Taste-Test Recipe Binder

I’ve mentioned that I love to cook. And eat of course – but that usually takes cooking first. And while I have a great selection of cookbooks – I also have a ton of recipes that I’ve printed out from the web or copied from magazines. I’ve filled up a binder that my Mom made me – and more. It was time for a new one.

You’ll never guess where I went “shopping” for ideas. What? Anthropologie you say? Well of course. And as usual – they delivered. You’re shocked. I know.
I found the cutest little Recipe book.

I loved the design of theirs – and that little spoon – but I wanted a Binder version. Here’s mine!

I even did the little fork on the back of the book.

I’m really pleased with how it came out. I used a more retro-diner style font but I kept to the colors and style because those go great with my kitchen. I also changed the text to “Recipes” (plural) rather than just “Recipe”. I plan on keeping more than one in there and not having the plural would have bugged me. haha.

Here’s the original:

Here’s the supply list if you’d like to make your own. You’ll need:

  • Fabric for covering the binder – a little more than twice the size of the binder
  • A Binder or notebook – mine is a 1″ Binder
  • Embroidery Floss and Coordinating Thread
  • A spoon :)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Posterboard or light cardboard

We’ll start with flattening the spoon. You can do that at any point but it’s the most fun so why not start there?

Lay your spoon on an old towel outside.

 Cover the spoon with the towel and, using a hammer, beat the spoon until it’s flat. It won’t take too long.

 Wasn’t that satisfying?

On to the binder! Cut out a rectangle of fabric about 1″ larger than your binder on all sides.

Mark the corners of your binder with a fabric marking pen. This will help you center your design and do the zig zag stitching. I hope you can see those little marks.

Decide on the design that you’d like. You can make your own, or you can print out the one I used at the end of the post.

Trace your pattern onto your fabric with a fabric marking pen. An easy way to do this is to tape your pattern to the window, then tape your fabric on top of that. The light will shine through and you will be able to easily trace the design.

Place your fabric in an embroidery hoop and outline the letters with a stem stitch. To do this, bring your thread up at the corner of the “R”.

Here is a picture to help you with the stitch. The point you brought your thread up is point “A”. Put your needle in at point “B” and then bring it back out at point “C”. There should be an equal distance between A, B, and C.

Pull the thread through.

Now repeat the steps, keeping the loose thread above the stitch. In at “B”, out at “C” but your stitch will touch the end of the previous stitch.

Continue this stitch around the outlines you’ve drawn.

I sewed all the lines in gold embroidery thread, then I accented the right side of the letters with a reddish orange – kind of like a shadow.

For the fork, I traced the pattern so it would be towards the bottom of the back of the binder. I outlined the fork with the same stitch, then just filled in the end section with some random lines and crosses.

For the decorative zig zag stitching, I switched to my machine.

Using the markings at the corners of the spine, draw a line from the top to the bottom of the fabric. Repeat for the back.

Follow the marked line with a zig zag stitch, using thread that matches the colors you did in the embroidery. I did three rows on each side in three colors.

This is a good time to remove all your marking lines and dots.

Sew on your spoon. I sewed it at the narrow section and towards the bottom.

Lay your fabric out, wrong side up, and center your binder on it. Make sure the spine is between your zig zag stitching.

Fold the bottom center section under, at the spine. Glue down (with hot glue) this section, slipping the fabric under the metal binder piece. You should have no raw edges of fabric showing.

Repeat with the top center section.

Fold over the left side section and glue down. Pull the fabric tight but not so tight that it stretches or distorts. Don’t worry about raw edges here – this will be covered.

Repeat with the right side section. Then glue down your top and bottom sections.

For the corners, trim a “V” of fabric out of the piece that is not glued down. This will help the corner lay down flat.

Glue down each corner.

The outer edges of the binder should all be glued down now.

Cut a piece of posterboard or light cardboard slightly smaller than one side of the binder. Make sure it doesn’t cover any of the spine or the binder won’t close properly.

Cut a second piece for the other side using this as a pattern. Cut out 2 fabric rectangles slightly larger than your posterboard.

Obviously it doesn’t have to be perfect. Yes. I failed rectangle cutting in elementary school.

Glue down the edges of your fabric to the posterboard just like you did with the binder. Start with the sides first, then do the top and bottom, then the corners.

Turn the rectangles over and place them on the inside of the binder. Glue one down on each side, making sure to get the edges and corners really well.

You might also want to add a bit of glue under the top of your spoon to help hold it down.

 Wasn’t that fun? Other than those little glue gun burns. We won’t mention those.

As I was making this, I thought of a couple of ways you could do it differently. If you wanted to skip the gluing, your could sew a cover for the binder, making the sides into pockets that you slip the binder into.

Or you could make the whole thing no-sew, and use a transfer or fabric paint for the design. I love options!

You can put dividers inside to organize your recipes. I also have plastic sleeves for the pages, so I can reuse them without getting stuff all over the page. I’m a messy crafter and a messy cook.

I’m starting to think Christmas presents. I am thinking about Christmas way earlier than usual. This would be fun to give as a gift, with some of your favorite recipes. You could even take it a step further and embroider their name inside.

Here’s the download if you’d like to use this design. As always – I love hearing what you think!!

http://www.flamingotoes.com/wp-content/plugins/downloads-manager/img/icons/pdf.gif Download: Recipe Binder Design


  • Reply November 8, 2013


    You really are a great teacher! Very thorough, not to mention the visuals. The embroidery was fantastic. Never saw it shown that way.

    Thank you for explaining each detail.

  • Reply November 8, 2013

    crafty grandma

    What a great idea!!! I have been looking for ideas for months and nothing has inspired me until now! I am making a Recipe book of my late mother’s recipes which were written on any scrap paper she could find, sometimes making it very difficult to decipher! I love the idea of the spoon, I have my daughter’s baby spoon and fork which would be the perfect size for the cover; on my book I would put one of the spoon’s I still have from my mom,s set. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    • November 11, 2013


      I love that idea so much!! What a sweet way to personalize the binder!

  • Reply November 9, 2013


    You are so fantastic! I love this! I think I’m going to use as a bas for personalized binders, with different decoration and subjects… and make fabric pockets in the insides with a touch of elastic. I love you! This is perfect!

  • Reply November 9, 2013

    Sue Koop

    Loved your tutorial. You got me in the mood to start making the gifts. I want to do this for my daughter and daughter-in-law for Christmas. May do one for others if I get real ambitious. Thanks for your great help!

    • November 11, 2013


      What a sweet idea for gifts for your girls! I hope you have a lot of fun making them! :)

  • Reply November 15, 2013


    Love this pattern – used it for small dollar store photo albums. Before I glued the inside covers down I put a strip of ribbon on both the inside front and back covers, half way down from the top. After I glued the inside covers over them I had ties for my photo album. It’s been awhile since I’ve made them, thanks for reminding me.

  • Reply December 21, 2013


    What a great idea, making this ASAP. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply June 17, 2014


    I mentioned this post on my blog! I attempted it… If you wanna see my try check it out!

    xxxoo Randell

  • Reply July 15, 2015

    Susan @SugarBeans

    Love this so much, Bev! xo

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