labelling the "spine" of a Circa/Rollabind notebook

One of the few complaints I have against the Circa and Rollabind type notebooks is I've ended up using multiple ones and it is tricky at a glance to tell which notebook is which because there isn't a good way to label the "spine".

The majority of rings in the notebooks I use are black and I found out I still have a working whiteout pen. Actually the label on it says "liquid paper" but whatever. If I write fairly small, I can fit one letter (or number) per ring on the outer edge. I can also write in the middle of the flat part of the ring.

Now, the liquid paper pen is pretty rough to write on plastic with, and I'm sure it will rub off fairly easily. This is just a proof of concept. I think I'd be better off getting stickers. I briefly considered Testors or some kind of model paint made for use on plastic, but I'm not wanting any changes I make to be 100% permanent.

Stickers seem to be the best bet: you can remove them if you feel like it, easy to apply, no mess, and I don't think they'd interfere with turning the pages.


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That's one of the reason

That's one of the reason I've ordered disc binders from Rollabind. I like spines. And stiff covers.

storage binders?

Are you talking about the "Storage Binders" available on I saw those but it looked like they are only available in letter size and I'm using Junior size for just about everything. Am I reading it right that the large Rollabind rings are built into those?



They have two other types besides the storage binder (link), but they're letter size too. Which is what I need for school, which is why I ordered them.

They should be here Monday or Tuesday. I hope. I'm eager for them to arrive...

Here's a Photo of One I Made

Here's a photo of a plastic spine I made using a Pendaflex plastic folder: LINK

I just used a paper cutter to cut it to size (in this case quarter page, 4.25" x 5.5").


I saw those....

and also by Judyofthewoods (or is that judyinthewoods?) and made a couple myself out of thick cardstock paper.

What's really cool about it is that you can fold the secondary folds at different distances from the center fold for different sized rings. The two I've made, I've now folded multiple times. That got me thinking that maybe I could also "roll" the middle around the smurfs, to make something that would handle multiple thicknesses of paper. That's my next project.

What's cool about the paper I'm using (A5) is that on a 1/4" ring, it fits perfectly over the older Levenger Junior sized notepads. I've been cutting down my own printouts to match that size, and it works great.
Also, as you mentioned, you have a spine to write on. I'm looking forward to that ability.

Disk codes?

I think I saw Ryan using a single silver disk at one end of a Circa notepad to give a quick visual clue to which is the front and back. If you currently use black disks, you could identify different "books" by where you place a single silver disk on the spine. If you wanted to be really geeky you could use multiple silver disks with the black ones and code them in binary! Of course you'd have to remember what each code means so its not so obvious as a written spine but for a few books it should work.

I only have black disks so it looks like I'm talking myself into getting some coloured ones.


Color Coding

What a great idea. But why stop at just binary? The rings come in lots of colors. Back when I was a real electrical engineer and actually played with electricity, I could read color coding on resisters. It made those components pretty in a geeky sort of way. Maybe you could come up with color coding for the rings on notebooks. Make it look like a really cool pattern which only you know has meaning.

Lisa PT

color coding via single disks

The sample pack I got from Ryan had one notebook with all blue rings but two gray ones at the top while the other notebook was all gray with the two blue ones on top. Very handy for telling top from bottom, but I don't feel see how it helps in telling front from back.

Color coding is a good idea, but I just think an actual label would be easier.


Design problem

Anything that would permit spine labelling would mess up or eliminate the ability to fold the cover around.

It's a trade-off.

This needs some more cogitation, cerebration, and a bit of rumination.
"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)

Not so.


You could drill a hole through your 'top' disc and use one of those round metal/paper tags and a cheap keyring to label your book. The keyring moves as the rest of the book moves, and the little tag won't interfere with anything closing either. If you put it on a short chain instead of just a ring, it could be a bookmark, I suppose..

Anyway, if you drill a hole in the disc, you can tie a ribbon or string to it, then put your label on the end of the ribbon or string. Depending on the size of your label, it won't interfere with folding back at all.

The drilling part requires a piece of equipment--not everyone has a drill, but if you don't and you have a house or apartment or furniture, you need one. Just a small bit would do the job--larger disc enables larger hole, but a large hole isn't required.


seeing is believing...

Anything that would permit spine labelling would mess up or eliminate the ability to fold the cover around.

Actually, at least with the cardstock ones I made, they do fold around just fine. I took a couple pics and am uploading them onto Flickr for you. The first photo is here...


(others follow)

As you can hopefully see from the photos, the spine is there, written on, and folds back just fine. This was just an example, sort of, so the "binder" I made is a tad too small, but that's fine for me for storage and archiving.



Is that just cardstock folded around a Circa notebook? That looks like it would work great for what I'm wanting to do.


Yes it is.

I don't remember the basis weight (which would be in grams anyway) but it's heavy paper I use for covers on booklets I make--like this. :-) It's been working fine.

