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Last week I mentioned making a custom cover for my discbound planner. Here’s my first attempt – I might find another solution for the spine, it’s a very thick card stock and doesn’t slide around on the disc as well as a thinner paper. Hmmm….

The notebook closed from the front (left) and the back (right):
Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

The cover is made from a paper sample book I’ve had forever. It was already the right height and I only had to add two folds. Any kind of heavy paper would work though, or a light cardboard like a tissue or shoe box.

I collaged mine with paper, black ink, white paint and a few stitches on the sewing machine.

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

I definitely want to cut off the extra flap with the vertical pocket on the right (pictured above). It’s too bulky, especially because it sits open on my desk or nightstand 99% of the time.

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

The spine width should be just a little bigger than your stack of papers, not including the discs. Once folded, if your paper is thin enough, you can put each fold inside the hole punch. Then use an x-acto and cut out the rectangle shape on the front cover side. My cardboard wouldn’t fit in the hole punch so I did it on a thin paper first, traced it to the cardboard then cut it out by hand. Do a test first so you don’t accidentally punch your nice cover wrong!

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

I’m totally loving discbound, read all my other posts about it here: http://ahhh-design.com/tag/discbound/

My Printable Planner Template through 2015 are available too, get ‘em while they’re hot!!

A simple 4×6 index card folder tutorial to hold your monthly, weekly and meeting diy planner templates!

This folder is very similar to the DIY Cardboard Binder, just a little smaller with binder clips and velcro instead of binder rings and elastic.

Supplies

  • Two sheets of heavy decorative scrapbook paper
  • Sewing machine or glue
  • Two binder clips
  • Small piece of velcro

Plans

4x6 velcro Index Card binder dimensions

Directions

Because the length of the folder needs to be 17 inches, I sewed some cut up 12×12 scrapbook sheets together to get there. If you have a sheet of 17″ paper or cardboard skip the first 4 steps and just cut two pieces of 4×17 rectangles.

  1. Take the 12×12 scrap book paper and cut it into 2 strips of 4 by 12.
  2. Cut two more pieces to 4 x 6.
  3. Take one 4×12 and one 4×6 and lay it out so that it’s 4×17 – giving you an inch overlap for gluing or sewing. This will be the inside of your folder.
  4. Repeat for the outside.
  5. Attach the front and back with glue or by sewing around the edges. Sewing gives the paper a more flexible and sturdy feel, it’s also fun to use the stitches as part of the design.
  6. At this point, you should have a double sided 4×17 rectangle. Mark lightly where the folds will go – see the dimensions diagram above. Finish decorating by drawing, stitching, painting, adding stickers or sprinkling with fairy dust! Keep in mind that we still have to make the folds, so your decoration should hold up to this.
  7. Next, add the three folds – hold a ruler against the fold mark on your desk and push the flap up against it, this will give you a nice straight fold. My paper split on one side during folding so I went over the fold with a wide zig zag stitch to reinforce the edges.
  8. The last step is to add velcro. Stitch one piece onto the inside right flap, then close the folder and line up the other side on the outside flap.

And you’re done! Use the binder clips to hold two stacks of 4×6 index cards (or the booklet pictured, tutorial and download here!) on each side.

If you want to make a fast and easy binder this is it. You probably have all the parts to put it together just sitting around your house right now!

Supplies

  • Gluestick and hot glue gun
  • Flat Cardboard (not corrugated). Could be a cereal box, packaging or shoe box… get creative!
  • Cheap 2-ring 3×5 notecard binder, or any old small planner or binder
  • Pieces, parts, stickers, envelopes and scraps for collaging
  • File folders or thicker paper for dividers, heavy scrapbooking paper works great
  • DIY Planner Templates to fill the inside!

First, pull out the 2-ring binder clip from your 3×5 notebook. Directions for this and attaching the clip here. Decide what size paper you’d like, poke holes in it and hook it on the binder ring. Measure all the way around this – remember to measure for any tabs you’d like to include plus a little extra on the edges. This will be the width and height of Part A and Part C in the diagram above. The width of Part B should be as high as your binder clip plus a little extra. Part D can be whatever width you’d like really. It can be shorter and fold inside or outside, it can be wide as Part A and Part C or even a funky shape.

Once you figure out your sizes add the widths together and cut out one strip of cardboard. The cardboard I used was thinner than I would like so I cut out two pieces the same size and glued them together. Now make your folds, decorate and add the binder clip!

The pocket on Part A is optional. I cut out a piece of the same cardboard and attached it with hot glue on 3 sides. The closure is a piece of off-white elastic from Joann’s. Stretch it around the closed notebook to get the right length. Then cut two slits in the spine to feed it through. On the outside sew the ends together and you’re done.

Happy binding!

This is part three of the ‘Binder Series‘ –
Previous posts: The Bee Planner and The Repurposed Book Binder

Here are a few people and notebooks I’ve been inspired by in my Binder research!

Bastiano

One of my favorite book makers is Bastiano – if you want to see amazing stitch, collage and book art go here.


NYX Creations

NYX has put together a REALLY cool binder tutorial using binder rings, cardboard and collage.


Remains of the Day

I recently signed up for Remains of the Day by Mary Ann Moss, a ‘Shabby Journal of Scraps’ online tutorial site.

Mary Ann’s video tutorials focus a lot on laying out different fabrics, book binding and creating paper pockets and all sorts of wonderful pages and collage techniques to fill books with. Check out all her lovely journal pages on flickr here.

I made this roll-up pencil pouch a while ago and had really been wanting to use the sewing/collage technique again. Super inspired I set out to make a Binder to match using the slip-cover method explained in Remains of the Day for the notebook cover.

