You know, I’m beginning to think there’s no such thing as ‘planner peace’. At least, not a permanent one. Because our lives progress and things change, so our planners/bullet journals must adjust…
Ever since I made the switch to discbound, I’ve been asked where I got the different supplies from, and whether you can buy pre-made discbound BuJos.
In this post, I’ll be showing you the supplies and the steps I took to make my notebook almost completely from scratch, but I’ll be doing a post about pre-made discbound notebooks in the near future.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A DISCBOUND BULLET JOURNAL?
After a long time of journaling in regular notebooks (Leuchtturm and then Nuuna), I started missing the flexibility of my old Filofax Bullet Journal so much.
I was constantly putting off creating spreads or collections because I didn’t know where to put them. I didn’t like having random collections throughout my monthly & weeklies, because that just got me confused, flipping back and forth through pages like crazy.
I’ve tried different methods (indexing, starting collections from the back of the notebook, etc.), but none of them felt right to me.
My old Filofax BuJo had offered me the flexibility that I needed, but, being me, I wanted to try something new (mainly because Filofaxes are quite pricey and I had no use for the papers/inserts that come with it, just the actual binder).
Sooo, after stalking Nicole’s journal like a planner-lunatic-who’s-a-sucker-for-pretty-things, I had to try it out and make one of my own. I mean, her Bullet Journal is out of this world (it’s the absolute definition of creative), and even though I don’t have a fraction of her drawing skills, I thought the whole system would work great for me as well. I CAN draw pretty straight lines without a ruler though, so I got that going for me…
- Customizable and interchangeable covers
- Flexibility – taking pages in/out very easily
- Rearrangement of the pages
- You can use any type of paper you prefer
- You can add pockets in the back to hold loose paper
- You can punch in journaling cards
- Folds over on itself
- Easy archiving using Expander rings
- Not as sturdy, depending on cover material
- More bulky, depending on disc size
- Less carry-on friendly
- Discs might get in the way of writing comfortably (keep reading for a tip that might help)
Okay, so let’s dive in so I can show you how to make one of your own notebook. Here’s what you’ll need:
These are the discs that I have experimented with so far:
- Dokibook Disc Agenda Discs – Gold(1.3 in | 33 mm)
- Happy Planner Medium Discs – Gold (1.2 in | 32 mm)
- Happy Planner Medium Discs – Teal (1.2 in | 32 mm)
- Happy Planner Mini Discs – Gold (0.75 in | 19 mm)
- Happy Planner Mini Discs – Black (0.75 in | 19 mm)
- Atoma Discs – taken from the A5 notebook (0.8 in | 21 mm)
- Durable Duralook Discs – taken from folder, only available in EU (0.6 in | 16mm)
From the above-listed discs, all of them are made of plastic except for the Dokibook ones, which are metal.
- Levenger Circa Discs (1 in | 25mm)
- Staples Arc Notebook Discs (1 in | 25 mm)
- Martha Stewart Discs (1.25 in | 32mm)
All disc brands have the same shape (with negligible differences), so you don’t have to worry in case you want to switch them out – that’s the beauty of it!
They also come in a bunch of size & color options, so YAY for customization!
How many discs do you need?
- A4 notebook: 12 discs
- Happy Planner Medium Size: 9 discs
- A5 notebook: 8 discs
- Junior-size notebook: 8 discs
- Happy Planner Mini Size Notebook: 7 discs
What size discs should you get?
When choosing the size of the discs, the most important questions to ask are how many pages do you want your notebook to have, and what paper thickness are you using?
You should also consider the number/thickness of the dividers (if you’re gonna use any), and the thickness of the covers.
My notebook has 1.3in discs and I was able to fit 100 pages + 6 thick dividers + 2 laminated covers (and it still has a bit more room to add additional paper).
In general, you should keep adding pages until your notebook feels solid enough. You know you’ve added too many when it’s difficult to turn the pages. 🙂
2. PAPER PUNCHER
If you’re gonna do this, you need a special paper puncher. I mean, there’s a workaround it where you could use a regular hole puncher and scissors, but that would take you ages.
Here are your options:
- Happy Planner Puncher
- Levenger Puncher
My Happy Planner Puncher can punch through 2-3 pages (32lb/120gsm) at a time.
These paper punchers have more ‘punches’ than I needed (I only use 7 discs), so I unscrewed the last 2 of them and took them out. This way I made sure that it doesn’t punch more than I need.
