recommendations wanted for 3-ring mini binder

I've designed my own planner and am printing out the pages on 8.5 x 11" paper that I then cut in half to produce 5.5 x 8.5" planner sheets.

Office Depot had hundreds of binders but no mini binders to accommodate this size sheet. Staples did, but only with a 1" spine; it is a standard-issue vinyl binder using a stiff board.

I don't like this binder because the rings are too large for me to comfortably write on the left-hand page (I'm right-handed). I'm looking for a 3-ring mini binder with a flexible cover and no larger than 1/2-inch rings.

I've scoured the internet and can't find anything. Maybe some of the Daytimer covers would do, but I don't want to buy a $40 system just to toss the interior so I can use the cover.

I've considered improvising a binding with wire threads, as this would open up flat. I'd use stiff cardstock covers and there would be no spine. I might be able to make it look halfway decent, but I'd like to be able to add and remove sheets at will.

Originally I thought I would tapebind 200 sheets or so into a book, with no ability to add or remove sheets, but the spine will crack if I open it up flat every day. There is a perfect bound format called Repkover or Otabinding that allows a paperback to open flat, but I've never seen it offered at a Kinko's or other service bureau.

Can anyone offer a suggestion as to what would work for me: 5.5 x 8.5, 3-ring, 1/2-inch ring, soft cover?


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I can't help, but...

I'm looking for the same sort of thing, but UK A5 size. I've done my own research and had pretty much come to the same conclusions, but I actually bought the board folder from Staples, promising myself I would look around again in the pre-back-to-school sales that happen in August/September.

So if you find anything, I'd be grateful to hear it!!

Buy it


Buy a daytimer or whatever floats your boat, then sell the guts on ebay as a 'refill'.

You won't get much, but you'll recoup a little of your cost.

You could go with your cardstock idea and use loose notebook rings (sold at office supply places in packs of 10 or 25..). I wasn't very impressed with the rings themselves, but out of a big pack I found some that were usable. You have to wiggle and pull to get them open, so they won't fly apart on their own, probably.

You could get the vinyl binder, remove the ugly covers/spine (keep the metal binding part) then figure out what you want to use for a cover. You might have to drill out and reapply some rivets to attach it to a new piece of board. Or you could just peel off the vinyl and cover the board beneath with whatever you want (fabric, paper)..


Go Circa/Rollabind

This problem was my motivation to go with disc binding. All I could find for classic size ring binders were flimsy little ones with one-inch rings. The Franklin planner I was given by my work many years ago had heavy 1.5-inch rings.

Ring binding gives me more flexibility.

Just my opinion.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

There's the DayTimers on eBay


Still 9 to sell, $15 get you one.

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

For the DIY route

You could make your own dirt cheap binder. I did a write-up on my website on how to make one out of thin plastic sheet (like from milk containers) and thin card board. I am working on a slightly different version at present which uses less cardboad, and should upload more photos soon.

Try an Address Book

Try looking for a three-ring address book instead of a planner. I found one made by Avenues (RA-3416-02) at an office supply store (can't remember which one). I found it online at THIS PAGE (click on "Accessories"). It's the Black Executive Card Directory, number 3416-02 at $16.99. I found a similar one at Staples website HERE and at Office Depot's website HERE and HERE. All are under $20.


Thanks. Avenues didn't list

Thanks. Avenues didn't list the trim size, but the Card Directory at OD and Staples look like they might work. I'll check them out.

I just got to thinking....

I've scoured the internet and can't find anything. Maybe some of the Daytimer covers would do, but I don't want to buy a $40 system just to toss the interior so I can use the cover.

You don't have to throw everything out. Yes, the date pages, and other things, but the dividers can be extremely useful, as well as note pages and address book pages. I'm sure you can find uses for many of the stuff in one of these. BTW, I paid about $20 for some sort of DayRunner at Walmart, and it had three rings, and some nifty forms I was able to use, even though I tossed (put in storage, actually--still there, for all I know) the calendar pages. I'm sure you will find something--though the 1/2" rings will be tough.

Here's a thought. My cover came with a removable insert with the rings on it. If you can find one of those, and also find a 3-ring 1/2 Letter plain binder with D-rings, you can cut out the back cover, and slip it into your case to get what you want.

Alternately, try going Rollabind or Circa! ;-)


They are out there

Here's a 3 ring 5.5" x 8.8" binder for about $10

I've found this size of binder in the Address book and Business Card book sections in stationers.

I haven't had any problem

I haven't had any problem finding a binder this size. The problem here is the 1" spine. I'm tryng to find a binder with 1/2" rings, and that is what is posing the challenge.

that was why my suggestion....

of buying one with a removable ring system, that slips out of the case, then buying a 1/2" plain binder with D-rings, cutting out the back together with the rings, and slipping that into your case. Should work--so saying you can find 1/2" or even 3/4" binders. I've seen them for full-size notebooks, but for half-letter, they are probably more rare...


Russell and Hazel sells some

Russell and Hazel sells some really nice mini binders. They're a bit pricey, though, 14 bucks a pop:

3 cheers for Jenny!

Wow, those mini binders are perfect! They are a tad pricey for just a binder but they look worth every penny, especially with the dry erase interiors. Best of all are the color choices! While black and brown and red are all very dignified choices for professionals, I am a 23 year old student. I have no one to impress except my puppy and my fiancee. As such, I have been searching desperately for something with some color, pink to be exact. This site has two shades! Heaven! Anyway, thank you Jenny for that wonderfully useful link!


