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Binder Ideas and Links

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!


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.


Daily Record

I had a request for a Daily Record template in 8.5 x 11 – this is a bit different than the template included in the 4 x 6 set.

This free template includes the following areas:

  • → Date and day fields
  • → Large notes section
  • → 5 stars to rate the day
  • → Graph area for sketching and mock-ups
  • → A list area (to-do, grocery, shopping… )
  • → Tracking area (expenses, time, calories… )
  • → Owl shout-out!

Download:: Daily Record 8.5 x 11 (3.28 MB)

You still have plenty of months left to purchase the 8.5 by 11 printable calendar too, it goes through 2012 and is only $8! View it and the rest of the downloads here.

Thanks for reading, now go make something!


The Repurposed Book Binder

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.


  • → 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.


The Bee Planner

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.


  • → 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.


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!


pros and cons

Pros and Cons example

Yesterday at lunch I was trying to make a very important decision with a list of pros and cons. I’m no closer to deciding but it did inspire a new DIY Planner download! I promise this wasn’t my real list, although it was on my mind – ha!

The top sets up your 1-10 rating system, it can be whatever you want. I set it to Importance, 10 being the most and 1 being least. When writing down a pro or con I would decide how important it was to me. That way when you add them up at the end they’re weighted fairly. Make sense?

Download it here if you need to figure some things out! Pros and Cons (2.16 MB)

Pros and Cons Template

Goals and a New Year

goals & a new year

I was thinking this morning about a post I wanted to do and by this afternoon had forgotten it already. Ever happen to you?! Inspired me to make a free 8.5 by 11 DIY Planner Template that’s been in my head a while now, the blog brainstorm! And to go with the new year, a yearly goal planner too.

For the Goals worksheet I create a box across the months that I want to accomplish something. The above right is one project broken down into four parts – step one due at the end of Jan, next step due at the end of may and so on…

Download: Blog Brainstorm (29.29 MB), Yearly Goals (33.22 MB)

blog brainstorm

DIY Planner Templates - 2010

2010 DIY Planner Templates

New color 8.5 x 11 printable planner pages through March of 2012! – only $8
Includes 2010, 2011 year-at-a-glance, October 2009 – March 2012 monthly pages, fill-in-the-blank month & daily page, to-do & weekly appointment pages, goals & idea worksheets

Had a request for a 2010 at-a-glance a few weeks ago and decided to put a new little set together. Most of the pages are blank so that you can fill in the days / month / year yourself!

I use nice textured/thick paper for my planner and always print on both sides — depending on which side you’re printing you’ll want more space for a 3-hole punch! For that reason, the download contains duplicates of some pages pushed to the left or the right side of the page… I also recommend using the ‘fit to page’ printer setting which will make them a bit smaller but keep it from being cut off on the edges.

DIY Planner Templates - 2010 DIY Planner Templates - 2010

Above is just a basic daily page, choose the date on the top and then draw or take notes or whatever you’d like. There’s a 1 & 2 at the bottom that I imagined would be a to-do list – could be anything though!

DIY Planner Template - Month

This one is a monthly view but with an extra space under each week to include weekly notes, recurring appointments or events that span multiple days. So you can write those things underneath in the week space and leave room in the day for individual events.

2010 DIY Planner Templates (35.04 MB)
Hope you like ‘em! I’m also thinking of ideas for new pages all the time, so if you have a suggestion I can’t promise to make it but I’ll definitely think about it.
Previous Template Downloads:
• • • • 2009 DIY Planner Templates (32.79 MB)
• • • • Weekly Snapshot (30.68 MB)
• • • • DIY Planner Templates - Letter, Color (28.51 MB)
• • • • DIY Planner Templates - Letter, Black (37.67 MB)
• • • • DIY Planner Templates - 4 x 6 Index Card (40.37 MB)

View larger images here.


Paperboat Capt’n

I’ve been following paperboatcaptain (aka Maria, an apprentice boatbuilder and artist from Germany) for a while on flickr. Her drawings/collages are whimsical w/bright colors and gorgeous textures.


She contacted me a few days ago to share photos of her new little handmade organizer using my DIY Planner Templates, I almost fell out of my chair it’s SO cool!

paperboatcaptain paperboatcaptain paperboatcaptain

Check out more photos of it and her lovely artwork on flickr.
Thanks so much for sharing Maria!

The internet’s a crazy place… you send these little pieces of yourself into space and every once in a while they find a little home and grow into something unexpected and beautiful. xo


3-ring Binder Cover

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!

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



A few years ago I was completely obsessed with D*I*Y Planner. I spent hours going through templates and putting together the PERFECT planner.
And then I never used it.

I’m still fascinated by David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’, Franklyn Covey & the numerous other techniques/products designed to increase your productivity but I realized that as an artistic person I would never be able to schedule my life with so much structure. And in the short time that I was trying, it was having the opposite effect — I was spending so much time trying to figure out how to ‘plan’ everyday it was cutting into my ‘doing’ time.

Fall of ’07 I was watching a livejournal community where people (mostly young women) would post pictures of their planners filled with doodles about boys, poetry, school schedules, homework, to-do lists and magazine collages. It was all very stream of conscious and the complete opposite of what D*I*Y Planner seemed to represent. They were combining their planner, journal & sketchbook all in one and sharing it as art. I loved it and started creating templates that followed their example.


First, I drew a set of 4 x 6 planner templates by hand. [View Downloads]

I designed the dates and months to be filled by the user — I know that no matter how much I love my planner, there are going to be days (maybe months) that I don’t touch it. This way I’m not wasting paper and printing templates I’ll never use. There aren’t very many notebooks and supplies made for 4×6 notecards either. For a gift for my brother ‘n’ law I ripped apart a cheap 3×5 notebook and put it back together as a 4×6 notebook. (photos – I’ve been thinking of writing a tutorial on this, if anyone is interested?)

While my brother ‘n’ law (and many others) have super-itty-bitty writing (and reading) abilities, I do not. So, as I was working on a planner for my sister I redesigned the pages in an 8.5 x 11 format. [View Downloads]

This format is my favorite, by far. You can buy a three ring binder in wonderful colors and any divider/folder you could want at your local office supply store to go inside. Plus there’s so much room and flexibility!


The whole point of this post though… is to introduce my new 2009 templates!

They’re 8.5 x 11 and the most minimal so far, to leave tons of room for personalization. The funnest feature for me is the dashed month in the top left, ready for outlining and coloring in. The Download includes a 2009 year-at-a-glance, 12 months and a blank notes page. [DOWNLOAD]

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