Recently I've become obsessed with these...just can't figure out what I'd actually use them for! I don't really use notebooks for much (and in fact have tons of notebooks that are half-used from both high school and college). Most of my notes and such at work are done electronically or are jottings on scrap paper.

I thought of using the junior-size for a journal, but I'm not sure I'd want something that is bound so impermanently (I usually use case-bound notebooks)...does anyone use Circa/Rolla for this? Would it stand up to months of use, and then years of storage with perhaps some episodes of leafing back through it? I have my doubts about this.

Also, I've looked at Staples, but the Rolla notebooks they carry are different than the ones on Rollabind's site (and they seem to be "rebranded" as "Staples Rolla"). I'd like to have the clear plastic cover, not the hard fabric-covered ones at Staples. Do any Staples carry the plastic covers? I'm thinking if I finally take the plunge, I'd just get the starter set from Levenger. And, I've tried to find Rollabinds on the Staples site (and indeed the Rolla notebook I looked at tonight said more accessories were available on the Staples site) but I've tried searching "Rollabind" and "Rolla" and it comes up with nothing. Am I missing something, or is it truly not on their site?

And anyone know why the punches are so ridiculously priced? I mean, for that price I'd at least expect them to punch a lot more pages than 3 or 8! Is it just that Levenger/Rolla have a corner on the market (or that they want you to buy their refills rather than make your own!), or is there something fantastically difficult about producing these punches?

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I use my circa/rolla bound planner daily... multiple times each day and everything holds up fine. I have not had any trouble with durability or longevity yet.

Staples did not have any rollabind products for several months... they probably have not gotten the warehouses and website current with all the new products yet. Rollabind also went through some changes at the corporate level from what I recall - this would cause some delays, etc. Staples probably paid to get their name but it is still the rollabind/circa system.

the punches are extremely well made and heavy. i have the desktop rollabind version and it is HEAVY. i seriously keep it out at all times in case i need a 'blunt object' for self-defense. :) it is not impossible to create your own system... check out my blog for DIY Rolla/Circa punching (link in my siggy). ... if you use a lot of scrap paper - you could take the paper out of your old partially used notebooks and create a few 'scrap pads' using the circa/rolla system. :)

If you don't really have a need to go all out... you may be able to get by with a circa sampler from Levenger and not invest in a punch. It all depends on how deep you want to jump into the rolla/circa craze :)

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Other uses


Consider other uses of rolla/circa that you maybe use something else for today.


Financial papers, like back copies of bills and the like that you save for tax purposes.
Kid art, the kind on construction paper with cereal and the like.
Scratch paper by the phone or at work or in your purse or pocket.
Files you work with a lot that need to stay tidy.
Research papers--I used to do genealogy research with lots of paper forms.
Perpetual tickler file--just flip the page dividers around to the back for the next month!
Keepsakes, like birthday cards or letters from friends/family, that you want to save.
Newspaper and magazine clippings.
Household gadget manuals.

There are, of course, other ways to save all this stuff. But Rolla is handier than a 3-ring binder precisely because it doesn't have to be gigantic, and using rolla in combination with good file folders keeps files in order and they won't spray everywhere if you drop the folder. Scrap paper can be cut down from misprints to a notebook size you like, and then you can move the scraps into other notebooks if needed. I take my meeting notes on scraps and stick them in a rolla-file. :)

Anyway, the difficult/expensive part of the punches is probably a combination of factors.
1) the weird shape of the punches themselves, the mushrooms. Can't get these just anywhere.
2) Punching 11 or 12 holes at once requires a lot of strength, so the frame and hinge have to be very strong and durable. Strong, durable materials are often more expensive than weaker stuff. This is also why you can only punch a few sheets--it takes all of my not inconsiderable weight to punch a .020" piece of plastic, and I have to jump. It's not the punch head that keeps you from punching a bunch, it's the force per unit of punch area. :)
3) Yes, it's patented, so they make them where they want and charge what the market will bear. The price of the punch is actually an encouragement to use the binding system for more than just notebooks. :)

If the format becomes popular, there will be competition and price drops when the patent runs out. But it has to become popular first. :)


Some answers

Do any Staples carry the plastic covers?

Nope. That's Levenger Circa

I'm thinking if I finally take the plunge, I'd just get the starter set from Levenger.

Probably your best bet.

I've tried searching "Rollabind" and "Rolla" and it comes up with nothing. Am I missing something, or is it truly not on their site?

No, you are not missing anything. Staples does not put the "Rolla" products in its regular catalog as they are seasonal items. The "new crop" just hit the shelves about a month ago. My local Staples got about 5 of each kind of notebook -- period. No more. No special orders possible. I find it very disappointing to the point that I almost totally ignore STaples for "Rolla", but I do keep my eye open (just in case).

If you are fortunate, there is a Levenger retail store near you.

"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)

Rollabind sells the plastic

Rollabind sells the plastic covers on their site...but not at Staples (and, in reverse, doesn't sell the hardbound cloth covers on the site...).

