Circa Ring sizes

I have read many good things about the Circa system on this site. It's a shame youcan't buy it here in Europe. I have a lucky break though, because a friend on mine is going to Chicago and she'll stop by the Levenger shop there.

Because I won't have many second chances of purchasing stuff, I want to make sure (to the extend that is possible) that I ask her to buy the correct things. I was hoping you could give me some advice about what you find essential. So far I am thinking:
- Desk Punch (I am into DIY-ing)
- One roll of the all the ring sizes.

Particularly regarding the ring sizes I am wondering whether I should forget about any of them and buy more of another. What are your experiences regarding their uses. I was thinking of using the Circa rings for:

- 3x5 hPDA(s)
- A4 sized project notebooks.
- A5 size note taking note books
- Possibly a A5 sized planner (although I have a 6-ring A5 planner which I am pretty happy with).

Looking forward to your advice/suggestions.


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How many pages?

I'm fairly new to Circa myself, but it seems the answer to your questions is dependant of how think your hPDA and your notebooks are going to be? The number of pages determines the right size.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

ring sizes

Here's my experience with the Circa rings. The 1/2 inch rings don't really allow for much paper at all, but they are nice and small and the pages turn extremely easily. These are great for an HPDA. I am experimenting with the idea of using wallet size (business card size) HPDA in my wallet with 1/2 inch rings.

I have a Rollabind notebook, which I think are 3/4" rings and Circa 1" rings. The 3/4" rings are great size that allows you to have a pretty good amount of paper and it isn't too heavy and the pages still turn easily. 1" rings give you a good size notebook. It may be a bit much to take everywhere with you, but will probably be fine if you mostly use it a desk.

Circa does have 1 1/2" rings. I can't imagine how huge these must look. Those may be good for keeping your extra forms and keeping a bunch of reference material. I would only buy one pack of these until you figure out if they are too big or not.

I know you said you're going the DIY route, but I would still recommend picking up a pack of covers for each size you're using the Levenger covers are translucent plastic - lightweight and flexible yet sturdy.

One more thing: my 1 inch Circa rings are Silver. I find the pages don't seem to turn as nicely on these. There is some discussion on this site that the Silver has a rougher texture than the other colors, and it catches the pages. I would avoid the Silver until someone figures out if it is the size or texture that causes issues. I have 1/2" rings in both blue and black and they are both great. Red ones have been on sale on the Levenger website, no idea if that sale is at the stores too.


I have used all the sizes

I have used all the sizes except for the 1.5". I even have some 1/4" Circa discs which I don't think are available anymore.

I like the 3/4" the best. Am currently using the 1" on my daily planner and it's fine on a steady surface but unwieldy in hand. I'm going to change it back to the 3/4" size.

I would think the 1.5" is for archiving use.

Rollabind in Europe

I live in The Netherlands. Circa products are not being sold in my country. But Levenger should ship orders without a problem (w/ enormous shipping charges, however). An alternative would be Rollabind discs. These are sold here and there for Scrapbooking. The importer over here is ROMAK. I have contacted them and heard from them that Rollabind is what they call an (don't know the proper english word) "uitlopend" item. That is, that they only sell what's left in stock. Don't know if someone else will be importing Rollabind to The Netherlands.

Good advice

Thanks for the advice so far.

It seems that the smallest and largest ones may come in handy... smallest for hPDA and largest for some project reference book I need. I do notice that I should possibly buy more from the medium and large rings, but I think I'll first try out one roll each... they are a little expensive at 10$ the roll, if you ask me.

I'll check out the covers as well... any reason why I should buy at Levenger instead of "make" them?

Vanbregt, I am Dutch as well, but I don't live there anymore. Nevertheless, I go over there from time to time, and I'll check out a shop they have in Zwolle. Thanks for the tip! Just a real shame they stopped importing.