Check at a discount store, like Wal-Mart. They sell the vinyl 1" binders you're talking about, but they should also sell some cheap "no-name" planners. They may have something in their selection that has the type of binder you want, where you can toss the "guts" and *not* have spent what you'd spend on a Day-Timer or Franklin-Covey or something.

Another option is to check a used bookstore that sells "junky" books along with the good ones, and see if they have something that is in a binder like you want and, again, just toss the fillers.

Be blessed!
~Rachel <><

Mini Binders for 5 1/2" x 8

Mini Binders for 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 3-hole punched paper are fairly standard items on the Internet. These come in a variety of ring sizes starting as small as 1/2". I use a product from The Linton Company in Atlanta, GA, USA. You can view their selection of mini binders at...

They are available for $3.88 US each; I usually order quantities of 12 which drops the price to $3.10 US each.


Wow !! They have Classic size sheet protectors

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


I wish there was such a critter as a 1 1/2" inch binder.
And sheet protectors, too!!

Wonder if there is a less expensive source . . . . .

Other size

1 1/2 inch rings and 37mm rings are about the same size.

You may find some cheaper binders, sheet protectors, etc online with 37mm rings

1/2 inch classic binder


I ordered two of these 1/2" ring binders last week and they got here about an hour ago.
These are the Heavy Duty type with the clear view cover so you can put your own Title page or picture in there.

I'd recommend these if anyone is in the market for a small 3-ring binder.

I've been Circa-fied since 1998, but I've got a project going now that this is perfect for.

$17.98 for 2 notebooks, shipping and tax since we're in the same State.

I am a notebook junkie.

soft cover 3 ring binder 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Hi, I read all the suggestions as to where to locate the item, and admittedly, i havent tried the address book, card holder thing yet -- but, did anyone actually find a SOFT COVER version? And, if so, where? I dont care how many rings, as long as they are small and have refillable lined paper available, Thanks. p.s. any binder size starting at 5 1 / 2 x 8 1 / 2 or even up to 6 x 9 would work with a soft cover!

Mini binder - rings - soft cover

Officestuff - did you ever find a soft cover version ? If yes, then please do share any details you can ......

I have made leather 1/2 inch ring binders for...

I have made 1/2 inch ring binders for 5.5 X 8.5 inch paper.

Exactly what do you mean by "flexible cover?" What do you want the cover to be able to do?


thin 5.5" x 8.5" softcover binder

I am convinced that a 5.5" x 8.5" softcover binder with three 1/2" rings does not exist. I've searched long and hard. BEWARE: Some companies label a binder as having "3 rings" when it is actually a 3 ring/7 hole binder, which means it only works for 7-holed paper.

I agree that 1" rings are too large to write comfortably. I plan on experimenting with a cheap 5.5"x8.5" vinyl binder that has 1/2" rings so see if the 1/2" rings are comfortable for writing or not. If they are still too large, then I'm going to try a 15-hole plastic binding. I will 15-hole-punch thin cardboard (the type you find on the backing of notepads) and insert this contraption into an empty leather planner. This way I will be able to make my own 5.5"x8.5" planners year after year for next to no cost.

Dayrunner makes one...

If you go to the website and search for item 101-0204 you will find a 3-ring classic-size planner with 3/4" rings. I have this binder; it is nice.

russell binders

have you looked at the Russell + Hazel binders? Their mini binders are 1/2" and have great binders covers for 14-18.00. Enter Russell Hazel in google for the web site.

Russel + Hazel

Their binders look lovely I have to say. I've always wished we had them in the UK. Of course the size is all wrong for Europe but such is life.

A good recommendation I'd say

I just bought one at the

I just bought one at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store for 90 cents!

Have you considered a

Have you considered a vertical planner - with the rings at the top? I also make my own planners and refills. I purchased an accounting ledger at Walmart ($10.00) - removed the ledger pages and replaced them with my pages (5 1/2" horizontally x 8 1/4" vertically). I find this vertical "configuration" to be easier to use. I'm working on a smaller pocket version now (2 3/4 x 4 1/4).

mini binder

Russell+Hazel has awesome mini binders for about $16. I ordered mine from Amazon and I love it! (I got the green one. I thought it was patent, but it is linen. After two weeks, it's still okay. I wish I had the patent, though, so read carefully!)

I think I've actually still

I think I've actually still got one that I don't use anymore. It's just a shrunken version of a regular old binder (but a nice, sturdy one with the clear pockets on the outside). I may have already given it away, but I'm not sure. I'll check when I get home and post whether or not I still have it. If anyone still needs one, just contact me.


I was going to attempt to make my own but found FINDERBINDER
They carry 3 options of these small half-size 3 ring binders.

mini binders

The site he's referring to is BINDERFINDER

Yea, 3 EXPENSIVE options


$40, $39, and $19 !!
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Have you thought of the copy dept

Have you tried working with Office Max or whatever copy store is close. They will wire bind things for you. You can design a card stock cover and they offer clear protective covers.
You can also get the half page pockets to put in if you need to hold loose papers.

I am not sure if they offer anything other than the wire binding but they might know sources who have different options. Wouldn't hurt to look into.

Good luck.