I had only a few goals for this project: it needed to be quick and cheap to fabricate, and it needed to be small and light. For this project, you will need:
-A notebook or book with a plain black cover. I used a Moleskine journal, the kind that come in three-packs.
-Linen paper or resume paper, ivory.
-Sharpies in green, blue, and red/orange. Because the paper is not white, neon colors work the best.
-A ruler, preferably see-through.
-A restickable glue stick.
-Photo editing software or this image.
-Self-sticking hole reinforcements (optional).
It was about 30USD for enough materials to make three plan books, though that could be less (or more) depending on what notebook(s) you use. This project took me about two to three hours all told, including figuring out what in the world I was doing.
Ready? Let's go!
Step 1: Making Plans
The plans are based on circuit diagrams, so to create the plans, I downloaded a number of free circuit diagrams from the internet and pieced them together. Look for large, black and white images with minimal text. Unless the images are transparent, you will need to make them so before starting. To quickly remove a background from a black and white image in Photoshop (CS2), follow these steps:
-Create a new transparent layer and put it at the bottom of your image (use Layer From Background if the lock appears on your bottom layer).
-Making sure you're working on the top layer, use Select > Color Range and sample the WHITE portion of the image. Play with the fuzziness until you can see your outline. Hit okay.
-Hit delete. You should see just your outline against a transparent (checkered) background.
Now you have a piece of plan. Do this several times with several circuit diagrams; you might also try city maps from cities with gridded streets. When you have enough material (two or three should be fine), create a new image that's large enough to fit on a piece of paper large enough to cover your pages. Now just have fun putting things together. Shrink some of it down, blow some of it up, erase text, cut it into pieces, move it around. After you have something that's to your liking, make it a nice shade of blue. If you flatten the image before you start playing with the colors, it is much, much easier.
If you don't know how to do any of that, don't have photo editing software, or don't care to learn, you can use this image. You will need to blow it up to make it fit on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. You'll notice that the most screen-inaccurate thing about my version is that the plans from the movie have margins around the pages, but screen accuracy definitely took a backseat to ease of construction, as always.
Print out several copies of your design onto the paper. The color and heavier weight really make a difference, so don't skimp on this part. Now that you have your plans, it's time for the fun/nerve wracking part: the route!
Step 2: Tracing Routes
I made two different books, so the routes written in each of them are different. There are several ways to do this, so I chose one book showing two routes crossing, like David and Elise's, and one with plans going wrong, like David's. There are many ways to do this, and the books the adjusters carry vary greatly in terms of how the routes are written. The only real rule seems to be that routes can't go backwards- only move in one direction when you're drawing.
Before you begin, test, test, test. Test your colors. Test your line thicknesses. If you have the patience, test your routes. Don't leave this to chance (heh), or you will screw it up.
If you want to put inflection points in your route, I recommend doing these first. I'm not a good artist, and I can't draw a circle to save my life, so the solution I came up with was hole reinforcement stickers. I put one down where I wanted an inflection point, markered around it, and pulled it off- they come off very easily, but again, TEST. If you have inflection points in your route, start drawing there and work your way back to the other side of the page, NOT the reverse; you can always go away, but you might not be able to start somewhere else and come back.
The routes I drew were based on what appears in Harry's book, in terms of line weight and inflection points. Lines for things that have already happened are thick, and ones for things that might happen after an inflection point are thin. I started by tracing all my routes roughly in pencil, so that I knew where I was going. Then, I laid down a single Sharpie line for all of them using a ruler. The grid makes this quite easy, but if you reach a spot and get stuck without a line, just make one up. For things before inflection points, I thickened the lines, but I left the ones after as they were.
It's as simple and as complicated as that!
Step 3: Doing the Books
Fold the plans in half, short sides together, making sure your crease is as sharp as possible. Open up the book or notebook to the center page and flatten it out as much as you can. Apply glue to one side of the plans and press it to one of the pages, trying to get the crease as close to the spine of the book as possible and making sure the page lines up evenly. Apply glue to the other side of the plans and close the book, pressing down on it hard to make the glue adhere. Using restickable glue makes this exponentially easier, because I found that I had to do a whole lot of moving to get the plans in the right place.
Now, trim the edges so that the plans don't stick out of the book. It's best to do this by cutting just slightly into the page, which will assure that it stays within the other pages.
That, my friends, is all she wrote.
I can safely say that this project was a big success. I met all of my objectives in a very short amount of time, and the books look quite slick, even if they don't move. To Dragon*Con!