This year I managed to fail is all possible ways while printing my own inserts. I kept surprising myself with how silly and careless I was with every page printed, cut or punched. So I thought I’d share my huge fail and some save-the-inserts tips to hopefully help you avoid this kind of disaster.
1. Start printing with the wrong page.
Yes I actually did it and yes I’m extremely embarrassed but don’t tell anyone. While this may sound harmless if you make the mistake and start printing with an even page while printing double sides, you will completely ruin all your inserts. If you need to print your inserts starting anywhere other than the first page ALWAYS make sure to start printing with an odd page.
Solution: None, just print everything allover again. (I actually kept the fail inserts for pen testing and notes)
2. Cutting off the wrong side.
Most of my inserts didn’t have cut lines so if you are on a similar case be extra careful with cutting. So my second fail was that I didn’t pay attention and I cut deep on the side that I needed to punch my inserts leaving no space for the holes. On most cases this will cause a big problem as punching the holes on the other side would mess things up.
Solution: Considering punching the holes anyway and sacrificing the space is not an option (it was definitely not an option for me), a way to make this work is to use some washi tape to reinforce the cut side and punch holes on it. When I went ahead and did that, the tape actually felt a bit too thin so I decided to cut some very thin stripes of paper and I sandwiched it between the two pieces of tape.
3. Other cutting mistakes.
I honestly don’t know how it happened but after I finished cutting a batch of inserts a couple of them were extra trimmed from the top side. At that point I was considering giving up already but as it was only some pages and the cut parts were only the names of the days and months I took a deep breath and decided to fix that too.
Solution: For this case the possibilities are actually many. The general idea is to cover the cut days/months and rewrite them on top. You can do this using washi tape, masking stickers, just sticking another piece of paper, use some sticker with days/months or even print your own stickers with the size and style that works best for you.
4. Hole-punching on the wrong side.
It may be hard to believe but after all the above mistakes I still didn’t learn my lesson and wasn’t careful enough while punching my monthly inserts so I punched holes on the wrong side. Thankfully this is one of the easiest problems to fix.
Solution: The quickest way to fix this would be to cut off the fail punched side and repunch on the right one. This will give you a bit more narrow inserts. If it bothers you when your inserts don’t have the same size, don’t worry, there is another solution. Just punch new holes on the right side and cover the wrong ones with some washi tape or stickers and there you have it, good as new (and already decorated!).
5. Holes punched too close/far.
And when you thing the nightmare is over you try to put your “fixed” inserts in your planner and boom! the holes are not punched properly and they are too close together.
Solution: If the problem is too big and it’s not getting fixed but just making the holes slightly bigger then washi tape is once again your best friend. Just cover up the wrong holes with some tape and re-punch on top of it (make sure to get it right this time).
As a conclusion I really want to say that if you decide to print, cut and punch your own inserts make sure you are focused at what you are doing and take the time to be a bit more careful cause one small mistake can ruin a lot of work. Try to separate your inserts in smaller batches. This way you avoid ruining everything if something goes wrong and most importantly it’s easier to get it right if you get them as example in groups of 10 pages than in 50.
Also be patient, if you rush things you increase the chances of making mistakes. And don’t get disappointed if the result doesn’t look like the inserts you buy, that’s the point of making them on your own, DIY is not supposed to be perfect and things don’t need to be perfect to be pretty and useful.
Oh! And never forget, washi tape is your best friend!