Levenger / Circa

As another Poster mentioned, Levenger did have the Circa rings on sale in red. I don't see it on their website now but that might be because they have run out in the warehouse. They would be about 60% less if your friend can find them. I picked them up on sale for $3.95 and got some gold matte ones as well for the same price. I think both colors are being discontinued. I haven't tried them yet so I can't say whether or not the pages turn more smoothly on the regular plastic as opposed to the matte metallic.

If you buy the desktop punch and personal punch together you save about $12.00.

They have some leather items on sale. If it's within your budget I would check the Levenger website, do a key word search for leather and just browse to see if there is anything that strikes your fancy. Some of their leather jackets, covers, folios, etc. are up to 70% off. Of course, there is probably a limited selection from store to store.

Also, they have bookmark "Bungees" on sale, at 5 for $20.00. They are usually $6.00 each.

non-obvious sale items

I think the red Circa rings are still on sale, but only certain sizes and they aren't really obvious where they list the sale prices. You have to go to Circa, then Circa accessories and then find the 3/4" and 1/2" rings and if they are still on sale it will say "Red on sale for $3.95" when you click on it.

Levenger seems to do this for just about any item that is only on sale for certain colors. If it is on sale for all colors, it shows up in their "Sale" section which has a Circa section. Some of the leather products were on sale (maybe still are?) in the "Evergreen" color. A very nice looking dark green.

All this is for the website and if you go to the store, they may have different stock. One more disclaimer: I'm behind an internet proxy here at work which caches everything. I may be looking at an older copy of the web pages.


Good suggestions

Thanks for so much advice.

I am already getting the red ones... As Supenguin says, it isn't obvious, but it seems they are still on sale. I am thinking of getting a second roll of 3/4", because they seem the most useful.

I would have loved to build a Circa DIY Planner with the Zip Folio, but I already bought a splendid leather planner folder early this year, and it works well. I am having a hard time restraining myself, but I shouldn't change something for the sake of changing... at least this is what I am telling myself. :-)

As for the pucnhes, I know I could save some money buying two, but I really only need one.

Thanks again. I can't wait for the products to get here!


European/British Stockists

I have read many good things about the Circa system on this site. It's a shame you can't buy it here in Europe.

Like you I've read good things of Rollabind/Circa. Being a search engine freak (writing them used to be my job when I worked in software engineering) I tried a few simple searches with Google and found some English scrapbook/journal shops that stock Rollabind punches and discs. None of them appears to carry the covers or other accessories; probably because of the different conventions for paper sizes between the US and Britain.

Much as I love my A5 FiloFAX organiser it is rather weighty to carry around with me all the time so have been thinking about visiting one of the UK stockists to check out whether it is possible to use Rollabind stuff for an A5-sized D*I*Y Planner. It would also be cheaper to drive to the nearest shop than pay the P&P charges. But not sure they let me try the one conclusive test for switching over to Rollabind -- will the punch cope with thick card (or plastic sheet) for use as a cover?

The simple search I tried was rollabind inurl:uk, which found me several possible English suppliers. Okay so none of them Levenger but it'd be a start.

Cover stock/plastic


The desktop and portable punches can both handle thick plastic covers I have made. They are .020" thick rigid vinyl. This is very thick stuff.

Ironically, there are some thin laminating sheets that the punch doesn't like. They don't cut cleanly and you have to go back with scissors and tidy up afterward. These are the kinds of plastics that are very 'stretchy' and so the punch tends to stretch them as much as it cuts them.

I have never had any trouble punching cardstocks--but there are some fun corrigated cardstocks that won't work because they're physically too thick to fit inside the punch, even though the material isn't that heavy or resistant to being punched.

Basically, if it isn't metal and you can fit it into the punches (they have a very narrow opening), you can probably punch it.

I was even considering getting some thin craft sheet metal (aluminum and copper) to make covers from. I think you'd be able to punch those OK too, but I haven't tried.