If you look on the Flickr site, you can see how it was punched and folded via the link I posted in the caption (If you saw an earlier version, the link wasn't there. try going back and checking again.) I basically folded an A4 sheet in half, rollapunched it, and then folded two more folds in the opposite direction about a quarter inch from the middle fold (larger rings need more space).


Awesome !!

I tried a cover like that by chopping up a manilla folder and it works great.

When you open and fold over, the cover is creased in the middle and then becomes like a double thickness divider.

As a rule of thumb, the width of the spine, I think, should match the disc diameter.

OK. I have a new "I-gots-to-have-it" on my list. If you look at the rotary cutters made by Carl (the folks who now own Rollabind) they have varios replaceement blade discs -- perforated and deckle and such. One of the dicsc is a SCORING blade. Perfect for doing this kind of cover.

I'll add a link in a few.
"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)

sweaty palms....

Please, please tell me they have a perforator too! (One cool trick with thos are those rip-off corner on daily and weekly pages!)


Two at once !!

or better yet, since we know these folks:

Actually, the Wilde-Ideas link is better as you can choose the cutter you want and they DO make perforating and scoring blade for all the ones I have looked at.
"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)

Adorama sells these!

Wow! I guess it makes sense.... people love to use these things to cut photographs--but perforating? weird...

Thanks so very much!


Actually, it does....

If you know that the odd colors are to be at the top, when they are at the top, you have the book aligned right-side-up, so the front is on the front. Otherwise, it's upside down, and the back is in the front.

However, this trick is more useful with a top-bound hipster with a blank cover, as Ryan had. It was pretty plain, and one could easily open up backwards, looking at the back of the cards, rather than the front...



Yes, it was Ryan's top bound hipster that I was thinking of. I have a simple 3x5 "ubiquitous capture tool" with three disks and black covers and I'm forever opening the wrong side - which is why I was thinking of getting an "odd" disk rather than simply changing one of the covers (I like the plain black covers).



I'm still leaning toward the sticker idea. If they are small enough and completely flat, they shouldn't interfere with the pages turning. The only thing I'm not sure about is how well they'd stay on if they are on the outer edge of the disc. I may have to just put them on the flat side.

Here's the kind of thing I was thinking of getting Wilde Ideas stickers I may have to pay a visit to the scrapbooking section of the nearby arts & crafts stores. We have Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby nearby.


you could use a label from

you could use a label from such as a Brother Labeler.
make the label the width of the spine with 1/2" extra then stick a blank label to the reverse but NOT over the 1/2" sides- use them to attach to the front and back covers of the Notebook. (it will look like a tiny handle)

How about a "flag?"

What I mean is, punch a short rectangular strip of thin plastic (maybe about 0.5" wide and 1.5" long) and clip it to the rings such that it is outside the covers. That is, on the outside of the rings with the notebook closed. You could write on it, use different colors, and in different positions to differentiate your notebooks. It wouldn't get in the way of folding over the covers and it could stick out like a tab when your notebooks are stacked on a bookshelf.

Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
B. Banzai

Something similar...

Take a piece of paper about two inches wide (however long you want to fit the length or your binder, or shorter), and fold it in half twice, so, instead of 2 inches wide, it's 1/2" wide. Now, turn one of the last folds and fold it backwards, so you have an "M" or "W" fold. Now, you punch that with the middle fold and two edges getting the smurfs.

Now, when you open it, one row of smurfs should look something like this:

Edge of paper—> |—) | (— —) | (—| <—edge of paper

(the vertical lines in the middle are where the folds are)

I think the use, once you punch one, will be obvious--just do the writing _before_ you mount it on your discs. ;-)

If this is all confusing, just ask, and I'll post a pic or two on Flickr. :-)


Silver Sharpie

Instead of using White-Out, why not try using a Silver Sharpie? It shows up well on black.

Circa Notebook Spine Labels


Haven't posted here in a long time but I came up with a simple little hack for labeling the spine of a Circa notebook that I thought might be of interest to Circa-philes:

Circa Notebook Spine Labels

Hope this triggers some new ideas...



That is a smart idea!

Levenger now has spine labels

Levenger now has spine labels. But IMO, they might interfere with turning, because they are more boxy than flat. I'm personally growing very fond of the bookmark idea, but the drilling... I'm thinking of using plastic, punching it, and sewing a ribbon on. But then the plastic sewing... You can see my dillema. Anyone try a system similar, that allows a bookmark and no drilling?

You could glue the ribbon to the plastic instead of sewing it.

There are fabric glues available at craft store.

Another alternative is to punch a hole on the top or at page level of the plastic and thread a ribbon in it.


now i feel like an idiot. Of course. punching a hole. Gah, how could I have never thought of that? A little pretty ribbon, perhaps the nice looped elastic one I have (elastic looks on nonelastic ribbon, i'd use a loop to secure it)....
thanks, for that great idea.

We will need pictures of those bookmarks :)

Your idea inspired my idea that is what is great about this site. :)