Here are all my best tips and ideas for how to use a DISC Bound notebook for your art journal! Includes a video, how to guide, FAQs and even some inspiration to get you started right!
Please note: This article contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something. Read my full disclosure here.
- DISC Bound Art Journal Video
- What Is A DISC Bound Art Journal?
- Benefits of Disc-Bound Journals for Artists
- Supplies You Will Need
- Selecting Quality Paper for DISC Art Journals
- Types of Covers For Disc Bound Art Journals
- Assembling Your Disc-Bound Journal
- You Can Make Different Sized Pages
- Adding Gizmos To Your Art Journal Pages
- Make It As Fat As You Want!
- Inspiration for Your Disc-Bound Art Journal
- FAQ Questions:
- DISC Bound Art Journal Wrapup
DISC Bound Art Journal Video
What Is A DISC Bound Art Journal?
So first off, I have to admit that I am a DISC Bound journal of all kinds fan girl. I love them for business planners, art journals or anything else that I want to take things in and out of.
Functionally, a DISC Bound art journal is just your artwork that you bind with rings.
I like to put a hard cover on mine, but you could make anything the cover, even just a “normal” piece of art.
Benefits of Disc-Bound Journals for Artists
As I pulled out my DISC bound art journal out to take pictures for this post, I was reminded again why I LOVE this kind of journal so much.
While I was super proud and inspired by a lot of the artwork in that journal I hadn't looked at it in a while, some of it wasn't quite up to par with what I am creating now…. so I just yanked those pages out and VOILA, I have a whole art journal of things I like now.
Here are my rejects! I will keep them, just not in this journal…
Supplies You Will Need
Okay, this is super easy, you just need two things…
DISC Paper Punch
So the first thing you need is a way to punch the specific kind of holes that you slide the DISCs into. There are TONS of different punches out on the market right now, so here are a few that I recommend, prices and why or why not they would be good for an art journal!
My Favorite – ARC Paper Punch (Medium Pricey… $35-ish)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my ARC punch. It is heavy, has a huge opening to slide artwork in and is easy to use because you can bear down on it with your whole body (good for older artists).
Here is a tutorial for using the ARC paper punch for planners that will show the full details of using it!
WRMK Mini Punch Board (Cheap… $20-ish)
The We Are Memory Keepers Mini Punch Board is okay for punching art pages, but the nice part is that it is cheap AND you can swap out the punches and do all kinds of different things (you have to buy extra punches).
Mini Cinch Binding Tool (Pricey $100-ish)
You may be wondering why I would recommend something so expensive, but I do have a big Cinch and it is lovely, so I at least wanted to tell you about this!
The Mini Cinch Binding Tool has an added insert that you can use for DISCs, but you can also do spiral binding and a bunch of different other things with it.
So small, mighty and multipurpose is great for little craft rooms. OH, and easy to push down if you don't have great hand strength.
The DISCs are where you can get even more creative with your art journal! They come in all sizes and shapes, so I will just tell you some of the main features that I like!
But first some disc tips:
- I would NOT pick tiny discs for an art journal, so go 1″ or 1.5″ if you have chubby artwork with lots of layers like I do!
- Watch out, for a 8.5″X11″ journal you need 11 discs and sometimes they come in smaller packs so you need to buy two
- If you see discs for sale on clearance, get them! You are going to become addicted to making journals so this is a wise investment!
MAMBI Discs – Me and My Big Ideas Planner Discs
If you have ever seen a “Happy Planner”, it is a time management tool, but they sell the discs separately and they have hearts in them (seriously, this is why I love them so much!)
I like to use my Joanns coupons to buy discs on sale or even clearance.
When I first started doing DISC bound journals there were only a couple of companies making them. Now you can find any size or shape you want!
Just search for “planner discs” on Amazon or your favorite shopping platform and grab whatever you like best!
Selecting Quality Paper for DISC Art Journals
Paper is where art journals differ from planner journals. You need to pick the type of paper you like to do artwork on, rather than picking a “good quality paper”.
For example, say you do collage like me, you might want to use mixed media paper rather than sketch paper which can't handle all the mixed media products.
But if you do watercolor, using watercolor paper is fine too!
Remember, you are just binding your artwork into a journal, not making your artwork IN a journal.
Types of Covers For Disc Bound Art Journals
Okay, here is where things get weird! You need to know what kind of journal you want to make AND if you are going to be carrying it around a lot.
I am VERY hard on my journals. I throw them into bags, bang them on tables and have a grand daughter who likes to look at my work (enough said).