If you stack up 10 sheets of ordinary copy paper, that's the max thickness of paper or plastic you'll be cutting, roughly. Anything thicker won't fit into the punch. So, recycled plastic file folders, page protectors, and unpunched report covers will work fine, mostly. The brown backing from a legal pad will work fine. But not standard brown corrigated--it's too thick and won't fit.


Everything covered then

Thanks for the comments. All I need now is the £60 (approx) to buy a desk punch.

Discovered that there is a scrapbooking exhibition in London this coming weekend. If I can find time in my already hectic diary and summon up the courage to venture into such an alien environment then maybe I'll have some poker chips to play with too. ;-)

If Anonymous is anywhere near Alexandra Palace in north London this Saturday or Sunday it might be an opportunity to check out Rollabind stuff without the exorbitant shippig costs from the other side of the pond.

DCMC binding system - disc heresy

If you already have a two hole punch, the Dirt Cheap Milk Container binding system would allow you to do some binding which has all the advantages of thedisc binding systems, but would cost you nothing other than a few minutes making the binder. I wrote a post with photos at .

Very clever!

I wonder if you could simply cut rectangular strips, and overlap/glue the ends together? Then instead of the three layers of cardboard which (I think) won't move about your rings you could use covers that will.

Curtain Ring

Interesting idea. Wonder if instead of the milk carton loops one could substitute curtain rings? Or as I see one lying on my desk right beside me a key fob ring; that might make the initial setup rather awkward but once fitted wouldn't need to be changed.


What about those "zipki" things.... Oh, bother... what's the english word.... zip ties? Is that what they are called? Zip them to a certain spot, cut off the tag ends, and viola. You would want to use the ones that zip closed in a tangent, not perpendicular to the loop, though. hm... Nifty idea, though, in general.


Tie wraps?


Are you talking about tie wraps? Those get fastened one time and you have to cut them to open them back up. Very durable, but not very reusable.

A plastic strap with a box-like contraption at one end, moulded from the same plastic. The strap itself has 'teeth' on the inside that prevent the strap from being pulled back apart once fastened to itself. You can insert and tighten, but you can't remove.

There are some variants on the tie wrap concept that are removable/repositionable, but those are not the most common variety.


Them's it!

Yeah, that was what I had in mind. Specifically, the kind that the strap goes through in parallel to the loop, not sticking out. The ones I've seen like this, at Home Depot or Lowes, were all black. The only down-side to this is that they tend to keep getting smaller, but I would think that a drop of CA (super glue) would keep them from shrinking any smaller.

So, "tie wraps" is what they are called? Thanks.


Tie Wraps


Tie Wraps and Cable Ties are common terms. I dunno what the 'official' name would be. :)


There is such a thing as a Releasable Cable Tie

Releasable Cable Ties

Would that do ?

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I tried various rings

I tried various rings before, but they all make a floppy binder. I also looked into using cable ties in a similar way to using the milk container strips, but they would have just splipped out of the card sandwich (they are also rather thick for a double layer). The wide section at the end of the plastic strip is essential to anchor the ring/loop and keep it at right angle to the binder, though it would actually be better to make it square or rectangular, as the rounded end still allows some movement because it was difficult to cut precise holes. A square hole can be easily, and acuratly cut with a knife. Using only the little strips saves greatly on material, and does not require special glue. Polyethylene is very difficult to glue. If you have glue that can do it, you could probably get away with one thicknes of card, if you cut the strips just the width that goes through the punched holes and just cut a slit in the card to take the strip. That should keep it also from moving. Make the strip long enough to make a double layer, then there won't be any steps for the paper to snag on. There would only be one set of steps in the same spot, which could be right up against the backing card. Think of a split ring, but with the layers on top of each other, rather than side-by-side, and the opening part turned to the card.
I also made a wire version, which made a rigid binder, but the wire spine was a lot harder to make, and is rather heavy, and unless the wire is fairly thick, the paper can slip off more easily, whereas the plastic is very light, but makes a very secure binder.
I uploaded a couple of pics onto Flickr showing the loose ring version I tried before.

