Q & A: How Can I Deal with Ripped Holes in Notebooking Pages?

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Today’s post is inspired by a comment on my lens Science Notebooking:

Q: Question

Hi, I just came across your site and LOVE it! I have been doing notebooks for years and I appreciate your freebies and ideas! My problem right now is this…I love to use a 3 ring binder but the darn pages rip and fall out (especially for my messy kiddos). I have been using composition notebooks. They work okay, but I’m looking for the perfect solution.

So the problem at hand is pages that tear out of three ring binders. I’m going to answer this one with a video. A text post follows for those of you who would prefer to read rather than watch.

Three ring binders are, by far, my favorite type of notebook even though we do use other types. But it is true that pages can easily rip out of them.

A: Answer

There are four methods for reinforcing pages so that the holes don’t rip. (These methods also work for holes that have already ripped.)

1. Use High Quality Paper

We tend to use a fair amount of cardstock in our notebooks. It can hold up to a lot more pressure than normal notebook paper. And by the way, copy paper is going to be thicker than notebook paper. I try to buy the heaviest weight paper when I’m shopping. It does cost more, but it feels nicer and holds up far longer than cheaper paper. Maybe changing the weight of the paper you use will be a solution.

2. Page Protectors

The easiest solution is to use page protectors. Because they are plastic, they rarely rip from the binder. Stick with the better quality ones, in other words, slightly more expensive ones, for best results. Page protectors give a uniform appearance to your notebooks and make them look really classy.

But there are some cons t0 using page protectors. First, they do cost money that you may want to spend. In addition, they make your notebooks thicker, so you may need even larger binders than before. Also, page protectors ruin any interactive features you may have in your notebooking pages. Let’s say you have  minibooks pasted on or brochures that open. Obviously, you can’t access those with a page protector in use.

But bottom line, page protectors prevent pages’ ripping out.

3. Stick on Hole Reinforcers

We keep these on hand because we are avid notebookers. The do work, especially when a single hole has been torn through. But it is hard to find reinforcers that actually stick! A lot of them come loose and do no good at all. So to be honest, these are not the best option.

4. Patch With Tape

This last method may not look great, but it works. You can use tape — masking tape, clear tape, patterned duct tape — along the margin of the paper. Holes punched in the taped area are not likely to rip through.

As a caution, you need to know that this solution may gum up your hole punch depending on the tape you use.

We reserve this method mainly for pages that have ripped through on two or three holes and need major help with staying together.

So those are the four ways we deal with pages that rip out of three ring binders. Do you have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them in a comment here on this post.


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Jimmie Quick

Jimmie is now a veteran homeschool mom. Her daughter Emma is a student of the sciences at a large university in Illinois. Her guide to notebooking—Notebooking Success—guides you through notebooking: what it is; how to use it; how it fits a Charlotte Mason, classical, and textbook curriculum; tips for getting the most educational value from it; and much more. It comes bundled with several bonuses, including a small set of generic notebooking pages that can be used with any topic.

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Alicia Reply

I tried commenting on this earlier and got an error message, so I’m not sure if it went through or not. I have a wonderful suggestion that helps with number 3, and is better than number 4. Have you ever heard of the Auto Ring? It’s a small contraption that works almost like a stapler but applies a clear mylar ring around page holes! They are VERY sturdy, stick very well, and are very inexpensive. It comes in two sizes, pocket and desktop, but even the large size is quite small. I’ve never seen it sold locally but it is available through Rainbow Resource, and maybe a few other places. I think I searched Amazon once and couldn’t find it. It produces very nice looking, reinforcements that stick quite well!

    Jimmie Quick Reply

    No! I’ve never heard of that, but I want to get one! 🙂 Thanks so much for the heads up, Alicia. (And no, your other comment must have been lost in cyberspace. I so appreciate your taking the time to type it all out again.)

    Dixie L Garverick Reply

    Does this work if the holes have already torn through?

dstb Reply

Another option might be to find paper that is reinforced on the side where the hole punch is. I found this at either Target or Staples and you can also order it at Amazon. I am sure it is more expensive than regular notebook paper, but it has worked for my son. If you buy it during the back to school sales in August, you can probably get a good deal. Just look for “reinforced filler paper”.

    Jimmie Quick Reply

    Another great recommendation from my genius readers! Thank you, dstb! I have not heard of that. (Yes, sometimes I do feel that I live under a rock!) But I will be on the lookout for it.

Jasmine Reply

Love the video posts! This will be very helpful to keep in mind as I plan to do Notebooking in the future with my little ones.

Shannon Margaret Reply

When we use a three ring I have been using colored duct tape and three hole punching it….

Cathy Reply

I have an old binder (family) the rings seem to open at will. What can I do to stop this? My pages keep slipping off the ring.

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