The other thing I don't get is that they sell the cover material in clear plastic, but not the notebooks themselves. *sigh*

And, of course, there are not even any Levenger stores in my state. *eye roll*

*Nudge* *Nudge* *Wink* *Wink*


Got them from a friend who says they fell off the back of a truck :)
"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)

Levenger sampler

I took the circa plunge after purchasing the Levenger sampler. If I wasn't obsessed before, I am now. The sampler also helps you to figure out which size(s) work best for you for each situation.

I keep a compact size in the purse for home stuff -- lists, emergency contacts, stats from the kids' doctors appointments. My purse is cavernous and a dangerous place for delicate items -- despite that, the Levenger circa compact I received through the sampler remains intact.


Thanks for all the ideas!

Thanks for all the ideas!

I've been using them for a few months

I've been using the Myndology variation for a few months, and finally bought the punch from Levenger last week (it arrived yesterday).

I use a 3"x5" card group for contacts, quick-view calendar, and other short notes. I also carry a junior-sized notebook as a journal and for things that are too big for the 3"x5". I also used a 3"x5" pad for a knitting pattern, writing each group of rows on one card, so that I can flip them as I finish them, and then flip back to repeat the sequence.

While using these, I kept coming up with more ideas to use them - hence the punch order:
- more template pages for both sizes of planner; I can print whatever I like, on whatever I like, punch it and stick it in.
- coupon organizer/shopping list; I'm going to adapt index cards into pockets for my coupons in as many categories as I want, then create a shopping list for each category, which I can print on cards and tuck in front of each pocket.
- craft patterns; as I mentioned above, it lends itself to knitting patterns, but I can see using it in similar fashion for other patterns as well.

I had some other ideas, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

"I want to live in Theory. Everything works there."

2 questions: 1) how well

2 questions:
1) how well does "regular" paper (printer/copier paper) stay in these notebooks?
2) For those of you that love these, what is better about them than a 3 ring binder? What is the advantage?


I use regular copy paper in my homemade circa/rolla notebooks and they hold up just fine. I use a slightly heavier weight or reinforce with clear packing tape for things I move around a lot. I havent had anything not work yet... lol.

I prefer this sytem because I can include any size paper in any size notebook... I can also create any size notebook on a whim. I can move things back and forth without making nasty noises... there also is no risk of pinching fingers or wrists. I often change my covers and move things around to try a new method of structuring and everything is useable - I don't have to redo things which I adore.

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Quite well, actually...

1. I tend to use thicker, better paper as a matter of habit for my printing habits for these things, but it holds up just as well as my Levenger paper. I personally think that the cover is the most important part of keeping everything stiff and in the binder. I have some books with thinner, paper covers, and every now and then, a top or bottom smurf works its way loose when the book is bent extremely (usually working on my lap--don't use paper covers if you want to work on your lap. ;-)

2. 3-ring just doesn't hold a candle! With my schedule book in a 3-ring, I constantly fought with the rings--especially when the book was rather full, and I needed to move pages from the front or back--I was forced to remove whole sections, just to get one page! And then, because there are only 3 rings, those holes tended to undergo a lot of stress, with torn pages being the result, and pages falling out (once one hole tears, the others tend to follow).

3. To combine 1 and 2. Because I'm a lefty, and writing right next to the rings (on the right-hand page) is a literal pain in the wrist, I find that with Circa, when writing on that side, it is a simple matter ot rip out the page, write, and put it back--it becomes second nature. Try that with 3-ring! Add to that the benefit of being able to constantly re-arrange pages (Bible reading journal, for one--as I complete a page, it goes to the back in the "archive"--schedule, as I go past a date, it also gets moved--or meeting details, get moved) to keep things both neat and orderly. Really, there's no comparison, IMO, if you want convenience of moving pages, and not destroying your pages, or your rings, to get it done. ;-)

4. As Sara, I believe, said it, you can combine multiple page sizes. My main combo is A5 and 3x5 cards--or A7-sized pages (in portrait, A7 is slightly shorter than a 3x5). But I also toss in A6-sized pages. It's odd, but I have yet to make an A4-sized notebook! I don't know why... But in any case, you can't beat Circa/Rolla for flexibility.

That said, 3-ring does have benefits--it's standard, fewer holes to punch, and you can get portable, flat punches. Plus, since the holes are in the middle, not the edge, loose pages tend to "catch" less on things. But those are about the only benefits I see from 3-ring...


OK - I'm going to give it a try....

I got a rolla at staples and ordered the punch (since I expect that MANY of the "forms" I will want will be custom-built).

The thing I liked best once I played with it was that the front cover can go all the way around to the back, so it not only lays flat (and firm - the staples ones have a hard cardboard cover) but isn't much bigger than the paper. A 3 ring almost always ends up taking a LOT more room....

I may have to buy better paper though - I've been buying the less expensive 30% recycled stuff, which is only 20lb paper....

