I’ve received so many questions about the Arc system and discbound planners that I decided it warranted a whole post. If you are an office supply junkie like me you have either heard of the Arc System or you have the Arc system. If you haven’t heard of the Arc System it is like a personal binding machine combined with customizable notebooks. But it’s better than a traditional binding machine because a.) it’s cheaper and b.) you can swap pages in and out and c.) it’s inexpensive in comparison. I purchased my Arc punch at Staples – it’s a Staples brand product. Martha Stewart also has customizable discbound notebooks available at Staples as well. Theoretically you could just purchase the Arc and/or Martha Stewart brand notebooks and inserts and you wouldn’t need a punch. But if you like to personalize, use printables, and want the option of customizing your own papers you’ll want to purchase a punch or share one with a friend that lives close by.
What’s the big deal with the discbound notebooks/planners/binders – are they really better? I love, love, love a cute binder and three-hole punching is easy and cheap, but I especially love the versatility of the discbound system and mostly I love that it lays flat closed and lays flat when it’s open. This may or may not be a big deal for you, but it’s worth it for me.
I have been using the Martha Stewart Discbound Notebooks in the textured blue – 6.5×9 and 9.5×11.5 for a few months and I LOVE them. And truth be told I hesitated on purchasing the Arc system because it is a little pricey, but decided to go for it and I’m so glad that I did!
I needed to simplify things a bit and did just that with the one of my kits – The Streamlined Life Kit. You can see how the kit is set up in my discbound notebook by going to this post. But today I’m just going to show you a few features and simple things you can do to create your own discbound planner or binder or notebook.
You can purchase a cover or create your own by laminating cardstock. You can also purchase dividers or make your own. Just pop them in and out to place them where it makes most sense for you.
You don’t have to make your own pages or use printables (I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to though!) – there are plenty of options for pre-made pages and calendars that are already punched.
It’s easy to use!
I wish you could punch a whole notebook at once, but you can’t. The good thing is that there are guides on the punch for various sizes of paper so your punches will turn out the same every time.
Here’s a side by side of my notebooks – I use the larger format most of the time but I have the smaller format for my purse. I want you to see what it looks like with the same printables in the two planners. Sometimes there’s a little extra room at the bottom of the smaller size format – if that bugs you, you can do what I do and put a sticky note there for notes or just use that space to write notes. If you don’t know how to resize printables you can go to this post to find out how (it’s easy!). Make sure when you punch the holes that you line them up the way you want them to be in your planner. Plan out your printing front to back and punch the holes so that papers line up side by side – unless you don”t want the open layout like this.
The discbound system isn’t just for grown ups. This is my daughter’s notebook. I love the Arc notebooks for my kids – we have them loaded with plain paper for sketching and lined notebook paper for journaling. They get a kick out of making their own books. If you homeschool I bet these would be really great for units and larger projects.
Here are a couple links for products in this post if you are curious: