How to Make a Discbound Notebook (Art Journal, Bullet Journal, Planner, Etc.)

Are you familiar with discbound journals (discbound planner or discbound notebook?)  They're one of my current favorite kinds of notebooks for any kind of journaling. 


The fact that the pages can be removed and rearranged so easily makes discbound journals particularly great for any kind of art journaling, creative journaling, planning, or bullet journaling. You can work on a page before putting it into the notebook, and you can easily move pages around or remove them completely. It's perfect for work or study, too.


A while back, I told you about discovering discbound notebooks and how much I love their ease and practicality.  The discbound format is one of my favorites because of how easily the pages can be removed and replaced. (Similar to a binder, but it lays flat and is more customizable.)


While I do realize I need to overcome some perfectionism issues (!), I think I will always love a journal with easily removable pages.  That's why I'm so thrilled about making these discbound journals.


Make a discbound notebook



I'm not a bullet journaler, but I like to do creative journaling, so I really love to work on a page and then insert it into the notebook afterward, rather than working on it directly in the journal.


Now, you can, of course, buy your own discbound notebook, but another huge plus about the discbound system is you can create your own discbound journal in a few minutes, with a few supplies, using any kind of paper you want.  Mixed media paper, smooth lettering paper, etc.  So, I'm drawn to the fun and creative aspects of making these, too.


If you love notebooks and journals and love the discbound system, with these supplies and steps, you can be making all of your own future journals, customized by size and function, far into the future. 


How to make a discbound notebook




This post will tell you exactly how you can create your own discbound art journal, discbound bullet journal, study journal, planner, list book, quote book, etc. (You get the picture-It's versatile.)  You only need a few things.



This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. 



Supplies:



Paper


The purpose of your notebook or journal will determine what paper to include.  Are you making an art journal?  If so, you might want to use watercolor paper or mixed media paper.  Are you creating a bullet journal that you will be using brush markers in?  Then, you might prefer to use HP Premium 32 paper that is very smooth and won't fray your brush markers.  You can even print dot grid  journal paper or printables on your printer, using your own paper. 

Or, mix it up and use several different kinds of papers in one notebook.

For the journal in these pictures, I used the HP Premium 32 paper, cut in half to make 8/1/2 x 5 1/2 inch pages. I love this paper because it's very smooth and doesn't fray my brush markers. It's also has nice weight for a printer paper. My fountain pens seem to like it too.  I may add some watercolor paper at some point. 


Scissors or Paper Cutter


If you'll be cutting your paper to a specific size, you'll need some scissors or a paper cutter. I have a simple sliding paper cutter that I bought years ago.  Scissors will take a little longer but will work just fine.


Discbound Hole Punch


A discbound punch is a type of punch that punches open sided, mushroom shaped holes, rather than the typical standard paper punch holes. This allows the paper to be removed without having to open rings, so it makes the paper much more easily removable.

I have this one.  The reason I chose this one is because my first discbound notebook was a Tul notebook that I bought at my local Office Depot/Office Max store. (The notebook is leather and a was a splurge.)






I soon realized that I could punch my own papers for the ultimate in versatility, so I bought the Tul brand discbound punch with a coupon, so that I could punch my own paper for that notebook. Then, I realized I could make my own discbound notebook.

The Tul discbound punch has worked well with my MAMBI Happy Planner discs - see below. Happy Planner has their own discbound punch as well. I haven't tried that one. I've heard that the Tul punch is a bit more heavy duty.  Arc and Levenger are 2 other brands that make discbound punches. I have heard that the Arc punch results in a little bit tighter pages that are a little hard to flip, but I haven't tried it. 

Most  of the punch brands and disc brands are compatible, but it's always good to check first. It's an easy online check to see if the punch you purchased will work with the discs you've chosen.

If you don't want to buy a discbound punch, you can still use this system. It will just take more time.  Google "discbound punch hack" for a way to use a hole punch, pencil, and scissors to create the punched edge. 


Discs


You will need some discs.  Discs are available at office supply stores, craft stores, and online. There are a wide variety of discs available. Lots of choices!  

Although Tul makes their own brand of discs, the discs in this journal are the MAMBI Happy Planner brand, and they work well with my Tul punch system.   

The gold metal ones I chose are very strong (I used a coupon at the craft store and didn't pay full price, but I've added the link so you can see which ones I used), and I just loved how the gold metal looked with the covers. I bought the medium (classic) size. The metal discs are more expensive than the plastic ones, but either metal or plastic discs will work.