The paper you decide to use is completely up to you. You can print & cut it yourself at home, you can use paper from different planners, you can use ruled, lined, dotted, plain paper. Bottom line: you’re the boss of your own paper. 🙂
I personally print the dot grid pattern at home and cut it to size. You can get the dot grid pattern that I use here. If you download the files you’ll notice that I don’t print 2 pages on one side because my printer automatically sets bigger margins than I like, and it would cut off some of the dot grid. This method wastes more paper, but… it works.
What paper thickness should you get?
The “32lb / 120gsm” stands for the thickness of the paper. Obviously, the higher this number, the thicker the paper.
The most common paper thickness is 20lb / 80gsm, but I personally prefer using 32lb / 120gsm as it doesn’t have any ghosting or bleed-throughs. You can find the one I use here.
Here’s where the fun begins because you can let your imagination go wild! There are so many options you can use for covers, especially if you make them yourself!
If you have a laminator you can buy cardstock paper that you can get pretty much anywhere and make a cover out of it.
First, cut the cardstock paper to size (I recommend you making them a little bit larger than the size of the paper). Next, run it through the laminator and cut the excess laminate off (don’t cut too close to the edge, otherwise you might open the laminate). Lastly, punch the covers and insert them onto the discs (keep reading to see how).
Laminating the covers is optional, but it greatly increases its durability.
The covers that I used are from Happy Planner (they are sold in packs, you can find similar ones here), and I just trimmed them to fit my size and punched them again (keep reading to see how). Note that the Happy Planner size is larger than A5/Junior, hence the cutting.
How to punch the covers
I’m not sure about the Levenger Puncher, but the Happy Planner one does NOT handle the laminated covers too well. I should know – I tried, and the cover got stuck in there. Not fun.
So here’s a neat trick for you:
In order to punch the covers, mark where your punches have to be and use a one-hole puncher.
5. DIVIDERS / DASHBOARDS
As with the covers, the options for the dividers are as limitless as your imagination. I made mine from thick cardstock paper, and these come is SO many pretty designs that it’s gonna be hard to resist switching them out every week.
You could also laminate these dividers, but I prefer the cleaner look of having them the same size as the paper.
These dividers can serve as dashboards as well, meaning you could add sticky notes or stickers to it, for quick access.
At the top of the dividers, I attached some tabs that I designed and made myself (I’ll have those printables uploaded on my Etsy shop really soon). You could also make them really easily by hand, or printed on your computer.
Of course, you can always save yourself the hassle and buy pre-made dividers.
I divided my Bullet Journal into 6 categories (but I’m sure these will change with time): Journal, Blog, Plan, Collections, Doodles, Ideas.
6. OPTIONAL SUPPLIES
If you have the discs, paper and covers you’re pretty much set, but here are some additional supplies you might need.
- Laminator (if you want to laminate your covers/dividers to improve their durability)
- Paper cutter (to make your life easier when cutting the pages to size)
- Corner rounder (if you want your pages & covers to have nice, smooth and non-pocky corners)
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The total cost of the notebook will heavily depend on which of these supplies you’ll be using. However, just as reference, I’ll show you how much making my own notebook cost.
- Paper (500 sheets): $13
- Discs: $10
- Covers: $6
- Paper puncher: $19 (on sale now)
- Cardstock paper for dividers: $10
Keep in mind that these supplies (apart from the discs) are enough to make 4-5 notebooks.
So, is it worth spending this amount of money? You decide.
For me, it was worth it because I can use the 500 sheets of paper, the paper puncher and the cardstock for many other projects. On top of this, I have the flexibility of making my own inserts whenever I want without having to buy them pre-punched, paying for shipping, waiting for them to arrive, etc. I can also make a bunch of my own covers, dividers, etc.
Optional supplies (had already purchased them):
These supplies are reusable for many different projects, so I’m not adding them to the total cost of the notebook.
HOW TO PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER
- Prep the paper (e.g. print, cut to size, round the corners, etc.)
- Make the covers (e.g. laminate, cut to size, round the corners, etc.)
- Get your discs and insert the back and front covers onto them. This will ensure that they stay put while you’re inserting the paper. Then, open up the covers and lay it flat on the table.
- Insert the paper between the covers, about 5-10 sheets at a time. Align the paper on top of the discs and start pushing down in between the discs – they should pop right in. If you’re having trouble, it probably means you’re trying to fit too many pages at a time, so adjust accordingly.
- Insert the dividers (if you have any)
- Enjoy your new notebook!
And that’s pretty much it, guys! 😀
If you have any questions or if I didn’t manage to explain something properly, please feel free to write to me, I’m always happy to help!
Also, if you end up making one, please tag me on Instagram (@my.life.in.a.bullet) or send me a picture! I’d love to see how it turns out.