template:

  14. Thank you so much! Your tutorials are wonderful. Keep at it!

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