I did also buy some smaller  plastic discs on clearance that I'm going to use to make a couple of smaller notebooks. 




The size of your discs will determine the thickness of your notebook. The mini-discs in the photo above will work for a thinner notebook.


 

Cover


You will want a cover.  Any heavy scrapbook paper would make a beautiful cover.  Or, use plain cardstock or watercolor paper, and design your own cover with artwork, stamps, collage, etc.   

I bought a pre-made cover  (that was already laminated for the journal in these pictures (because I fell in love with it when I found it online - 5.5"x8.5"), but you can just use your disc punch to make one of your own, and that's what I'll be doing for future journals.

Most office supply stores will laminate the covers for you, for a small charge. Or, you can invest in a laminator of your own, if you think you'll be using one a lot. The covers don't have to be laminated, of course.



What to Do:
















This part is so easy.  



  • First, you'll need to decide what size you'd like your pages.  You can make them any size you like. I made mine a half of a regular size copy paper size.  (Tip:  If you are wanting to cut a lot of paper at once, office supply stores will cut it for you, for a small charge.)




  • Next, you will use the discbound punch to punch the holes on the side of the paper.  The Tul punch (and probably most of the other brands) have a guide so that you can punch the pages according to size.) 






  • Next, you'll be making your cover. Just cut a piece of cardstock, watercolor paper, or sturdy scrapbook paper to the same size as your pages.  If you are going to be laminating your cover, the lamination will add a little added size to your cover (about 1/8th of an inch all around.)  If you're not going to be laminating the cover, feel free to make the cover slightly larger than the pages.  You can laminate the cover pieces or not. It's all up to you. 



  • Then, you'll be putting it all together.  Take your covers, and slip them onto the discs. 






  • Finally, slip the pages onto the discs. This can be the most time consuming part of the process, if you are adding a lot of paper. But, it doesn't take long.

To remove pages from the notebook, grab the sheet of paper at the top, near the center of the notebook (not out towards the edge), and pull gently toward you (not out to the side.) This method will make sure that you don't rip the punched edge of the paper.
















That's all there is to it.  With just a few steps, you will have a beautiful, easily expandable discbound notebook.  


What do you think?  If you give this a try, let me know how it goes.  I hope you love it as much as I do.



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14 comments

  1. I have never seen a notebook quite like this built from the ground up - so neat! I always like the idea of being able to doodle on the paper, and then insert it into the notebook instead of worrying about the color bleeding through or the binding getting in the way. Do they make sheet protectors for this size? I like to put my pages in those.

    Alexandra
    EyeLoveKnots.com

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    1. Thanks, Alexandra! What a good question about the page protectors. I hadn't even looked for those before, but now I want some! lol I did find some online, made by Levenger, and from what I've read, they are compatible with this Tul punch. They're called Circa Sheet Protectors. They are pricey though! I'm going to keep looking for some cheaper ones. Apparently, people DIY them too, so I'm curious about that and will watch some Youtube videos.

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  2. Love it, thanks for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for hosting the party!

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  3. Oh, how cute is that? I really like the color! Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Monthly Link Party 22. Shared!

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    1. Thanks so much, and thanks for hosting the party, Dee. It's much appreciated. :)

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  4. Wow it's gorgeous. I think I love the gold and how it matches the stock. And I think I'd love to laminate. I do see what you mean about being able to work on pages and THEN add them to a journal. Or even take some out, rearrange them, etc.

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    1. Thanks so much, Tamara. I'm kind of in love with this journal. The cover was a little bit of a splurge, especially because I could have made my own. But it's now my favorite journal, and I figure I'll have it forever. Taking the pages in and out easily has really made a difference for me.

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  5. This is beautiful my friend. I don't think I've ever seen a disc journal before. I love the gold hearts! xo

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    1. Thanks, Katherine. I've been so thrilled with the versatility of these discbound notebooks. They seem to combine so many features I love. And, yes, I love those gold hearts so much!

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  6. I've been thinking about doing this for a while. I have a 7 ring half binder I used back in the day but it's dated now. Something like this would be perfect for my needs. Thanks for sharing links and techniques with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

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    1. I think you would love it, Lydia. It's my favorite kind of notebook now.

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  7. This is great, I've been seeing these and want to get involved. I make my own art journals, and it would be great to move the pages around or take them out when I want.

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    1. Thanks so much, Donna. If you like making your own art journals, you might get hooked on this system like I did!

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