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How to Make a Cover for a 3-Ring Book Binder


Publishing a book in a 3-ring book binder is an affordable option for those wanting to get their works out there without spending an arm and a leg. In fact, with just a few upfront costs and meager ongoing supplies, you can relatively easily get your information out to the world. But be aware that the cover can make or break the deal, so be sure to put some thought into appropriate graphics and headlines.

Design the cover in a graphic design program. If you'd prefer, you can also use a template, such as those offered by Microsoft, to help you create a binder cover in Microsoft Word. Be sure to include the title of the book in large letters, followed by any subtitles in smaller letters below. Then splash an eye-catching, relevant graphic in between the title and subtitle, or off to the side. If you're having trouble with this step, consider hiring a professional graphic artist to design the cover for you.

Choose the paper size. If you're using a standard 3-ring binder that measures roughly 10" wide by 11 1/2" tall, your book cover should be large enough to fill the front cover of the binder, so you would need to print the cover on 11x17" paper and trim it down to size. If the background color of your cover matches the color of the binder, you might be able to get away with using 8 1/2 x 11" paper for the cover. You'll just need to print a test copy that will be inserted into the binder to make sure that the border from the paper blends seamlessly into the binder before printing multiple copies.

When choosing your paper, look for card stock paper or thick, glossy paper, based on your preference.

Print your cover. If you're using 11x17" paper and have a printer that will handle paper of those dimensions, go ahead and print your covers. If your printer isn't equipped to handle paper larger than 8 1/2 x 11", you'll need to outsource the work to a local printer. Contact your office supply store for more information. If you're using 8 1/2 x 11" paper, follow the steps outlined above to make sure that size will work for your 3-ring book binder.

Trim the paper, if applicable. If you printed on 11x17" paper, you'll need to trim it down to fit into the binder cover. To do so, measure the front cover of the binder. Then use those measurements to mark the area to be trimmed on the cover paper, using light pencil strokes that can be erased if need be. Using a paper cutter or scissors, trim the cover. If you printed your cover on 8 1/2 x 11" paper, you can skip this step.

Insert the covers into your binders. Once your covers are printed, slide one into the space between the hard binder and the clear plastic cover on the front of the first binder. Insert the rest of the covers into respective binders. Then insert the materials inside to complete your binder.

Items you will need
Graphic design program or binder cover template
Thick, glossy paper or card stock paper
Binders with clear plastic cover openings
Printer
About the Author

This article was written by the Pen & the Pad team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about Pen & the Pad, contact us

Photo Credits
  • Pamela Follett/Demand Media