Tuesday er, Thursday To-Do | Spiral Bound Journal

Remember the spiral bound journal from last week?

Make a Spiral Bound Journal
Here’s another one I made with the June Little Black Dress Kit

Little Black Dress Spiral Bound Journal

I’ve become quite obsessed with theses spiral bound journals actually, so it wasn’t difficult for me to make yet another and do a step by step tutorial.

Completed spiral bound journal

But first:

The Bind-it-All was one of those tools I had to have because it seemed like if I got one I could immediately whip out 5 mini albums in one sitting. Sadly this was not the case, the thing actually had a learning curve. I messed up pretty much all the notebooks I tried to make at first. Finally after much trial and error, and some help I got from instructions on their site, I think I have figured out how to make it work for me. I also had a couple AHA moments when using the Teresa Collins products made for the Bind-it-All. So these instructions are just what I’ve learned and my interpretations, there may be better ways out there!

Make a Spiral Bound Journal

Here’s what you’ll need to make the journal – the finished dimensions are 5&1/2″x8″


Spiral Bound Journal Step-1
A Bind-it-All machine and 3/4″ o-wire

A stack of papers cut to 5&1/2″x8″ (more on this in a bit)

One piece of patterned paper or cardstock 12″x8″

Two pieces of chipboard also 5&1/2″x8″

Rulers, paper scorer, pencil etc.

Selecting papers for the Spiral Bound Journal

The papers I used for my pages didn’t all measure 5&12 by 8, some were smaller as you can see here

Spiral Bound Journal Step-2---paper-stack

I used a combination of patterned papers and bits of ephemera like book pages and game pieces. It doesn’t matter if they are smaller or bigger than the book size (well they shouldn’t be too big or too tiny), it just means being sure later that they are positioned properly to be bound in.

Once you have your papers prepared make a nice neat stack, making sure that none of the sheets are overhanging the left edge (the edge to be bound) and the bottom edge (so that the book will stand up one complete). It’s no biggy if pages stick out the top or the right side if you like that look.

Measure your O-Wire to  decide how many spirals you will use.

Spiral Bound Journal Step-3---measure-spiral-ring
In this case 8″ will give me 16 spirals. Cut off the extras. You can actually use less than this, maybe 14 or even 12. The important thing is that you use an even number. Here’s why:

The Bind-it-All can punch a maximum of 6 holes at a time, so my approach is to cut six holes in the center of my pages, and then add additional holes to each side. So for this book I will first cut 6 middle holes. Since I am using 16 spirals I need to add 10 more holes, which is 5 to each side. This is the simplest way I have found to properly align the holes, and thus the spiral in my books.

So if you choose to use 14 spirals, you will first punch 6, which leaves 8, meaning 4 on each side. Clear as mud? Good, moving on…..

Spiral Bound Journal Step-4---punch-center-add-extra

a. Take up the top few papers from your stack of pages and find and mark the center point at 4″.

b. Slide the little positioner switch on the side of the machine to A- Open. Place the pages facing towards you and line up the center mark with the center of the machine.

c. Punch the first 6 holes

d. Lift the pages up and slide them to the right, lining up the first punched hole in the paper (counting from the left) with the last hole mark on the machine.

Here’s a closer look at that last step

Spiral Bound Journal Step -12

Push the papers down into the machine and slide the black doohicky to position B-Continuous, so that the tab slips into the third hole. You’ll see what I mean in these photos

Spiral Bound Journal Step-5---punch-center-add-extra
Hold the left side of the papers firmly down in the nachine and punch. You’ll be punching through one already punched hole, and punching five new ones.

To add the final 5 holes. turn the stack of papers over so the back now faces you, and proceed as above lining up the first hole on the left with the last hole on the machine.

Spiral Bound Journal Step-6---tutn-over-add-extra

I forgot to take a photo of the holes all punched! Duh, sorry……

Now continue with your stack of pages until they are all punched. This is actually pretty tedious, especially if your pages aren’t all the same size, but hang in there, you can do it!

I like to set up with my machine in the middle, the uncut stack to my right, and the cut stack to my left.

Spiral Bound Journal Step-7

Pick up a small stack, punch, move over to the left. Repeat ad infinitum….

Once your pages are done it’s time for the cover! Well you could probably do the cover first actually, but I like to get the pages done and dusted first.

On the inside of your cover make marks at 5&1/2 and 6&1/2 inches at the top and bottom, then use your ruler and scorer to make scoring marks.

Spiral Bound Journal Step-8---score-cover

Now comes the piece-de-resistance!

Fold your cover in half with outside showing, mark the center and proceed to punch holes as you did for the pages.

Spiral Bound Journal Step-9a

Once punched fold along the scored lines.

And voila!


Spiral Bound Journal Step-9a

Aren’t you excited? I am!

Now stick your chipboard pieces to the inside front and back of the covers for reinforcement.

Spiral Bound Journal Spiral Notebook Step -10

I found that the covers were pretty floppy without the chipboard. I think soon I will try making the cover completely from chipboard, Hopefully the machine will be able to punch through!

To bind it all together (ha ha):

Place your stack of pages inside the covers as though the book is complete. Now fold the back cover over unto the front cover i.e to the top of the stack

Step-10 b

Pass the spiral rings through the entire stack starting from the back i.e the last page of the book. Once again, this is a tedious bit. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Spiral Bound Journal Step-11
Spiral Bound Journal Step-12


Now use the size guide to adjust the binder to 3/4″

Spiral Bound Journal - Size the binder

Bind the book together

Spiral Bound Journal Step-13

And once again, voila!

Spiral Bound Journal-complete-outside
A look at the inside

Spiral Bound Journal -complete-inside
Now I can art journal to my heart’s content!

This is a looong tutorial so if you have any questions at all, please do ask! And if you do make a book (or three, or five) let me know, I wanna see!

What are you putting in your journals and scrapbooks? Get unlimited downloads of journal cards and other goodies with Printably.



  • Anne M

    I haven’t had much time to write and comment lately (due to 2 little ones!) but I am still reading your posts… Great tutorial Francine and I love the results with the various papers. Hopefully I will have more free time one day and try to make one myself!

  • my local crop has a Bind it all and the few times I have tried to use it I just mess up! 🙁 this is really helpful and I love your finished book. have fun filling it up 🙂

  • nitasha

    Love, love, love your journals! I have been contemplating making an art journal for the past couple of weeks because I love the new EK Success Smash books, but know that it doesn’t make sense for me to buy one when I have an abundance of supplies to make my own! I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and contemplated buying a Cinch or Zutter…you have really inspired me to get started! Thank you so much! Please, continure to feature more on your art journal adventures!

  • Thanks Anne! I was wondering how you’d been doing 🙂

  • I’m glad this helped! Will you try again?

  • Thank you Nitasha! I plan to make a DIY Smash book too! I got the o-wires I ordered today so that will probably be my next project. I am so with you on not needing to buy one. lol
    I do plan to share more journals, so stay tuned!

  • Thanks for the great tutorial!
    I have a punch similar, but was purchased at an office supply store for the plastic combing spines rather than metal. I have, however, used the Zutter coils with that punch.
    You’ve inspired me to make another mini album!
    And, can’t wait to see your DIY smash book.

  • Thanks for posting this. I am so making some of these 🙂

  • Love those covers…I’m going to have to remember to try that out. TFS!!

  • Love the way you used the bind it all. Never thought to start in the center and work my way out! I’ll definitely be giving this one a try!

  • Nicole

    I love this project! I was just wondering – what do you do with the completed journal? Do you add photo’s and use it as a mini album?

  • Absolutely gorgeous project! I really love the bind-it-all now 🙂
    Mel xo

  • This is great…such clear photographs and explanations too. I’ve bookmarked this and intend to follow it through having resigned my Zutter to the back of the cupboard in frustration! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Francine — great tutorial and idea! But there is an easier way, with no measuring involved 🙂 I have a pdf tutorial of this I can send you if you like.

  • Discovered your blog through a friend on Pinterest – this journal style is fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing. I know I destroyed many a page trying to figure out the Bind-It-All myself, so your instructions will undoubtedly save many trees and much heartache!

  • This is great, Francine! I think I’m putting one on my Christmas list!

  • Cheryl

    This is completely awesome, Francine! Thanks for the tutorial 🙂 I think I need to drag out my bind-it-all again!

  • this is a fabulous tutorial.. can’t wait to try it out!!!

  • Absolutely smashing! Thanks! xoxo

  • Fantastic tutorial, Francine. I wish I had read this before I got rid of my BIA – I didn’t know there was a learning curve and thought we were just a terrible match.
    Your journals are great!