Nice idea - linked rings

Gets the old grey cells churning, looking for ways to utilize the idea.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Update on DCMC binding

One of the problems I have found with using the plastic strips, is that the plastic wants to revert back to its original shape - flat. The effect is that the circle becomes more a drop shape. Warming up the strip before curling and creasing back the tab helps to some extent, but putting pressure on the rings when writing tends to also flattten them out. Conclusion: It is still a useful way of binding paper for a scratchpad, and for archiving, even smurfed paper, as the strips can be positioned anywhere, and for archiving it is not necessary to have a ring/disc in every smurf.
I also experimented with a metal ring, a very short section cut from a pipe, and secured it with two strips of card butted against the ring, and glued to the base card holding it in position. That prevented the up and down movement fairly well, but not twisting. A very tight slot with a good thickness of card might prevent that, but the pressure on the ring would eventually make it dig into the cardboard, and loosen it.
Meanwhile I am expecting a punch and discs, and will be in Rolla planner heaven before long, happily smurfing away --) --)
or to use a smurfy: ;--)

I happened to finish off a

I happened to finish off a bottle of salad dressing yesterday, and while rinsing it out for recycling it struck me: the neck of the bottle was about an inch in diameter. 3-4" long, and already perfectly round. I don't know what type of plastic it is (a #1, whatever that means) but wouldn't it be even easier if you could just cut your plastic rings from a bottle like that? No need to paste them in with three layers of cardboard, or any layers at all.

Cardboard has another role...

in this scheme. If I understand it correctly, the cardboard is actually there to give the rings some stability so they don't go flopping around. Since these are rings, not discs, there is nothing to keep them from flopping, and even slipping through the slots you've cut in the paper. So, gluing them to the cardboard, they keep their distance and position relative to the paper, thus holding everything stiffly (relatively) together. I thought the same thing too, myself, at first. That's why I suggested the zip ties. But after she explained it, I understood the whys and wherefores--I think and hope...


That is right, Jon. After

That is right, Jon. After writing the above post, I added a link to the Flickr picture using unsupported rings, which shows how they flop about, and make a very loose binder.


Thanks for the comments. All I need now is the £60 (approx) to buy a desk punch.

After another post here, I got the idea to add "pl" to a Google search, which turned up old auctions on the Polish online auction web site. That got me thinking ,and I found a supposedly Rollabind desktop punch with (supposedly) thousands of disks (1320 to be exact). Theoretically, these rings are large enough to hold 150 pages each. I put in all these qualifiers, because the auction is a "buy it now" auction for the low price of 40zl. In USD, that's about $14, in Euros, that's about €10, and in British pounds, maybe £7. That's a bit tooo good to be true! However, I bought one, but that was last night. I need to actually receive it before I trust it! There were 5 of them, and there are 3 left. At that price, it may be worth getting for somebody. I can ship, of course. However, there are only 5 days left... Strange thing to find! Oh, here is the link with photos:


... in British pounds, maybe

... in British pounds, maybe £7. That's a bit tooo good to be true!

Wonder what the shipping to England from Poland would be? Um, tempting but that price does look too good to be true.

You have mail! :-)

Can answer my own question

I asked

Wonder what the shipping to England from Poland would be?

and jonglass found out. So now I'm the proud owner of a Rollabind punch and over a thousand rings.

Jon was worried about me being upset over the shiping costs. But even with at 44 zloty the whole thing (punch, disks, and postage) worked out around half the cost of buying a punch at one of the England stockists. So I'm real happy. Now if only someone can lend me time so I can finish up the first stage of my interpreter training and play with the punch I'd be exstatic.

Thanks Jon for all you did.

Would have loved to be in London now...

I'll be checking out the Dutch retailer that someone mentioned before, but I am afraid that the UK references won't be terribly useful to me particularly.

I appreciate the comments though and it is good to know that there is Rollabind stuff out here in Europe.