circa/rolla sheet protectors

Has anybody else tried self-smurfing sheet protectors?

In trying to get my SO as hooked on this stuff as I am, I am now trying to make a circa/rolla binder of all the recipes that she tears out of magazines. She said this was the only thing she thought would be worth it to her, since for recipes having the binder lay flat would be great. And, she wants the pages in sheet protectors so they don't get all messy in the kitchen.

The Levenger site sells 5 letter size protectors for $12! No way I can justify that to my SO. Not when the office store sells about 200 letter size sheet protectors for $5

I've tried smurfing my own (have a rolla-bind punch) and there are a couple of issues. 1 - it seems to stretch, rather than cut cleanly. Fixed this by using a thin piece of scrap paper underneath the sheet protectors.

2- have to be very careful to make sure the sheet protector doesn't drift out. Unless the sheet is all the way back, the tabs are too flimsy to really hold onto the rings well.

3- can really only smurf 2 at a time (plus the scrap sheet), but I can smurf a lot of them while I'm watching Sunday football.

Those two things (look at my profile, I freely admit to being math challenged) may be issues precisely because I'm using the cheapest sheet protectors available. Has anybody else tried this? Does using the heavyweight sheet protectors make it grip better? Have you found the Levenger sheet protectors of a high enough quality to justify the extra cost?

As soon as we get a mutually clear weekend we're gonna head to the Circa Bar in Tyson's Corner, but wanted to see if anybody here had already tried all these options and had wisdom to share.

-awaiting wisdom

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I haven't tried this. So my

I haven't tried this. So my suggestion may not work.
Have you thought of re-enforcing the sheet protector with clear packing tape?

Rollabind has sheet protectors also. Maybe a little less expensive.

I am a notebook junkie.

worth a shot, but

does punching through tape reduce the life of the punch? I was kind of nervous about even the sheet protectors. [horrible memories of the wrath brought down on my head for using _the fabric scissors_ for anything but fabric in my childhood. I was told that using them on anything else dulled them. Or maybe that was just my mom protecting her scissors from walking off?]

You're right, rollabind does have reinforced, archival quality sheet protectors at 10 for $8 or 50 for $30. Much less expensive, and the difference in quality probably does justify the extra cost over the 'economy weight' ones I've got right now.

- getting wiser

Levenger Sheet Protectors

are VERY thick, almost like their covers. I don't recommend them. I used clear plastic wallets but had the same problems you are having until I used sellotape as reinforcement. It does help if you buy the better quality ones as well but even then it is a messy job. I've had more success using letter protectors, open on the top and the side, as these seem to be slightly thicker. I use them with top quality paper and they work well. Hope this helps.



Another option would be to simply laminate the recipes themselves rather than put them inside a pocket.

Example: nice heavy packing tape for ultra-cheap protection. It punches nicely and is wipeable. Just overlap your strips slightly.

Another possibility would be *real* laminating. There are removable sheets and permanent sheets. I can tell you there's a style from Xyron that's finicky to get on (non-repositionable) but punches nicely because it's thin and non-stretchy. The GBC roll you find at Staples is stretchy and so would still need the packing tape reinforcement along the punched end, but it's easier to get it on the page without wrinkles. Some folks also have laminating machines (Xyron again) that will easily do sheets of different sizes depending on the size of machine you have. I have no experience with punching this stuff, but Xyron markets to scrapbookers, who presumably are punching some of the stuff they're laminating..

As far as shortening the life of your punch, I think you'd have more trouble with trying to punch too many pieces of paper at a time than trying to punch one piece of plastic at a time. I recommend one at a time, by the way, because you'll have less jamming that way. The adhesive itself shouldn't be a big problem--the next time you punch paper, it will help to remove the residue if any remains.

A nice heavyweight packing tape is really spiffy for punching. Find the widest, thickest, strongest tape you can get and that will be superior for punching. Thinner stuff may not be as good. And it's a nice size for doing magazine clippings and newspaper clippings if some of your recipes come from those media.



One more idea


I have ONE more idea for you.

If it's a circa recipe book, and it has a transparent cover, why use protectors/lamination at all? Move the recipe to the first page, then close the cover. Voila, protection.


...and a variation on that

I like shris's idea, and have been thinking of a variation on that. I plan to use a single-layer clear plastic page that can be moved to the recipe being used. I think that's easier than moving the recipe itself. Also, I want to set the book up tent-style on the counter (landscape orientation) and need the covers behind the pages(hope you can envision this).
Thanks everyone for all the great ideas on this site!

another idea...

If you can't get the recipes into landscape layout, you can always use an easel back from a photograph frame, and attach it to a cover, and stand the whole thing up that way--never tried it, but it should work. :-)

I got it thinking about those 3-ring binders that stand upright, by "breaking" the cover in the middle, and folding it back.


Add my vote for the lamination

The pouches come in different thicknesses. I have experimented with the thicker stuff (10mil) for dividers. For what you are doing, I'd suggest the thinnest -- like 3mil

Good luck.
"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)

Never, but NEVER horn in on your SO's creative project

Allrightee then,

I have indeed become wiser. Never but never appear to be 'taking over' somebody else's creative project. Very bad idea.

But, she did like the handmade label I had made for the front of the binder.

I think were I doing such a project for myself, I would go the laminating route instead of the sheet protectors. Whether it was real lamination or packing tape style would depend on how permanent and/or presentable I needed the final product to be.

The Circa sheet protectors are incredibly thick just as Kate mentioned. I think I would only use them for some kind of presentation I was leaving with a client. Since I don't have clients, I don't see me buying any of them real soon.

Back to the recipe book -- Luckily nothing I did was un-doable. And, luckily the trip to the Levenger store got the SO hooked. She may even circa-fy her recipe binder. But I'll let her do it.

smurfing sheet protectors

I used mid-price sheet protectors, about 20 for $5 I got at Target, they smurfed fine. Maybe a little bit heavier guage plastic is what you need too.

Anacora Imparo

What brand of sheet protectors do you use?

I've been having problems smurfing the sheet protectors. I'm using the Staples branded heavy-weight sheet protectors, and they consistently jam my Rollabind punch. What brand/type of sheet protectors do you use?

brand of sheet protectors

I've used the Office Depot brand, both their cheapest/thinnest, and their heavy-weight. Try putting a single piece of paper underneath the sheet protectors before you punch it. That seems to keep the plastic from stretching so much and jamming the punch.

- kmorris