  • Wonderful tutorial! It’s great inspiration. Thanks fo sharing!

  • Merci beaucou^p francine pour ce tuto, il est absolument fabuleux ! j’ai tout traduit mot à mot pour pouvoir le faire à nouveau parce que je le trouve trop beau ! je mettrai dans mon smash book toutes mes nouvelles recettes !
    Encore merci

  • I just found this tutorial–it’s great! Thank you so much. I recently got the version 2.0 and I can’t wait to try this. Your journals are gorgeous!

  • Thank you. I like this a lot!

  • Thank you!!I have been scared to try my machine, but your tutorial is great! Merci!

  • this is BRILLIANT! now i can dust mine off and give it a try again. 🙂 thank you.

  • Dawn

    Thanks for posting this. It will save me a lot of frustration.
    Yours looks awesome, by the way!

  • Kim Otto

    Wonderful tutorial, you make it look so easy!!

  • JillT

    I have made several mini’s and I have to relearn every time and normally make at least one mistake every time! Thank you for this tutorial and for the new way to do covers. Can’t wait to put this to use.

  • Love this sooo much! Time to dust off my BIA {I’m here from pinterest}

  • looks great… i’ve got a lot of papers !
    but no special machine to do that..
    i made a lot of sketches…

  • Aweseome, I found you through Pinterest and Loved this tutorial. I make a lot of these journals, I love how you did the cover.

  • Nice tutorial….I have not played with my Zutter in awhile….I love FRANCE! Spent the last 2 spring breaks in Paris! I’ll be back to visit…come see me in FL at Lyndaoflakeland.blogspot.com

  • Visiting from Pinterest!! Love, love, love this. I bought my BIA ages ago but haven’t used it yet. I must try this. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • jamey

    found you via pinterest – LOVE THIS BOOK!
    gonna try this for sure 🙂

  • Found you from Pinterest – excellent tutorial!! I too have a BIA and love it for making hodge podge books like these, though I’ve never made a cover quite like yours with the single piece. And I agree, it can be tedious when the pages are varying sizes…though that is what makes them fun when they are finished! Yes, it will punch through chip board (and cardboard, and thin acrylic…). I’ve always relied on the user’s manual for figuring out how many holes to punch – but I may try your method…it looks much less rigid and makes more sense!! LOL Also, did you see the new crimping bar Zutter just came out with? They sent me an email about it recently – it’s on their site – it allows you to crimp 12 rings at a time instead of just 6. Thanks for a great tutorial!!
    Oh – I’m JenCark74 on Pinterest. 🙂

  • Super buena la idea!!! gracias

  • fantastical tutorial!! i was having trouble finding a how to on this type of binding and a friend linked me to you. i don’t have a zutter but i recently purchased a cinch – both great binding tools. i’ll be trying this tonight and can’t wait to see how i do.
    btw, you now have a new follower! ;]

  • Bonjour
    J’ai vu ton album et la reliure, que j’ai trouvé excellent!!!
    j’ai regardé attentivement le tutoriel, et je te remercie d’avoir partagé cette trés bonne technique.
    je me suis permise de faire un lien vers mon blog:
    pour répondre aux nombreuses questions qui m’ont été posées
    Merci encore
    et a bientôt
    PS; on m’a dit que tu parlais français…quelle joie!!!!
    I saw your album and I found it absolutely fab!!!
    i even looked carefully at your tutorial and I thank you for sharing this awesome technique.
    I took the liberty to put a link of your work on my blog
    to answer the much too many questions I had
    Thanks a lot
    PS: i was told that you are speaking french, i hope it is true…

  • Ridz

    Hi, love your tutorial. It’s super clear. I’d like to know if the spine measurements will work with any o-ring size? What size ring did you use for this project. Thanks 🙂

  • Nathan Fruendt

    Where do I get the Bind-it-All machine that you are showing.

  • Shannon Benedetti

    I love your Blog and your bookmaking tutorial.

  • Pam

    Thanks for taking the time to post this, I love the cover style!

  • Just found your website on Pinterest….Super excited!!! Love you style of crafty, very clean and beautiful….thanks for sharing…

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  • Katie

    Have you tried this more recently with only chip board covers? Is the machine capable of punching it?