Neefer Sews, Crochets, Crafts, Swims, and Blathers about Kids

Acorns to Oaktrees

November 15th, 2013 at 9:58 pm

New Planner

in: Crafts


I made myself a planner. I started by assembling pins on Pinterest. I had all my pins in Calendars / Organizers, but that board got too big. I now have the following boards:

I used the Bee Planner (pin) as my starting point. I loved her idea of using the binder rings from an index card binder. The only problem that I had was that I was unable to get the brads out. The same designer (Ahhh Designs) made a similar cardboard version (pin).

Sizing Sketch and Calcs

My design process began with considering what size paper to use. I thought about being able to buy preprinted pages, but I’ve done that at work using work supplied, very nice binders, and I end up using a fraction of the pages. I also considered using one of those work supplied binders, for which I have a hole punch, but I decided to give the 2-ring binder a try. So after much thought and consideration of my available resources and my needs, I decided to use 1/2 of an 8.5 inch by 11 inch (American letter size) for my pages.

Inside Cover Design

If you take a look at my sketch to the left, you can see I was considering a larger size, 8.5 inch by 6 inch … larger and in landscape mode. If I recall, I was thinking that would be a nice size to write on. I must have read about it somewhere. Anyway, with my preliminary paper size chosen, I looked into how much bigger the binder would be. This involved some leg work. My binder clips mount on the back cover, not the spine, so I had to find a similar binder to see how much larger the covers should be than the papers (and the dividers and tabs). Somehow, I determined that the width of the covers should be 2 inches wider, and the height 2 inches higher. So for the 8.5 inch wide paper, my planner would have to be 10.5 inches wide. That’s too wide. I backed off to the 1/2 sheet of letter size, which meant a cover that was 7.5 inches by 10 inches. That is not a small planner. For the spine, I used the same width as on the index card binder, or 1.5 inches.

Paper planner with binder hardware

To ensure that the planner was not too big, I made one out of paper. The image captioned “Inside Cover Design” shows the paper model of 2 covers and spine taped together with masking tape. This also allowed me to check the placement of the binder clip and see how a piece of paper fit in the planner. I went back to a index card holder to determine how close to the spine the binder hardware should be. I also considered whether or not put the binder hardware in the center, horizontally. If I want tabs on the tops of section dividers, the binder hardware might be better off being closer to the bottom. I distinctly remember thinking that, but I put my binder hardware in the center.

Backside of cover foundation

I use matte board scraps to make hard bound books/journals. It’s not as sturdy as book board, but 2 layers is quite strong. It’s much easier to cut than book board. For the planner, I choose 1 layer of matte. The matte board is reinforced with fabric, and then it is covered by another layer of craft interfacing and fabric. I think I use a Fiskar Rotary Paper Trimmer to cut paper, matte board, and book board. Mine uses a little blade and isn’t rotary. I have to cut the book board on both sides, but using the ruler on the cutter, I get a nice sharp edge.


Once I had my covers cut, I glued a piece of paper on them. This was to test the size again. If I decided the size was too big, I could easily rip the paper and cut my covers down. I forgot to take a picture at this point, but you can see the paper in the “Backside of cover foundation” image. I used a fat quarter of quilting cotton that I’ve had for one or two decades.

Testing binder location

Before moving on to sewing up the cover, I made sure the binder location would work. That is, I made sure the cover opened and closed while I had the binder lying on back cover.

I decided to leave it for a while to see if changed my mind about the size.

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