DIY clipboard binder

After nearly a year of use, my (second) gaming folder was looking like this:

This paper folder was fine when I had only a few character sheets to keep, but not when I had several, plus notebooks and other ephemera. It was time to upgrade. One of my fellow gamers uses an Officemate Slim Clipboard Storage Box, but after looking at it, I found that the clip was too stiff to open easily with my arthritic hands. I decided that I wanted a binder so that I could keep my system of keeping each character’s papers together in a plastic protector. I didn’t want just any binder though: I wanted one with a clipboard. I was always asking our hosts where the clipboards were and wanted one of my own, without having another item to keep up with or weigh down my game bag even further. Surely I could buy a binder with a clip on it, right?

Wrong. The few that I could find online were out of stock or had the clip on the inside of the front cover, rather than on the outside. Well, attaching a clip to the front of a binder shouldn’t be too hard, I thought, and decided to make one myself. Since I couldn’t find a binder that had the cover/design I wanted, I also decided to take a plain binder and re-cover it as well.

To put a new cover on the binder, I used this DIY tutorial from Thrift Diving. These were my supplies:

One of the issues pointed out on the Thrift Diving tutorial is that the paper isn’t sealed to be water proof. Having had one gaming folder damaged by water already, and knowing that we often have drinks on the table, I wanted to protect the paper from getting wet by accident. My solution was to line the paper with a self-seal laminating sheet before gluing it onto the binder. The type that I used allows one laminate a single side.

After I laminated the paper, re-covering the binder was pretty straightforward. The tutorial covers each step, so I just followed along. When it came to putting the clipboard clip on, however, things started to get a bit tricky.

I used a hammer and nail to make holes for the rivets that would attach the clip to the binder. It seemed like a simple job: make the holes, put the clip into place, and set the rivets. Only, the rivets wouldn’t set. I went out and bought a rivet setter, since part of the problem was not having the right tool on hand, but neither the rivets that came with the clips nor the ones that came with the setting tool would stay fastened.

gaming binder 8

In the end, I admit to using superglue. I used the setting tool and anvil to squash the two sides of the rivet together for the glue to adhere.

For a finishing touch, I used washing tape to make a border on the inside of the binder, covering the edges of the paper.

gaming binder 9

The inside, featuring a washi-tape border. I splurged and bought new mechanical pencils.

gaming binder 10

It only looks full already because of the notebooks I keep for our campaigns.

gaming binder 11

The binder in situ, with spell cards, notebook, and dice bag (which I also made).

I’m quite pleased with the final product! I have used it several times since making the binder and it is holding up well.

Now that I know what I’m doing, and have extra binder clips and rivets, I might make more clipboard binders as gifts in case any of my gamer friends decide they want one for themselves.

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