Cover Material

Hello all you DIYers. I've been in a lurk mode for a while, sporadically commenting. 2009 came in with a planner pre-printed and already bound, lurking behind the trailings of my 2008 calendar. Wonderful!

As I've been expanding some of my circa/rolla use, I've been looking for cover materials. I almost jumped with the Levenger sale, but the price still bothers me. So, while at a big box today with my 2 yo, I strolled through the office/school supply aisle. There I found some Avery tabs that are moderately heavy and should work for some uses. I also grabbed a thicker Avery Presentation book that I think I can smurf and use quite easily.

So, for others, what's your fav DIY cover, particularly smurf-able material? I know a lot is driven by what you stumble upon, but does someone have a standard?

For now,

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Having made a number of covers, I can tell you it depends.

If you don't need stiffness (like write-unsupported type stiffness), then I use plain old plastic. The stash I have leftover is a slightly thicker version of the stuff they sell as comb-binding covers in the office supply stores. I bought it from a plastics manufacturer not too far from me. I still have a little left, but when that's gone I'm going to get a stack of the office supply stuff when I need it.

If you do need stiffness, then I love love love book board from the scrapbooking section of the craft store. I buy a package of three pairs (12x12, 8.5x11, and 6x6) for about 5 bucks, then trim them up and cover them with nice paper to give them good looks. You have to fiddle a little to make these punchable (as in thinning the edge you want to punch), but the covers are stiff enough that when you flip the front to the back to write on the top page, it's as solid as a rock.

If you can sew or you feel like messing around with some other sort of fasteners (rivets and grommets come to mind) you could fasten a piece of book board to a strip of the thinner, flexible plastic the way Lev does. That might be less fiddly than thinning the book board to punch it directly.


The Graduate Said It All

Plastic. I just love the plastic Levenger covers, especially now that they come in colors. There's no way that I'd ever use a dead animal skin for anything, and I've been dismayed at the lack of nice pleather alternatives from any source. I saw one Rollabind nonleather cover at Staples, and it just wasn't very nice. I almost ordered one of the Levenger cloth covers, but I read the reviews and found that they're leather on the inside.
The Myndology Basic line has some very nice covers, also. I don't have the time or the talent to do creative stuff from scratch, so I use ready-made products that fit my vegan requirement and esthetic preferences.

report covers

In Poland (and I presume the rest of Europe) we can get these slip covers that clamp down on A4 paper. They are a thicker plastic that punches well, yet stiff. That's what I like. I can typically get 4 covers for two books out of one of these, but since i cut down my A5s a bit skinny (to work well with American tab dividers and the old Circa Jr size), it works out well enough. If you wanted a full A5-sized cover, you could just lose a good chunk of the A4 material, or better yet, make something for a hipster. ;-) It's very close, btw, to what Levenger sells, but is typically textured differently, and a tad bit thinner.


(so much for getting back to work)

Funny you should mention this... I have been researching sources for thicker plastic materials.
I have found some very nice thick stuff that is solid colored, and I am hoping to find some transparent/transluscent stuff as well. I do not yet have definite prices as I will have to contract to have the stuff cut to size. I plan to get it cut to size and smurf it myself. If folks are interested, I can announce my findings.
"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'd like to hear...


-- Coffee and Books, the pleasures of life

Yes, plastic

I use the flexible cutting boards (some come in pastel colors now) and if I see a nice pattern on a plastic placemat I'll use that, too.

I've also used photo albums from the dollar store that have the bookboard. But instead of 'thinning' the edges, so to speak, I just use a piece of plastic, size it, punch it, and use hockey stick tape to adhere it to the book board (a la circa foldover notebook without the fancy stitching).

All cheap alternatives that allow me to switch out covers whenever the urge hits to do something new with my notebooks.

Old Book Covers

Okay so I'm not sure about whether any of this will make sense in the USA but here goes...

There has been a wee trend in some trendy shops for producing spiral bound notebooks using the covers from old children's ladybird books. It seems to me that there could well be the option of using an old book covers for circa notebooks too.

I think there are two options
1. Slice of the front and back cover of old book and diy a punchable section onto it. This would really be like the format of a bookcloth cover I suppose where the bit for the smurfs is thinner than the book cover. I think you could glue the smurfed bit onto the cover inside and then make the inside look nice.
2. Find a book cover that is thick enough and big enough and devise a pocket that the whole circa notebook would slip into.

It's recycling but quite neat idea, certainly the spiral bound ones I've seen.

You might have old books lying about the house you like the cover of or go to charity shops. There's loads of options in there (this is the UK bit perhaps, we have extensive charity shops and most have very cheap book sections in them). So they could be colourful children's type books, old annuals for fun or older good quality book covers that might seem more professional looking)

Not saying I'll ever do it but perhaps someone here already has and has pictures??????????

dvd boxes and 'pencil boards'

Last year we did a major purge in preparation of a move. We took our sci-fi dvd sets out of their boxes and compressed them into the the cd storage boxes. Some of the DVD boxes like the Farscape, Star Trek made excellent covers. Also, some of the japanese anime had little plastic boards that kids use to put under the piece of paper they are writing on. That made some cool covers too. The one thing with these, they are not standard sizes so I've had to cut paper to fit. But they are cool enough covers that it is worth it to me.

Good Idea

With a few recent season acquisitions, we'll probably have to do the same. I'll keep my eyes out on those for anything functional.

-- Coffee and Books, the pleasures of life

Old games

Hmmm, you've got me thinking of a use for the boxes from some of our old computer games.

It you just want card covers and not plastic, birthday cards etc would make good covers. To make them stronger/thicker the inside of the card could be glued shut to reinforce the card.

I've made a few out of plastic binding covers...

you know, the ones you would use with a 2-wire or comb binder? They work quite nicely in the circa punch or 3-hole punch, and are easily cut down to size with a guillotine cutter. I am going to make some fancier ones, using some floral scrapbooking paper I have lying around. I'm going to use spray adhesive to glue it to the plastic, and then overlay it with clear Contact paper.

I also occasionally use a canvas book/bible cover (just a plain one... I can't stand all those sappy religious ones!) to carry my 8x5 planner binder in. It protects the binder from being shredded in the bottom of my backpack or tote bag.