scrapbook rings for diy 3-ring notebook

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to come up with the perfect notebook system for graduate school. I have tried spiral notebooks, disc-bound systems, padfolios, Komtrak's inspiral binding, and 8.5x5.5 loose-leaf binders. My latest idea is to use book rings from 7ypsies to create a half-size 3-ring notebook without the clunky spine so it can fold back like a spiral. What do you think? Are these fancy book rings, which come in different sizes and colors, any different from the cheap rings I get at Staples? Any suggestions for how this notebook idea could work better?

The whole point of this exercise is to do a little diy at the beginning and end of the semester to:
- have an 8.5x5.5 notebook
- take notes comfortably in my lap
- not deal with any expensive/proprietary system (especially one that sends catalogs every few weeks to tempt me)
- be able to accomodate a lot of pages
- have the ability to move pages around

Komtrak does make a similar notebook called kooolbind, but their 8.5x5.5 notebook size doesn't offer larger ring sizes (1" or larger) and only has 2 holes which is a compatibility problem for the loose leaf and cheap storage binders I have access to. Also, Mead makes a great version of these spine-less notebook binders, but they don't come in the 8.5x5.5 size.

I know I'm picky, but I appreciate the anticipated feedback from the experts!

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No real difference

I've used both kinds... fancy rings sold for crafting and 'plain' rings from Office Depot. There is no functional difference. The 7 Gypsies rings come in different colors, which matters to some crafters, but the office supply stores versions are cheaper (per ring).

I haven't tried the cable rings, so I don't know if they are much different.

I think it really comes down to cost. The crafting rings cost a lot more per ring than the office supply ones. On the other hand, depending on where an when you shop, the office supply store may mean you have to buy a lot more rings than you need. I did find a great deal at Office Depot once, packages of rings in assorted sizes and colors for just a few dollar each. The best deal I got in rings, though, was actually shower curtain rings. I needed some really, really big rings, and there they were, 10 rings for 3 bucks!


I'm going to pick up the plain ol' rings today and get started on my notebook for next semester. The owner of Komtrak said he can sell me an unpunched cover and back, which will add to the durability and aesthetic of my notebook. Komtrak makes their notebooks with a ring that is slightly oval (which is why I thought some of the craft rings might be even better) and also a "spine" that my hubby can easily duplicate with stiff cardboard and a hole punch. Did you use anything to help stabilize the rings? Did you find them to be wobbly at all?

I really appreciate your feedback!

- blackberry addict/paper junkie/bookworm/notetaker/grad student/full-time executive assistant

I have not used anything to

I have not used anything to stabilize the rings. I don't use my ring-bound books for daily things, so they've been okay with just the rings. One thing I have learned though is that if you use rings that are too big for what they are holding, it will be very difficult to use. I've had the best luck with the smallest ring that will hold the contents. And for some reason, I've had no luck using two rings. Now, I use at least three, unless I'm binding index cards or something else small enough to use just one.

will keep you posted

I think you're right about using rings that are too big. Makes a huge mess of the notebook. I'm heading over to staples today to get the variety pack with different sizes. At the beginning of the semester, the notebook starts out small and then grows to be a monstrosity.

- blackberry addict/paper junkie/bookworm/notetaker

Notebook rings

I was having the same issue and ended up creating my own using rings from Staples. I'll try and post pictures, but basically, I found an old book that was the size I wanted, ripped out the pages, punched holes in it, covered it with a cool design and then printed out the planner pages from the DIY templates. I'm trying to follow the GTD system so I have tabbed sections with the @calls, @computer, @home, @creative, etc. where I keep all my lists. I'm still trying to refine the calendar part, but overall I'm happy with it. The biggest problem I'm having is the size. It's the right size for writing in and holding all the information I need, but too big and bulky to carry in my purse or take with me when I go shopping (and need to refer to all those lists.)

I feel like I'm on a never-ending quest to find the perfect planner!


post pictures! post pictures!

Robin, what size are you using now? I usually use a notebook that is 8.5x5.5 but have used a 3.75x6.75 and found that to work pretty well.

Filofax and many other companies make blank sheets and lined paper for 3.75x6.75. If you can get your hands on them, Mead makes memo books that are relatively cheap and come with loose leaf in that size. If you are making your own notebook, then you can just ignore the extra holes in the paper and use 2 rings. I like poly covers for their durability. You can cut them from old notebooks. Someone else started a thread for a 3x5 binder, which you can also make yourself.

In the meantime, please post pictures of your diy book-ring notebook. Thanks!

- blackberry addict/paper junkie/bookworm/notetaker