Color Pack HACKS + How to Bind with THE CINCH!

My Personal Planners are a FAVORITE year after year and I now actually have two to choose from  - the Everyday Planner and the Latter-day Lifestyle Planner. With this collection, you pick your inside pages first - then you pick your Color Pack; which includes 3 coordinating covers, pen inserts, bottle caps, monthly sticker tabs and colored divider pages (that I'm going to show you how to turn into folders)! The Color Pack shown above is Mint, it's my favorite pack and is the one I'll be using for my own 2019 planner! 

But first - the question I'm asked the VERY most... how do you bind it?

The simplest way is to print it at home and take your pages to any local copy shop to spiral bind. Spiral binding for a planner this size should be under $5. You can also have them print the pages for you; just save the files to a flash drive and take them in. However, if you are a crafter or DIY'er always on the lookout for fun, functional tools - you MIGHT consider getting a binding machine to use at home. I bind all. the. things. Planners, journals, notebooks, calendars and scrap pads - I LOVE having it in my cupboard ready to use for myself or to make quick gifts!

I actually have two of the most popular home/crafting binders. The Zutter-Bind-It-All and The Cinch. I bought the Zutter in about 2012 and have used it for years. I recently bought The Cinch after reading so many great reviews - and although both are great tools, now that I have both - I reach for The Cinch everytime. It's bigger, does more punches per action, the wire clamp is more accurate and I've had less overall binding errors. So, I do recommend both - but will say The Cinch is my favorite. It tends to run about $30 more than the Zutter, but in my opinion, it's worth every penny. If you'd like to check them out (or add them to your Christmas list) below are links to Amazon.

In this video you'll watch the process of me using The Cinch to bind my planner. I also go over TONS of tips and tricks I use when I make my own planners; like what paper to use, how to make folders out of the dividers, tricks for making firmer covers, etc. More detailed tips, pictures and planner hacks are below after the video. Just a reminder - even though this post is all about planners, you can do the same fun things when you put together my printable Journals & Notebooks as well.

In the video I mentioned I printed my planner 6x8 - here's the link to the tutorial that shows you how to print regular PDF's smaller: HERE

In the video I also mentioned the weight of paper to use on your inside pages... I recommend at least 24lb. I personally use 28lb bright white at home - but 32lb is THE BEST. It's so smooth; your pen will just glide over it effortlessly. If you are a "Print & Ship" customer of mine, I make all of the  physical planners and journals I sell with 32lb paper - it just can't be beat.

RECOMMENDATION: For most of my planners and journals (anything with 50-70 sheets) I use 3/4" O'wires. I bought all kinds of sizes when I first got my machine, but over the years, 90% of the time I use 3/4". Even though I now use The Cinch more, I still use Zutter Brand o'wires. They are exactly the same and are much less expensive.

The first DIY upgrade you can make is a movable bookmark! The Color Packs come with 3 covers. I printed an extra and cut 3 two inch wide bookmarks out of them! Like my covers, I printed these on my favorite glossy sticker paper, trimmed them to size then adhered them to matching yellow card stock and laminated. Next, I punched each bookmark with The Cinch and simply cut a little slit all the way into each punch so I could clip it onto the wire rings and pull it out of my planner to move it around as needed. Remember though, it's not a hard plastic, so I made 3 out of one cover and will change them out as I wear out the holes from placing and pulling over and over.

The next upgrade is divider folders! The Color Packs also come with monthly dividers. I printed 2 sets, 1 to be the divider then I trimmed the second one to be a folder pocket. I used a thin double-sided tape runner to attach it. It's great for holding receipts, lists, invitations, etc (and super easy to make)! I added folder pockets to the front and back covers as well.

Another fun accessory to make is matching ribbon paper clips! Get a box of 2" paperclips and find ribbon that matches your cover. Cut several 3.5" sections of ribbon and follow the steps in the picture above. The trick is to put a little dot of hot glue on the back so the tie holds. Super easy and cheap way to add some fun items to your planner - or journal, especially if you are giving one as a gift!

Another fun way to make decorative (and matching) paperclips is with buttons and little hair accessories! I got the owl buttons at Joanns and the bows/rosettes I found in the craft aisle at Walmart (by the bow making supplies). Just glue them on with E6000; it's a more permanent glue that works particularly well with metals, (hot glue won't hold very long). If you are new to this glue, please read and follow package instructions before using.

Of course, MY favorite accessory for every planner and journal is making 4" over-sized bottle cap paper clips! I get my bottle cap supplies (flattened caps and epoxy stickers) from Fizzy Pops and I get the 4" paperclips on Amazon. Making them is quick and fun + it adds a unique accessory particularly if you are giving a planner or journal as a gift. If you are new to bottle caps... the circle images come on 4x6 sheets that you can have printed at your local photo lab just like you would any photo and if you need a 1" round punch, here's mine. Because I'm working with metal - I use E6000 glue.

Last but not least (and sorry, I didn't take new pictures for this one).. is the PENS!! Every planner and journal needs matching pens!! The RSVP Pentel Pen has a crystal clear tube - perfect for slipping a little coordinating piece of magic inside. This is my FAVORITE writing pen AND it's widely available; you can get it almost anywhere. In my tiny Idaho town, I can even buy it at my local grocery store. When I need a bunch, though, I grab a box on Amazon HERE.

Never... oh never - underestimate the power of a matching pen.

It's magic.

So... there you have it!

I hope this helps get you excited to not only get your planners and journals printed - but also excited to make TONS of cute accessories to go with it! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll answer so everyone can read through them.

Don't want to make your own?
Check out my "Print & Ship" options for planners and accessories!

Happy Printing!

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  1. Your tutorial makes me LOVE the color packs even more! I have the zutter and now I am thinking I need to add the cinch to my Christmas list. It does look more user friendly!

  2. Thanks for the video! It's perfect! I watch videos now for all of my DIY!

  3. Oh my, I think I need The Cinch ASAP! I also love the paperclips. So fun!

  4. Are you reading my mind?!! I have been wanting to make a pocket for my church planner and I was stuck trying to figure it all out, I never thought of the diagonal cut!! The bookmark is genius!!! And now I am totally convinced I need a cinch!!!

  5. That pocket is genius! I love the smaller planner that would be the perfect size to carry with me! And yes I agree nothing is better then 28lb paper my gel pens write so much better on it! ♥️

  6. That pocket is life changing!!! Thank you so much for all of the tips and tricks!!! I feel like maybe I can do it now...Maybe!!

  7. Love your stuff and the instructions for how to put the planner together. Thanks