Now that you’ve printed your planner, you probably want to know how to bind your planner. Here are my tips for binding a printable  planner – which will work with the Busy Life Planner system or any other weekly planner.

You’re going to want a binding system that allows you to fold the pages completely flat, and write on them without the bindings getting in the way. Here are three binding methods that do the job nicely:

  • Ring binding in a planner cover
  • Spiral binding
  • Disc binding

(PS – My favorite binding method is disc binding, so be sure to read all the way down to that one!)

General Planner Assembly Tips

Before I get started, here’s a couple of general hints:

  • Print your cover on heavy duty card, or laminate it.
  • Use a few section dividers in your planner. Place dividers between sections such as monthly calendars, weekly pages, note pages.
  • Consider adding a heavy duty plastic pocket to the back, to hold business cards, notes and a pen.
  • You can add a place marker by taping a ribbon to the inside of the back cover, or using a big loop of elastic placed around the back cover and back pages.

Using A Planner Cover

How to use a planner cover to bind your printable planner

If you have a beautiful diary cover that you love, you can use it to hold your printed Busy Life Planner pages. There are some beautiful leather planner covers available from suppliers such as Kikki K, Filofax and Debden, who all stock full sized and half sized covers. Covers can be pricey, but a lovely cover can be a good investment, because you will be able to use it year after year. You may have to buy a cover with planner pages included, so you can discard those you don’t want, and replace them with your own printed pages.

Make sure your planner cover is sized to take standard full sized or half sized paper. You will need to then punch holes to fit the position of the rings. It is possible to purchase 6 hole punches, but you can also use a single hole punch (available at stationary and craft stores). Just use one of the diary’s existing pages to trace the position of the holes onto your Busy Life Planner pages, and punch away.

This can be a time consuming process. But on the plus side, you will be able to purchase accessories such as dividers and plastic pockets ready-made to fit your planner cover. And the end result will look beautiful!

Spiral Binding Your Planner

How to spiral bind your printable planner

This is perhaps the simplest and cheapest method for binding your planner. It provides a flat, neat finish, and you can fold your planner back on itself easily.

Spiral binding can be done for you by many printers and office suppliers, so I’m not going to talk about using your own spiral binding machine here. It’s a simple matter of taking your printed pages to the service provider and getting them to do it for you. This is usually quite cheap, and you can request binding for various paper sizes.

You will usually receive a front and back cover with the service. If you’re planning on using a decorative cover (like these free printable covers), you can insert it behind their clear plastic cover for protection. Alternatively, ask if they will add a laminated cover into the spiral binding. In either case, I recommend printing your cover on heavy card – around 250-300gsm.

Ask also to have any extras like dividers or plastic pockets included in the binding.

Hint: Double-check the order of your pages before binding, as they can’t easily be re-ordered.

Disc Binding Your Planner

How to disc bind your planner

Now this is a method I only recently came across and it has got me soooo excited! This is referred to as ‘discbound’ binding, and it uses little plastic discs, plus a special hole punch to hold everything together. The magical thing is…you can pull out and add in pages any time you like. Woo!

This is an absolutely awesome feature, because if you change your mind on your planner layout or want to add in a new section, you can do it easily. You can also remove previous weeks’ pages to reduce planner bulk.

Disc bound planner pages

The downside is…the hole punch is expensive. I’ve invested in one, because I’m planning on using it for everything. But if you don’t want to spend the big bucks, you can buy pre-punched blank paper inserts, or a notebook that you can then pull apart and use. You can also buy covers, dividers, different colored discs and other accessories for this system. Though as you see in the photo above, I’ve re-punched a ring-binder dividing page, and it holds in just fine.

Hint: Slightly thick paper is best for use with the disk binding system. Use a paper weight of 90gsm plus.

If you’re in the US, you can purchase the disc binding system, refills and accessories from Staples in the US. Australian shoppers can also buy the system through Staples in Australia, but they have a limited range of additional supplies (such as no blank refill pages or small discs). You can find all of those supplies at Atoma.

So how have you bound your planner? Do you have any helpful tips to share?