How to – Creating a pattern binder

I got the idea of creating a pattern binder for my Spoonflower swatches because I wanted to bring them to the craft fair I attend. My initial thought was to just bring the swatches as they are, and maybe sew a border for them not to break while people touch them, but… I can’t sew for the life of me! So my next idea was to just put them in a binder, and from there, I started working on how to make it easy for people to find a pattern they might be interested in on not only Spoonflower, but also Redbubble and Society6. Here’s how I created my pattern binder! Feel free to take from it what you want and maybe create your own, which I’d very much like to see if you do 🙂

My first step: The first page should be dedicated to the 3 shops that I represent; Spoonflower, Redbubble and Society6. I cannot expect people to even know what they are, so the first page shows some products with my designs, and of course has the short URL for my profile for each of them. Although I get many visitors from Germany when at the fair, I decided to keep it Danish, since it would be too much to fit in 2 or even 3 languages, and 3 of the same pages would just look odd. The photos shown give everyone a good idea of what the sites offer anyway, and people are usually very good at asking questions if ever in doubt about what I do.

My second step: I needed a sheet of paper with the information needed to find the pattern on the various websites, but of course the URL’s are long, and no one would want to type them. The easiest and most aesthetic solution I could come up with was to use QR codes. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, and it opens the URL directly and fast. I was able to create URL’s for Spoonflower and Redbubble in order to guide the customer directly to the pattern they want to see, but Society6 doesn’t offer that kind of solution, so every QR code just leads to the shop itself. While it’s possible to create some pretty QR codes using QR Code Monkey I decided to just keep them black, and make a header for each design. It took a lot of time, and of course a lot of printer ink, but each page looks absolutely beautiful now!

My third step: Getting everything into the sleeves… which was quite a pain. I wash and iron my swatches before use, so they were flat and had no wrinkles, but they didn’t always slide down the sleeves that easy, and it was a lot of swatches to handle, so it took longer than expected. I decided to make the order a bit random, instead of using the order in which I made the designs, partly because I didn’t want all the older designs to show up first, but also because I wanted to split up the designs into categories. The main part of the binder contains my regular designs in a more or less random order, then switches to holiday themed designs and lastly to my gingham designs. I used those nifty neon colored flags that you can get in every paper store to show where each category starts. This also makes it easier for me to update the binder in the future.

My last step: Creating a front for the binder. Now, my initial idea was to just use a plastic folder, but they were not big enough, so I bought a binder, hence why mine is called pattern folder. The name just kind of stuck with me, and I didn’t want to change it. Anyway, I wrote it in different colors with a flag for each language, added the logos of the 3 shops represented in the binder, and decorated the left and right sides with patterned borders. I then laminated the printed sheet of paper and taped it to the front of the binder.  I decided to use tape instead of glue in order to be able to change it in the future, and not ruin the binder in the process.

It took me a few days to get everything done, and I’m very happy with the outcome. It’s a good way to store my swatches and present my designs, and I hope that it will be well received at the next fair I can attend. I know my stepdad’s girlfriend is at least super excited to look into the binder, even when there’s nothing new to see 🙂


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