Arc sketchbook and journal

Recently one of my posts about disc bound sketchbook was reblogged by “Calvin was Right” blog.  I then read through all of the entries there followed by the Arc it blog.   (Arc it is now on hiatus but there is 2 year’s worth of entries to read).   This got me inspired to try using a discbound system again.

Discbound systems are mostly either Staples’ Arc  or Levenger’s Circa.  While both Circa and Arc offer just the covers, I thought I could also make my own.  In my local Staples, they don’t have any Arc individual covers I like.   (FYI:  If one does a search, it might also turn up Rollabind.  I’ve recently read about the company not shipping orders and I wouldn’t recommend them.  I did place an order before I read these reports.  It’s been a week and I’ve so far  not even had an acknowledgement, though my Levenger order placed at the same time has already shipped).

So…. I found these plastic pocket folders at Staples. I made a pattern for the Junior size from another notebook.  Then I cut it down and punched it.  Here you see it with the pen holder and neoprene zipper pouch outside the cover.  This is configured for journal writing.  I’ve printed letter sized paper with the all over dots template from “Calvin was Right”, cut the sheet in half and then punched it with the Arc paper punch.


I cut the plastic folders such that the outside edge remained on the outside.  This meant I preserved the pocket function on the inside.  These are some discs I bought in a bag at Staples.  They are too large and I’ll replace them once my smaller ones arrive from Levenger.

This is a Martha Stewart brand notebook.  It has a hard cover with a strap that is perfect for a sketchbook.  On the inside, I first have a sheet protector with my contact info and a few business cards in the holder.

What I like about this system is I can fill it with single sheets of different kinds of paper.  A standard 22×30 sheet of watercolor paper tears down to a size that fits well in the Junior book.

Spiral bound paper can even be torn out and inserted in the Arc discbound book.  This is a page from the Strathmore Visual Journal line.

In the back is a pocket with a couple more items I use.

My next project was to make a clear plastic cover.  I found the perfect sheet of plastic at Artist and Craftsman Supply.  Here is the sales receipt….. it is called “team film sheet”.  It’s 22×30 and costs $5.85 a sheet.  I found this in the physical store in the U district of Seattle.  Unfortunately, I can’t find it on-line.  That item number comes up as a tube of oil paint on the website.  It’s thicker than the plastic folder but can still be punched in the Arc paper punch.

I found if I cut it along the short side, I can get more covers out of it.  I like to put stickers on my sketch books from places I go to draw.  So I have a sheet of heavy black paper at the front on which to put the stickers.  It is Jet Black Canford Card Imperial made by
Daler-Rowney, also found at Artist and Craftsman Supply.  The clear cover doesn’t photograph well, so you’ll just have to imagine it.

Circa does have translucent covers available for order but I didn’t find them until I wrote to them about it.

I’m going to use the discbound sketchbook for the next few weeks.  I’ll let you know what I think.  I’ve not yet decided how I will store the pages once the book is full.  I do like that I can keep a few finished sketches while adding in blank pages.  I think I might store the loose pages in an envelope, as Roz Stendahl has suggested (that was in her Sketchbook Skool Klass).

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About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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5 Responses to Arc sketchbook and journal

  1. miatagrrl says:

    A very cool refinement of your original idea, Kate. I’ll look forward to seeing this in person! By the way, it was really cool that your blog post got reposted!

  2. Joan T says:

    Artists are always so creative with the sketchbooks they make. Nice!

  3. pensandart says:

    I LOVE seeing how you are assembling your discbound system. And you’re already getting creative cutting stuff down as covers, it took me awhile to venture into that territory haha. One tidbit I’ve read about on a discbound forum but haven’t tried yet – supposedly the Dollar Tree type stores sell plastic cutting mats in their kitchen sections that are nearly identical (once cut down) to the clear covers used by Staples and Levenger. So it’s definitely on my list to head over one of these days and find out if my local store has them! 😀

  4. Pingback: More on Disc-bound notebooks | Red Harp Arts

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