With that in mind, I make super heavy weight laminated covers for art journals… here is a tutorial on how to make Laminated Scrapbook Dividers which is what I do!
You could also use heavy cardstock or cardboard to make your art journal cover! Functionally you are just trying to keep your artwork safe by adding a cover.
That said, don't get all twisted about what kind of cover to use if you are just keeping your artwork in a collection.
You don't HAVE to have a cover at all if you don't want to!
Assembling Your Disc-Bound Journal
When you put your discs on the first page, you will think, “THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK” so don't freak out!
I assemble my art journals by putting all the discs on the front cover first, then the back cover and then add the pages in the middle.
This allows me to make the art journal stable before trying to put paper pages into it.
You Can Make Different Sized Pages
This is a cool thing… you can put all different sized pages into your art journal!
Here you can see that I have a “normal” page and a cut down page. That makes for fun peek throughs to something behind the smaller pages!
Adding Gizmos To Your Art Journal Pages
Another thing I like about making a DISC bound art journal is that you can add gizmos to your pages!
Here are a couple of flip up pages or flip out pages that I made!
You can also add brads or metal bits! I LOVE how much that the flower brads on the bottom of the page add to this art journal.
Make It As Fat As You Want!
The one thing that makes me so happy about having the discs to use is that I can make my journals as chubby as I want!
If your journal becomes too fat, you can just buy bigger discs and transfer your art work and covers to the new discs.
Here is a great page that has cardboard, flip outs and even a hidden giraffe that pulls out. This spread is REALLY chubby!
Check out this video about how to use cardboard in your mixed media art!
Inspiration for Your Disc-Bound Art Journal
Here are some of my favorite pages in my DISC Bound Art Journal! I thought that seeing some inspiration might get your juices flowing.
Crazy Man Mixed Media Artwork (those are “real” butterfly wings from the dollar store!)
Mabel Magazine Collage
What is a disc-bound art journal?
This is the NUMBER ONE question I get when people see my DISC Bound art journal.
They want to know what that is and how to make it, so here is my best definition…
A disc bound art journal is a flexible, functional way to create collections of art that you can change whenever you want! You use a special mushroom shaped hole punch that lets you take pages in and out.
How do disc-bound journals differ from traditional sketchbooks or journals?
Oh my gosh, DISC Bound journals are so darn much better than a “regular” journal!
Now, don't get me wrong, I love me a Dyan Reaveley Creative Journal! If you follow me at all you will see that most of my artwork at least starts there and almost all of my magazine collage is done in a normal journal.
What makes a disc bound journal better is the ability to curate your artwork over time!
Some of the pieces that were in my DISC bound journal weren't my favorites today, so I just took them out… no muss, no fuss and now I can add some of my new favorite pieces in!
What types of paper work best for art in disc-bound journals?
You need to use the type of paper that you generally make art on! Could be watercolor, mixed media, cardstock, scrapbook, whatever you are comfortable with!
Are the discs interchangeable among various brands?
They are all pretty standardized by now so all the punches work with all the discs. That said, I wouldn't use different brands of discs on the same art journal because sometimes they are thicker or skinnier and that would drive me nuts!
How do I fix a page or spread that I'm not happy with in my disc-bound journal?
The beauty of using the DISCs is that you NEVER have to keep something around that you are not happy with. You can just use your discbound punch to add more of your artwork or even chop it up and include smaller pieces for interest.
You can put in pages, remove pages, move around the order… honestly, you can make them however you want!
Can I add or remove pages in my disc-bound art journal?
In a word YES! You can take them in and out as many times as you want!
That said, you may make the punches a little worn out… in that case I just put a strip of good paper down, punch it again and I am ready to go!
You can rearrange pages as you add new artwork or when your old art seems to be less good than your current work.
Are disc-bound art journals durable enough for daily use and travel?
YES! If you put a hard cover on them… I prefer to have a hard laminated cover so my artwork stays safe.
How does a discbound notebook compare to a ring binder?
One reason I LOVE a ring bound journal or notebook is that it can lay flat, which is great for artwork.
But discbound journals are EVEN BETTER because you can do your artwork however you normally do it and then punch it and stick it in your art journal.
DISC Bound Art Journal Wrapup
Whew! That was a BIG disc bound journal tutorial! Hopefully I answered most of your questions about how to use a discbound system for your art journal.
That said, if you have any questions about how to make a disc bound art journals send me an email, [email protected] and I will be happy to help!