Pull Tab in a Bullet Journal

Pull Tab in a Bullet Journal

Over on Instagram, I posted a pull tab in a bullet journal tutorial. I actually posted 3 ways that you can create a pull tab in your journal. Today I have condensed everything into one post and video for you. I’m going to post the tutorials in the same order as the video so that it’ll be easier to follow along. This tutorial may seem complicated but it is honestly, not as complicated as it looks.

Pull Tab In a Bullet Journal

Pull Tab in a Bullet Journal – Method 1

For Method 1, you are using 3 pages in your notebook. You are adding a small portion – your pull down tab and flap. This method definitely uses the most pages. So, the first page will be your layout and the following 2 pages will secure the mechanism for making the pull tab in your bullet journal work.

  1. As mentioned earlier, pencil in and measure out your elements to determine where you want the window to go. Once you are happy, cut the window out using a craft knife. The next step is to work on the pull tab.
  2. Cut a piece a little bigger than the window you cut out of your front page. I added a row of boxes to the top and bottom of my tab, and 2 rows of boxes on either side. I do this to give the tab more stability, so that it doesn’t pop out of the window.
  3. For the spine of the pull tab, use a long piece of paper. You’ll trim it down to size much later, but for now, keep it as long as possible. Mine is the length of a bullet journal page (if your element is higher up on your page, you’ll want a longer piece). Fold down 2 or more boxes of the spine (but make sure to keep some length). Place glue on the folded portion, line up with the middle of your tab, and glue the 2 together.
Pull Tab Tutorial

The next step is working on the second page. This is where measuring becomes key!

  1. Using your window on your first page as a guide/stencil, draw out your window on your second page. This will help determine where to cut your second page. Err on the side of caution when cutting this page. If you run into issues, you can defer to method 2.
  2. Depending on how many boxes you added to the top of your tab, that’s how many boxes to leave above the outline of your window (on the second page). Your pull tab will be hooking onto this cut line so you want to triple check that your measurements are correct. Once you are sure, cut the second page from the spine to the edge horizontally.
  3. Hook your tab over the flap you just cut and mark out where you will be adding glue (on both the second page flap and third page). Make sure that you won’t be adding any glue in the way of your tab. When placing glue on the top section of page 3, consider where you want your tab to stop. I leave a margin of one box to make sure that the tab is fully hidden.

The purpose of the 3rd page is to keep it all in place.

  1. Once you have marked out where you need to place glue, start gluing. I use a glue tape runner which is a bit easier to control. Double-sided tape will work well too. Get as close to your pencil lines as possible. This will make sure that the pull tab stays in place. Remember to put your pull tab in it’s place before gluing.
  2. Don’t forget to add a thumb hole at the bottom of the page. This makes it easier to grasp the tab to pull it down.
Gluing the Pull Tab

When everything is glued and in place, it’s time to trim down the pull tab spine. Push your tab up until it’s hidden (very important that you push it up to it’s highest point), then trim your pull tab spine to size. I trim mine along the notebook edge.

Pull Tab in a Bullet Journal – Method 2

Method 2 only uses two pages in your notebook, but you add a piece of paper to it. This method is great when you may have already used the page behind it. For example, I created my lettered piece after I did my next monthly setup, so I was limited with space.

Follow the steps 1 – 3 in Method 1 to create your front page and your pull tab.

Method 2 Pull Tab Tutorial
  1. Cut a second piece of paper to size. I cut it the same width as my notebook to limit the future bumpiness in my journal. For the top-to-bottom measurement, cut the paper a couple boxes bigger than your window, but smaller than your pull tab.
  2. On the back of your element page, grab your pull tab and line it up with the window. Draw a line along the edge of the pull tab on the page. This line helps determine where your glue will go for the extra piece of paper.
  3. Place glue in the “glue area”. Line up your extra piece of paper at least one (two may be better) square above your window. This helps ensure that the pull tab won’t pop out of place when you push it back in. Glue it down.
  4. Grab your pull tab and test how it works. Once you are happy, start marking out your glue lines, making sure your pull tab is in the right place. Make sure that none of the glue lines obstruct the pull tab mechanism.
  5. Start gluing, placing the glue as close to your glue lines as possible.
  6. Add a thumb hole at the bottom of the page. This makes it easier to grasp the tab to pull it down.
Method 2 - final step

Remember to trim down the length of the pull tab spine, pushing it up as high as it should go.

Pull Tab in a Bullet Journal – Method 3

This is possibly the easiest and fastest method of the three. Like Method 2, you use two pages, but you build you tab differently. This method works best for designs where there is enough space between the bottom of the window and the bottom of the notebook.

Method 3  - gluing your tab in place
  1. Measure out your window, making sure you have a least the same amount of page beneath it. So if your window is 6 squares long, make sure you have at least 6 squares between the bottom of the window and the end of the page.
  2. Cut your window out using a craft knife.
  3. Grab an extra piece of paper. This will be your tab. As with Methods 1 and 2, grab a spine piece as long as your journal. We will trim it down later.
  4. Measure a square a couple of boxes wider than your window, and double the length, so 12 boxes instead of 6.
  5. Line up your spine along the middle of your pull tab piece, and glue them together.
  6. Grab your pull tab mechanism and measure along the back of the front page, deciding where your glue needs to go. The top of the pull tab and along the bottom of the page are the most critical parts to be glued. The bottom portion will catch the tab and make sure it doesn’t slip out.
  7. Put your tab in place and glue around it. This will keep the tab in place and ensure you put the glue in the right places.

Important things to note:

  • Make sure you glue the tab in place. Once the page is glued, you won’t be able to put the tab back in place
  • For method 3, make sure to put a thin strip of glue along the bottom of the page (accounting for the pull tab), to prevent the pull tab from pull out of the pages completely
  • Place a thin piece if cardboard between your pages when cutting with a craft knife, protecting the pages underneath it.
  • Glue as close to your guide lines as possible without going over. Otherwise your pull tab won’t work properly.
  • Never cut your pull tab when it is pulled out. Always make sure it is in it’s “hidden” space before cutting the tab to size.

I hope you find these tutorials helpful. Try them out and let me know if you run into any issues not covered in this tutorial. There is some trial and error involved so I strongly suggest you do a practice run (or two), before jumping in.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out the dutch door in my February setup, or how art journaling helped me develop my creative bullet journaling skills.

Thank you so much for your time today!

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