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Easy Personalized Binders for Back to School (with the Cricut Maker!)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


Binders are stupid expensive. Rather, nice binders for four kids are stupid expensive. This year we decided to glam up and personalize some plain binders with our Cricut Maker and some Shimmer Vinyl.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Canvas Etc. All opinions are our own. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you choose to buy through these links we make a small commission at no cost to you. You can read our full disclosure here.

I distinctly remember back-to-school shopping growing up. At the beginning of August we would head to the local department store and buy fresh new packs of lined paper (10 cents each!), pencil crayons, protractor sets and binders! For $5 we were off to the races.

Nowadays you can barely find a nice binder for under $10. So, instead of paying a fortune, we took out our Cricut Maker machine and got to work! In no time flat my four kids had pretty personalized binders at a fraction of the cost.

The sky is truly the limit for this project with your Cricut Maker and some premium permanent vinyl! We used simple fonts and shapes from Design Space and the Cotton Candy Vinyl Shimmer Sampler. We added each kid’s monogram to the cover along with coordinating polka dots, stars and hearts.

Moreover, we placed a small monogram on the side of each binder so that the kids can quickly find their own at home or school.

This process was so fun and easy, we may just personalize all the back-to-school things with our Cricut Maker! Don’t you think my 12 year old would love a customized “I love my mom” t-shirt to wear on her first day of school? LOL . I may just have to pull out the Infusible Ink and make one to scare her!!!

Materials Needed for this Back to School Project:

How to Personalize Binders with the Cricut Maker:

Step 1: Creating the Design

To add monogram letters, select the text button from the side left toolbar. Click on the canvas and type the letter. Adjust the font to DonJuan-Under Pressure. Set the height to 4.5” high.

Duplicate the letter by right clicking on the shape and selecting duplicate.

Set the height to 1” high for the smaller duplicated letter.  Repeat these steps for all needed monograms letters.

Move the smaller letter next to larger letter to optimize space. And highlight both letters to group them together to be cut on the same sheet of shimmer vinyl. Click on the Attach button at the bottom right corner.

To add basic shapes and designs, select the shape button from the side left toolbar. Choose a shape, such as a heart, triangle, circle or star from the list.

For the star shape, adjust the size to 1.5″ high and duplicate the shapes creating as many as you think are needed.

To optimize the space and group the shapes together by vinyl color, rearrange the shapes on the canvas placing them as close together as possible. Highlight the group of shapes and them select the Attach button at the bottom right side of the canvas.

Repeat these steps for all shapes and objects. For the small circles, we set them at 0.75″ high.

Next, select Continue to begin cutting out the shapes and monogram letters.

Step 2: Cutting the Shimmer Vinyl

Choose one of the colors in the shimmer vinyl sampler pack to cut. Place the vinyl liner side down on a standard cutting mat.

Rearrange the monogram letters and groups of shapes on different mats for cutting. To move an object, right click on the shape and select ‘move to another mat’. Choose a mat from the list of options available or create a new mat for your shape to move to. You can rearrange and rotate the objects to better optimize the space. 

When your happy with the layout, select Continue. Set the material type to premium vinyl-shimmer from the list of vinyl options.

Ensure the fine point blade is inserted into the Cricut and upload the prepared standard grip mat.  Push the Cricut button on the Maker to start cutting.

When prompted, remove the mat from the Cricut and peel the cut vinyl with the liner off of the mat. Place a new shimmer vinyl on the standard grip mat and continue with cutting out the rest of the objects in the desired colors.

Step 3: Embellishing the Binders

Carefully cut around the monogram and other vinyl shapes (makes it easier to work with).

Peel the shapes off of the vinyl backing. For more intricate designs you may choose to use the transfer tape. However, we were able to transfer the vinyl to the binders without the tape.

Arrange the monogram and shapes onto the cover of the binder. We placed the monogram towards the bottom right, but you could position it wherever you like.

We then added polka dots, stars, hearts and triangles (relatively randomly) to the covers.

And there you go! Easy peasy personalized binders for back to school. 

The pictures really don’t do justice to how pretty the shimmer vinyl is. So here’s a little video in the sunlight!

These personalized binders will go really nicely alongside the kids’ upcycled pencil cases. And carry all those school extras in this simple drawstring tote with an iron-on vinyl phrase.

So, have you started the back-to-school preparations? Here are a few other ways to personalize back-to-school with the Cricut.

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