This is part two of the ‘Binder Series‘ – View part one here: The Bee Planner

The Repurposed Book Binder

The toughest part of this project is finding the perfect book. The spine of the book has to be a bit bigger than the height of the 2-ring metal binder piece, in this case it was one inch tall. Make sure it’s wide enough for a paper size you’re comfortable with too, remember to add about half the width of the binder clip.

Materials

  • → An old book
  • → Cheap 2-ring 3×5 notecard binder from office supply store
  • → Spray adhesive
  • DIY Planner Templates to fill the inside!

First you want to remove the pages from the inside of the book. It’s important to keep the very first and very last pages that are attached to the covers intact – these are called the endpapers. Go a few pages into the first signature and spread the pages apart until you can see the stitching. Using an exacto knife carefully cut the thread.

Once you’ve cut all the threads look behind the first page, you should be able to pull the pages away from the endpaper. It will probably be attached with adhesive but should pull apart easily, especially if it’s an older book. Once the endpaper is released cut through the book tape with scissors to completely release the inside pages.

Do the same to the back of the book so that you’re left with only the cover and the endpapers.

Next, fold both endpapers open and mark/cut them so that they’re the width of the spine.

Use the spray adhesive and attach the endpapers to the spine. I put down the back section first then the front, but do whatever works best for you book. The white sheets of paper are to protect the rest of the book from the adhesive.

Attach a piece of extra endpaper to the spine to hide the seams. Depending on the construction of your book this may not be necessary.

Last I attached the 2-ring metal binder piece. Instructions for doing this are in The Bee Planner post.

Now the fun part, filling the binder up! Thanks for reading, now go make something.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on binder-making techniques the last couple of weeks. In the ‘Binder Series‘ I’ll show you my take on ’em and what I learned along the way.

First up is a quick tutorial on the first binder I ever made, The Bee Planner!


The Bee Planner

The Bee Planner

A few years ago I made my first binder, a gift for my brother ‘n law. I completely hacked it together but here’s what I can remember.

Materials

  • → Cheap 2-ring 3×5 notecard binder from office supply store
  • → Vinyl, from the uphostery section at JoAnns
  • → Bumble bee fabric**
  • → Photocopies of CD Artwork**
  • → Tissue Paper
  • → Cardboard or bookboard
  • → Short bolt with flat head, nut and 2 grommets. Might be a good idea to bring your metal binder clip with you to the hardware/craft store to make sure all the sizes match up.
  • DIY Planner Templates to fill the inside!

** These can be whatever, always remember to make it your own!

First, rip out the 2-ring metal binder piece from your cheapo 3×5 notecard binder. Once it’s off the plastic use pliers to pull out the little brads that were holding it in place so you’re left with two holes on each side. If the metal bends while pulling out the brads just straighten it out with the pliers.

Music is ‘Folly’ by Sam Squarewave

Put the paper you’d like in the metal binder clip and measure from the very left point to the very right. Your bottom board will need to be this big or wider. If you plan on having page dividers with tabs include those in the width as well. Measure the height of the binder rings, your spine will need to be this wide + the thickness of the bottom board + a little extra to be safe.

Mock-up

The front and spine are made of paper (photocopies, collages, drawings) or fabric. The back should be bookboard or cardboard to give it a little weight. All three pieces are covered with clear vinyl on both sides.

Covering with vinyl

Once everything is ready to sew pin it together and stitch around the edges. Also do a stitch up and down through the seems between the front, spine and back. Give yourself plenty of extra vinyl around the edges so sewing is simple… then trim the excess off after.

Vinyl sewing tips!

A sewing machine with a good strong needle will sew through a layer of paper/fabric and two pieces of vinyl easily. The problem is that the vinyl sticks to everything… the foot and the feed. This is where the tissue paper comes in. Put a sheet on the bottom and on the top before sewing:
tissue → vinyl → paper → vinyl → tissue
Once the sewing is done the tissue paper will rip off easily.

Attaching the binder rings

Once the front, spine and back are complete place the metal binder rings on the far left of the back board. Mark inside the holes on each side of the hardware. Use a sharp tool or hammer and nail to create a hole through the entire back piece the size of your grommet. It’s best to make it a little bit smaller and squeeze the grommet in, better than having a hole too big! Put it in so that the pretty side is on the outside of the binder.

Once the grommets are in place use the screws to secure the rings to the board with the flat head of the screw on the outside. Voila!

attaching the binder rings

Like I mentioned in the beginning, I really hacked this binder together. Plus I’m writing this from memory so if something doesn’t work out quite right I warned you! There are a few pictures of this planner on flickr, view ‘all sizes’ to see bigger versions for more detail.

Thanks for reading, hope its helpful!

In an attempt to lure myself into using my 3-ring planner this year I made a cover for it out of my favorite leftover gray linen. Unfortunately, the linen is a little too stretchy — It turned out okay but the inside seam curves around in a circular shape where I pulled the fabric too tight. Bah! (Photos on flickr.)

I’ll still use it but I’m definitely consulting tutorials and finding cute solid cotton before I try again.

Anyways, for about a year I’ve been trying to decide what to do with a box of binders my husband saved from the dumpster at work. They’re all different sizes with ugly covers with company logos on them. I took the plastic cover off of one, and was thinking of collaging on the bookboard and mod podge-ing over it. That turned into an ordeal though because the plastic cover holds on the front bookboard!

I think I might buy some bookbinding supplies and try to attach the cover that way, who knows! I’ve read tons of blogs/tutorials on bookbinding but it’s so intimidating!

P.S.
—-You could make this awesome Planner made of trash and print my templates on your scraps! Wonderful!