With more brands offering discbound planners there are enough options to mix and match and make your own custom planner or bullet journal. If you want to do this, the first thing you’ll want to consider are the discs.
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Where to find discs
- Carefully Crafted (my sister’s planner supplies store)
- The brands own website e.g. the Levenger Circa website
- Facebook destash groups
- Expired planners. You could use date dot stickers to change the dates, or just purchase only for the discs
Things to consider when choosing discs
- Do you want a solid disc or a punch out in the middle?
- If you want a punch out in the middle, what shape? E.g. heart, star, circle
- Glitter or just one color discs?
- See through (translucent) discs or solid?
- Aluminium or plastic?
- Disc size
- Disc color
If you’re not sure where to start and have never used disc binding before I would purchase plastic solid discs. Aluminium discs last longer but are far more expensive. While I’ve never had a disc break (except in transit), solid discs instead of ones with punch outs are likely to last longer (less chance of cracking).
If you’re using multiple notebooks for different school subjects or categories, you could use different colored discs for each notebook.
Otherwise I would purchase black discs as you can use different colored covers and black goes well with anything.
The disc size will depend on what discbound brand you use.
- The Happy Planner comes in 3 disc sizes: Mini (0.75″), Medium / Classic Planner size (1.25″) and big (1.75″)
- Medium discs (1.25″) are basically at full capacity with just the MAMBI monthly + weekly pages and no notes for the 18 month planner version
- The Levenger seems to come in the most sizes: 0.25″, 0.5″, 0.75″, 1″, 1.5″, 2″, 3″
- My favorite is the ARC which comes in 2 sizes: (big are 38.1mm or 1.5″) and small (19mm or 0.75″).
If you want to fit 12 month’s worth of planning pages (plus a few extra notes, list pages etc.) you’ll need around 38.1mm (1.5″) i.e. about ARC large size or 1.25″ (which is around Happy Planner classic disc size).
if you’re making a custom notebook, I would use 0.75″ discs.
How many discs do I need?
Let’s use the Happy Planner as an example
- Mini (page size 5.5″ wide x 7.5″ high) = 7 discs (0.75″ diameter)
- Classic (page size 7.75″ wide x 9.75″ high) = 9 discs (1.25″ diameter)
- Big (page size US letter size 8.5″ wide x 11″ high) = 11 discs (1.75″ diameter)
Discbound Brands to choose from
- ARC by Staples (my personal favorite)
- MAMBI Happy Planner (my 2nd favorite)
- Martha Stewart
- Levenger Circa
- Inkwell Press
- ADOC (European)
- The Perfect Notebook
- Dokibook Discagenda
- Musboeken Feeling Plantastic Discbound Planner (European)
- William Hannah (has leather covers like Travellers notebooks)
- Eleven Discs
Most (not all) of the above have the discs available for purchase separately if you don’t want to buy them with one of their notebooks or planners.
These brands do not offer discs for sale separately:
- Atoma (they do offer discs but they’re expensive hard to find outside of Europe)
- Musboeken Feeling
As the price varies depending on too many factors (material, size, color etc.) and not all brands sell discs in the same quantity and colors, I’ve done a table to make it easier to compare.
I don’t take my planners and notebooks with me everywhere, I keep them at home on my desk. I’ve used the ARC and Happy Planner for years and have never had a disc break through normal use. I have most of the other brands on this list and haven’t had a disc break either (albeit I don’t use them nearly as often). I have only ever had 1 disc break in transit which was a Happy Planner coming from the USA to Australia.
If there are solid discs you like you can customise them by creating stickers with pattern digital paper to fit the inside of the discs, then print onto label paper and cut using a silhouette machine.
Buying discs separately are convenient if you want to make your own notebook or planner without paying for the cost of a discbound planner and attempting to hack / pull it apart to make something custom. I’ll be doing a separate post with some recommended supplies for making your own custom discbound notebook or planner but for now, I recommend the Happy Planner as a starting point.
If there’s a planner you really like but wish it was discbound, you could message the company and ask they send the pages unpunched. I did this a few years back with Plum Paper and noticed they now offer an option for unpunched pages. Limelife Planners do this now too so I expect more planner companies will do so in the future too!
If you don’t want to make your own discbound notebook, I did a comparison of the different discbound brands here.
More on discbound planners
- Guide to Discbound Planners & Frequently Asked Questions
- ARC by Staples versus MAMBI – Which discbound system is better?
- MAMBI Happy Planner Discbound Punch versus the ARC (are they compatible?)
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