DIY Binder for Negative Sleeves


Ever since I started to develop my own film, I no longer get the negatives back from the lab, neatly organized in plastic sleeves and a nice protective envelop I can just keep in a shoe box. So I had to find a different way to store my developed film.

I guess lots of people store their negatives in plastic or paper sleeves. These negative sleeves are pretty easy to find online, and most shops that sell the sleeves also sell a binder to keep them in. However, all of the dedicated binders I could find looked rather boring and didn’t appeal to me. And because of the odd size of the sleeves, all regular binder were out too. So there was but one option left: make my own. Have a look at the pic below to see what I came up with.

The materials I used are fairly simply and can be found at most crafts stores. Here´s what you need:

  • cardboard (I used 2mm thick grey cardboard)
  • 2 simple metal binders
  • bookbinder cloth
  • bookbinder glue
  • brush
  • crafts knife, tape measure, pencil… You know, the usual suspects.

Putting it all together takes a bit of handiness but can be done by everyone with a little patience and an hour time to spare.

Step 1: Cut the front cover, back cover and the spine. I put my measurements on here to give you an idea. I left a 5mm margin all around the size of the sleeves. Adjust to the size of the sleeves you use if necessary! I choose 3cm for the spine so the binder could hold 100 filled sleeves.

Step 2: Put the metal binders in place. Place a sleeve on top of the back cover and indicate where the binders should go. Cut through the cardboard with a sharp knife and push the binder through, back to front.

Step 3: Cover the outside of the front and back cover with bookbinding cloth. Cut a piece of the bookbinding cloth approx. the size of the cover, leaving enough margin to flip over the edges. As you can see I didn’t cover the entire area because I wanted to cover the spine in a different color. Use the brush to glue up the cardboard and press it firmly on the cloth. Leave it to dry a bit before you continue (best is to weigh it down,). After a couple of minutes you can continue with the corners and finally the edges. The pics below will give you an idea of how this is easily accomplished. Repeat for the other cover

Step 4: Connect front and back . Cut a strip of cloth for the spine, making sure you overlap the previous part. Again, I left my measurements on here, but adjust to your liking. Just make sure you leave a space between the spine and the front/back covers to allow for movement. Usually I keep that space at double the thickness of the cardboard ( 2mm x 2 = 0.4cm). First glue the spine in the middle and then add the front and back covers. Weigh it all down for a few minutes for the glue to set. Glue the leftovers making sure you put the binder through the cloth rather then glue it underneath!

Step 5: Cover the inside. Cut a piece of cloth for the inside. Make it about 5mm smaller than the cardboard all the way around. Position the cloth, indicate precisely where the metal binder needs to come through and carefully cut 4 small slits. Glue the piece of cloth into place, again weighing it down to make sure the edges don’t curl up.

Step 6: Decorate to taste. Bookbinding cloth is an easy material to decorate. This time I chose to use a cutout from one of my favorite books and stamp it on the front using white paint and a sponge.

Step 7: Admire your work!

Who says film is dead? Lomography’s got its very own emulsions to keep the fire burning! Visit the Shop and see which Lomography film is right for you.

written by sandravo on 2013-08-14 #gear #tutorials #film #diy #negatives #storage #archive #tipster #lomography #handicraft #sleeves #binder #120-films


  1. guinastrapazi
    guinastrapazi ·

    wow! neat work :)
    and the sleeves you put in that binder that you made can be purchased in a shop? or are the diy too?

  2. sandravo
    sandravo ·

    @guinastrapazi The sleeves are not home made ;-) I buy them from Macodirect in Germany, cheapest delivery to Belgium, so I guess you should be fine too in Austria.…

  3. guinastrapazi
    guinastrapazi ·

    Until now i always did the sleeves by myself,.. insane! it's so much work :O
    so thank you, that's just great! :))

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