It’s finally ready to share: my dissolving pull tab tutorial. The original creator is The Pop-Up Channel over on YouTube. I have just adapted it to work in a bullet journal. The video tutorial can be found here, so that you can follow along. I have created some templates for you. You can find them in the From Blank to Brilliant Library. If you sign up for my email newsletter, you get instant access to templates, stickers, discounts, and more!
But, without further ado, let’s get started!
This post contains some affiliate links. This means I may earn a referral fee if you make a purchase through my link, without any additional cost to you. By doing so allows me to keep creating content for your enjoyment. Thank you SO much for your support!
- Archer and Olive A5 notebook (NML10 gets you 10% off of your purchase)
- Archer and Olive Dot Grid Notepad in white
- Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive
- Scotch Tape clear tape
- Exacto Craft Knife
- Pencil and Pen
Dissolving Pull Tab Tutorial Tips and Tricks
- The number one suggestion I am going to make is to make a practice pull tab first. Do this to make sure you understand how it’s supposed to work and how you want it to work in your bullet journal.
- Your dissolving pull tab can be horizontal or vertical.
- To build the pull tab mechanism, it is easiest to work in multiples of 3. More on this below.
- Use dot grid or grid paper. It is a lot easier to figure out the measurements for your journal this way. I used my Archer and Olive Dot Grid Notepad to work out the mechanisms.
- You can always create the pull tab mechanism outside of the journal and then glue it in. I have both made it outside the journal and glued it in, and made it in the journal. The glue in way is probably less anxiety inducing!
- Have fun with it! There are so many different ways you can incorporate this into a theme or layout. Just explore with it and see.
Dissolving Pull Tab Instructions
You are going to start by measuring out your base. If you are creating this directly in your bullet journal, this will be the piece that you cut out of your bullet journal page. These are the measurement I used for “Roses” which is the vertical dissolving pull tab. (For my March Cover Page, I used measurements of 3 boxes and cut an extra window.)
- You are going to decide how wide you want to make your base. In this example, I made the width 16 boxes. You can make this bigger or smaller, you just have to remember to adjust your sliding arms (next step).
- The vertical measurements are where the multiples of 3 come into play. As you can see, each section measures 6 boxes down – up to 4 sets. You can keep adding more sets as you want to add more segments to your pull tab. In my March cover page, I used sets of 3 boxes and added an extra window. (The pattern goes: 6; 2, 2, 2; 6; 2, 2, 2).
- The 2 sets of 2, 2, 2 boxes will be cut out. Make sure to leave one set of the 2 lines of boxes for overlap. There is an angled cut because this helps the windows to slide more easily. Now, cut out the windows with the angle.
- You will see a cut line about 9 squares below the last set of boxes. Hold off on cutting this for now.
The Window Pieces
- The 2 rectangle shapes with the “arms” will be glued into the gaping holes that you cut in the previous section. These form additional slots for your sliding pull tab.
- The width of these rectangles should be the same as the width you determined when drawing your base. In my case, it was 16 boxes. The length of the boxes are double the length of the window, so for me the window was 6 boxes so this will be 12. You may have to trim these a little so that they fit more easily into the windows.
- Make sure to cut the arms out. This is the part that is glued into the open holes.
- Gently place these boxes into the holes you cut in the base, making sure there is some overlap. The overlap should be over the short-end of the rectangle by the arms. Carefully glue them in place by adding glue or taping the arms down. Repeat with the second rectangle.
- The 3rd rectangle with the tab is a portion of the pull tab. This will be the first rectangle that gets glued onto the spine. This piece should also be the same width as the base – 16 boxes, and a total length of 11 boxes, but where the tab is 2 boxes long.
- The final, smaller piece will be used to glue your pull tab in place. So hang onto it for now.
The Pull Tab
- The final part is creating the pull tab that will slide into the base slots that we just created.
- For this pattern, you will cut out 3 of the shapes you see – rectangles with slanted cuts to a tab (the tab measures 4 boxes across). Again, these shapes measure 16 boxes across. The total length is 12 boxes – double the slotted base windows.
- The angled cuts are important as these allow the mechanism to easily slide into the window slots.
- NOTE: you may have to trim these rectangles slightly smaller so that they move more easily into the slots.
- The spine of the pull tab, I measured 8 boxes across and then folded in half, for a width of 4 boxes – the same as the tabs on the rectangles. This strengthens the pull tab.
- Once these pieces are cut out, you are going to start gluing them onto your spine.
- The measurements get a bit tricky here so I used repositionable glue just until I got it in the right place.
- I found that starting in the middle of the pull tab, I was able to get the measurements just right. From the middle of the tab, count 6 boxes up, and this will be where you glue your next piece. Count 6 boxes down, the this is where you’ll glue your third piece.
- Once those 3 pieces are in place, measure another 6 boxes up from the top piece, and this is where the squared off piece from the previous section will be glued.
- Start fiddling with your pull tab and your base to get the pieces in place and make sure it is working well. You may have to trim pieces here and there to get it working just right.
The Final Steps
- Once you have your pull tab sliding seamlessly through the slots, you are going to start securing it in place.
- Remember the first image with the small cut line?! You are now going to figure out the best place to put it. This cut line is going to act as a stopper for the pull tab so that the sliders don’t accidentally pop out of the mechanism.
- I measured my cut line to be 9 boxes from the end of the last window. I found this to be ideal. Cut this line just a fraction longer than your pull tab (which, in my example, was 4 boxes). This allows it to move a little easier.
- The last piece we have left is the small rectangular piece from the the first step. This is going to hold the end piece of your pull tab in place.
- I measured my piece to be 8 boxes in width, gluing 2 rows of boxes on each side of the pull tab mechanism. The length of this piece determines how long your pull tab is and how much space you have left in your bullet journal. Trim this piece down as you need and glue it in place on the base.
- Again, this piece keeps your mechanism in place and stops it from sliding out.
- Once you are done, you can trim your pull tab spine to size, cutting the spine when the pull tab is pushed down.
And there you have the dissolving pull tab tutorial. Definitely follow along while watching the video so as to limit confusion. There are many moving parts (see what I did there?!), when it comes to creating this mechanism. But it is fun and the possibilities are endless.
If you do end up recreating any of my layouts, please tag me as I would love to see how you used the dissolving pull tab tutorial in your notebook. If you run into any issues, please do not hesitate to reach out and I will try to help you through it. There is a lot of trial and error involved but, at least I feel, it is worth it!
Thank you so much for your time today!