Try 24 lb paper

I use 24 lb Hammermill Premium Multipurpose paper in my Circa notebook. I print classic size (5.5"x8.5") templates on letter size paper, cut them apart and punch them. This paper is smooth, can be printed in laser or inkjet printers, and takes my fountain pen inks pretty well. I'm sure there are others like this, but it's definitely better to use heavier paper. The usual 20 lb copier paper doesn't cut it, IMHO.

24 lb paper is relatively easy to find. You might be able to find 32 lb or some other weight too.


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
B. Banzai?


24lb Staples paper is just as good, though their 28lb paper is better. Both have some post-consumer recycled paper content.

no moving parts.

what i love best is that there are NO moving parts in the circa system.

while the rings CAN move, they dont need to keep the system in shape. so what that means is that while a 3 ring binder can and will break with moderate use, since there are no moving parts there are no rings to break or pieces to malfunction. even old composition notebooks have stitching that can come off over time. this on the hand will be fine as long as you use 60LB weight paper of better.

Levenger stole ALL of my money, but they left me all these nice, shiny organizational tools.

Clic clac

All that the others said is true.

I'd just add that I really dislike the clic-clac sound of 3-ring binders. Circa notebooks are totally silent... :)

what i use circa for.

So here goes:

Wine Journal (I work in a wine shop)
Junior, ruled sheets, 1.5 inch rings with monthly tabs.

Work Agenda
Junior, leather jacket (old size), monogrammed, ruled sheets, 1.5 inch rings, calendar monthly tabs, Color tabs, notes, tab, business card holder (12 cards), sudoku

Home Agenda
Junior, ruled, 3/4 inch rings (3 sections, agenda w/ to do lists, knitting patterns, books read)

Wine Class Notebook
Letter, grid and lined sheets, 3x5 holder sheets

Hipster PDA
PDA, leather, monogrammed, grid cards

Desk Punch
5 page markers
3 MicroPDA (one clipped to wallet for a circa wallet writer).

well now that i write it out its pretty full but i still want to know what you guys have and what you are using your circa for. what are some uses i may not have thought of.

Levenger stole ALL of my money, but they left me all these nice, shiny organizational tools.

I thought of another

I thought of another idea...a while ago on an art community someone was asking about a sketchbook that could have both watercolor and sketch paper, etc, as she wanted. I suggested a Circa, and then she could put in whatever pages she wanted, however she wanted.

This is an idea I might try...

works great!

Some days I feel like drawing, some days sketching, some days playing with pen and ink. I toss whatever I feel like that day into my book and I'm good to go :D I love it!

my artwork | my blog

rollabind journals

Not only do I use rollabinds as journals, I have a whole collection of them. I have a junior one for when I travel, but when I'm at home, I often keep a visual journal--collage, watercolor--not writing. So I got some sturdy cardboard, made the 12 x 12-inch covers and put all the big pages in there.

The big advantage is that you can shuffle the pages around to develop topics, see how your work is changing, see if the full moon affects your writing, etc. I love them and so far, about three years into it, they hold up just fine. And I do a lot of shuffling. OK, one of them is a little worn, which adds to its charm.

I've discovered that I also like to change covers. Sure, you can use the plastic ones, but my favorite is to use Fed-X envelopes and make the covers out of Tyvec. They NEVER wear out. With some imagination, you can develop ones that button shut, tie shut with leather straps, etc.

Then I got enthusiastic, and created journal prompt cards that were bound together by rollabinds. To read about that story, visit my blog, QuinnCreative

certified creativity coach


I recently purchased the sampler bundle from Levenger and plan on using my junior notebook as my sermon notebook. It makes it handy to be able to insert illustration cards, extra notes, one handy little notebook. My congregation may look at me funny since I'll be preaching from a clear covered notebook (with the biblical text inserted) but it makes sense. Plus, I'll have a nice book to take with me on travels if I need to use the same message again.

clear cover

And you can always change the cover or create a slipcase. Ahhh, the joys of circa! Yes, it is possible to "pimp my Levenger's!"
certified creativity coach

I do this too...

In fact, you can see one copy LINK

You'll notice that this version uses your Bible-reading plan from here, but I've got another one I recently made, in which I'm doing what you are doing. I printed out Ephesians in English and Polish, along with notes pages, from which I teach on Wednesday night. It makes it nice and compact.

As to the book--with Circa, it's simple to pull out the pages you need for the pulpit, and put them back afterwards, if you don't want the book right on the pulpit. :-)



something went wrong with my coding! And now, DIYP won't let me edit my own post!!! argh... Sorry.


Seen that too...

Occasionally I've seen Drupal do that with my posts. The only thing I can think is that I logged out of here for some reason --- a rare reboot for example.

Visited a Staples today in Walla Walla

Finally got out of town today (our band had a gig in Walla Walla, Washington) and quickly ran into the Staples there. They had the Rollabind Jr. and letter size notebooks with Staples name on them. They are not bad looking- some fabric and one leather-looking. They have 70 sheets of paper, a bookmark, index divider, folder page to hold other papers. For the price...not bad. My fountain pen loved the paper. Just a report from the field. Gotta get some sleep. Have to play for the Farmer's Market tomorrow morning ....brrrr!

"To fly, we must have resistance."