How to use printable custom binder tabs for DIY organizing

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Printable custom binder tabs are not only a great way to organize your binders but also your:

  • Journals
  • Hanging folders
  • Filling cabinets
  • Notebooks
  • Planners
  • And more

They add an easy way to quickly find the section and information you need no matter how many pages you have.

And did I mention they are surprisingly easy and cheap to create at home using other journaling and paper supplies you likely have already lying around?

That’s why today, I want to cover how you can make them for your own projects with some valuable tips and tricks.

What are binder tabs called?

Binder tabs can be called many different things depending on where in the world you’re from and can be used for more than just binders. Some other names you might come across are:

  • Divider tabs
  • Folder tabs
  • Index tabs

They can also simply be called dividers as it’s not unusual to find them already attached to divider pages when shopping at your local stationery store.

Here’s what you’ll need to DIY your own custom binder tabs at home:

How To DIY Your Own Custom Binder Tabs

Step 1: Download + Print Your DIY Binder Tabs

To begin with, you’ll want to get your favorite printable tabs design, like these floral tabs or these grimoire-themed ones instead. Or if you want to completely design your own custom index tabs then Canva is a great tool for this.

Download your printable DIY binder tabs PDF or PNG to your computer and ensure you keep it safe, like in Dropbox or Google Drive.

Then, you’ll want to choose what kind of paper you’d like to use. You likely want a nice study paper to help ensure they’ll stand up to the wear and tear of you using them on a daily basis. But also not something too thick that you’ll have trouble folding it later.

Select your print size and print them out at home. If you’d prefer to buy your prints at a store, check out the nifty photo-printing kiosks at Walgreens or Staples printing services.

Step 2: Cut + Fold The Custom Binder Tabs

Once printed, carefully cut the outline of each of your printable tabs with scissors or a craft knife. If you have something like a Cricut or a Silhouette cutter, you may find it quicker to use this instead.

Be careful to only cut around your tabs where necessary. For example, the tabs you’ll find from my shop should stay attached at the top so they can be folded in half and wrapped around the edges of the pages.

This way, they’ll also be double-sided too, and in my experience, tabs like this are much more robust to wear and tear.

If you’re unsure, always test with a single tab following the steps from start to finish. You can always try attaching them to blank pages first before adding them to your final pages. It always sucks to ruin your previously prepared pages. 🙁

Step 3: Customize with text (Optional)

How to use printable custom binder tabs for DIY organizing

Once your tabs are printed out, now is a good time to write any text you need on them if they’re blank ones that you customize yourself.

It’s much easier to write on them while they are still flat, as once they are attached to your pages, it gets much more tricky. Or you can skip this if they came prepared with text already.

Step 4: Position + Stick

We’re now ready to attach the index tabs to your pages!

There are a few different ways we can do this, such as applying some glue or tape to the back-unprinted side of the tab.

Or, if you want a more creative approach, you can use washi tape along your page edges to hold the tabs in place. You’ll probably still want to apply some glue, though, and the washi tape should be used on both sides of the page if the tabs fold in half.

For positioning, you’ll want to experiment with what works for you.

The whole point of tabs is that they stick out from the page so you can quickly find them and use them to open the section of your journal, planner, or binder.

How much you want them to stick out is a balance between how strong they are to wear and tear over time vs. how easily you can use them.

I always prefer to overlap them by at least 5mm, but I encourage you to experiment on blank paper before busting out glue and tape on your final pages.

You should also plan where you want your tabs and in what order.

It’s fairly common to stick tabs to the side edges of your pages, but nothing is stopping you from putting them at the top or bottom instead.

As for the order, this is so strongly preference-based, so it’s hard to give you any real tips for this.

Conclusion: DIY Printable Folder Tabs Are Easy To Create Right At Home

In conclusion, by following the simple steps listed above, you can easily print, cut out and stick printable folder tabs to journal, binder, or notebook pages.

This will help keep you organized and allow you to quickly and easily find the information you need. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Remember to test creating a single tab first to ensure your tabs work the way you want. And to avoid damaging any pages you’ve spent a lot of time or even ink working on.

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