From DIY home decor to handmade gifts, here are the best arts and crafts to spark your creativity

Legend of Zelda Inspired Wood Binder

Hello and welcome to my second instructable. I hope you have fun reading and maybe find some inspiration for future projects of yourself.

What you will need:


- Wood plates (6.5mm birch plywood in this case) => I took a simple standard binder for reference
- Some piece of fabric, leather, paper, etc.

- String (preferable leather)

- an old binder where you can cut out the retainer

- Wood paint (for example water based wood stain)

- Wood oil


- wood drill

- some kind of saw capable of sawing out shapes out of a solid plate (e.g. a scrollsaw/fretsaw)

- sandpaper

- a brush

- safety goggles, gloves, tissues

Always make sure to wear proper safety equipment. Glasses for sawing and drilling, and at least some gloves for the painting and oiling later on.

Preparing the Front

First, design the front of your folder. I used the well known LoZ-symbol, but you're completely free to take whatever you like. You should choose your design depending on your skills and tools, curved cuts are way more difficult to do than straight ones.

Tape (or sketch, may be easier since you won't have to worry about your pattern falling off) your dream-shape on the front board.

Then, drill a hole in every separated part of the pattern. Make sure you will be able to fit your saw through.

Saw out your pattern. Take your time with the process. The more precise, the better.


The next step is quite easy to accomplish.

Just mark the points where you want to attach the mechanism for holding the sheets (centered on the back plate) and the points you'll need to assemble everything later.

To get an consistent "image" (where the string will be visible) on the outside, choose an even number of connections so every leatherstring will end on the inside. Try out which drillsize fits your prefered string best.

Colouring & Oiling

This part probably needs the most time, since you will have to repeat some steps, depending on what type of colour you have and prefer. I used water based wood stain.

First, use sandpaper to sand the wood down — you don't have to be to precise with this one. Then, take a brush and "paint" your wood pieces with water.

The background on this one is the special structure of wood. As you probably know, wood consists of fibers. These well on water contact, resulting in the watered area being rough again. You will have to sand it again. This effect decreases with every repetition, thus the watering.

You have to consider this while drilling the holes, too. If these are too tight before watering, they won't fit anymore after.

You could apply the colour at once, but you will have to use more to get an acceptable result. I did this step three times, once with water, twice with the stain. On the second run with stain I wiped off the redundant fluid. You can let it dry completely, but this will result in a blunt surface, as shown in the 4th picture. Plus, the pigment will paint your fingers on contact — I needed about two days to get that off again.

Repeat these steps, colouring and sanding, until everything is smooth.

When you're satisfied, apply the wood oil. Just use some paper tissues to spread the oil on all surfaces. Don't be stingy, the wood will soak up quite a lot.

Quite important: Use gloves, most wood oils stick like hell and are not very healthy for the skin.

As seen in the picture, I used hard wood oil, but you're free to experiment.

After drying, use some old rags for polishing and voila, you're finished with this part.


Now let's assemble everything.

To emphasize the symbol on the front I decided to glue a yellow piece of leather on the inside. You could use any other material from paper to cloth, too.

I used two simple leatherbands to arrange the final shape. Plus one to fasten the retainer.

Pull the strings as tight as possible so your folder won't rattle too much, but take care that the "hinge" still works.


As you can probably imagine, you're completely free in the design of your binder.

Try out other colour shemes, sizes or attachments (e.g. cross-stitched), materials or even shapes.

My first prototype consists of oiled pinewood with wood rods on the edges. Beauty through simplicity, in my opinion.

With that, enough for today — I'm already planning some more projects so hopefully I'll be able to publish some more ideas in the future.

Feel free to comment and have fun experimenting!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *