Instructables
Picture of Mini Moleskine
I love my little Moleskine notebook, but truth be told it's a tad large for my pants pockets when they're already laden with wallet, keys, phone, and so on. I've been wishing for awhile for a tiny memo pad-sized Moleskine, until yesterday when I realized I could just cut a regular small Moleskine in half and have an (almost) instant really pocket-sized Moleskine!
 
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Step 1: Slice your Moleskine in half!

Picture of Slice your Moleskine in half!
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This is my first ever Instructable and already I'm afraid of losing my DIY cred because I paid someone to do the first step--which was most of the work--for me.

Originally I was going to cut my Moleskine (actually three of them--a standard pocket sketchbook and two of those skinny cahiers) in half myself using an X-Acto knife a few pages at a time, but as I was driving home from the craft store and thinking about how much of a pain that was going to be, it occurred to me what short work one of those big automatic paper cutters would make of it. So I went to Kinko's and asked if they had a "really big paper cutter," to which the woman behind the counter replied, "Yeah," in a voice that really meant "Duh!" (though not unkindly).

She charged me $1.50 for each cut, so $3.00 plus tax for the three notebooks (she stacked the cahiers and cut them both in one slice), which seemed well worth it for the trouble it would have taken me.

A couple notes about letting other people cut your Moleskine:

1) Measure it yourself. I asked her to cut them each in half, and I saw her working with a ruler in the back, but one half came out an eighth of an inch wider on all of them. So I recommend doing the measuring and math yourself, and then clearly marking where you want the cut made before you hand it off for chopping.

2) Be specific about the elastic band. I asked her to just cut the elastic band in the center because I wanted each half still attached, so I could stretch each half around the back (I think it was long enough) and have an elastic band for each Mini Moleskine. She misinterpreted that as cutting the elastic band off completely, which she deftly did before I could stop her! You can see the result in this photo. Not a disaster, but a lesson learned.

3) Don't forget about the bookmark. The Moleskine was brand new and I completely forgot that the bookmark was neatly tucked inside. As a result, I now have a slightly-too-short bookmark attached to one Mini Moleskine, and an unattached bookmark for the other. Oops.

The cut wasn't perfect. On the new edge of the back of the bottom half the black oilcloth got torn a little, which you can see in the center right of the photo. But it's a lot better than I could have done with my X-Acto knife.

Of course, now I have two Mini Moleskines with half-pockets in the back. I'm not sure if I'll leave these as-is--they still hold slips of paper reasonably well--or try to fix them somehow. It oughtn't be too difficult to close up the now-open sides with an accordion-folded piece of paper that would look and work almost as well as the original.

The cahiers originally had weird half-pockets, so now one half has a half-pocket, and the other just has a cardboard flap (see photos). This might be worth fixing, but I haven't gotten around to it. A staple would do it, but stitches would be more attractive.
mili6 years ago
I agree this is a really cool idea! Great for girls like me to carry in our pockets, women's clothing never has enough (nice) pockets that fit more than a paperclip lol! Just a question though, what kind of place is Kinko's? I'm not in the US, so I'd like to know so I can figure out what kind of place to try here that might have stonking big paper cutters! Also, if you could tell me what sort of Glue Elmer's Craft Bond is, that'd be nice too, that way I know what to ask for. I was gonna use plain ole Super Glue, but then I read more carefully and saw the bit about the discoloration, which while not a disaster would be best avoided!
Swirlee (author)  mili6 years ago
Hi mili! Kinko's is a chain of copy and print shops in the U.S. I'm not sure what the U.K. equivalent is, but I think most print shops of sufficient size ought to have the ability to cut a notebook in half. Elmer's Craft Bond is just a general-purpose craft glue. It looks just like plain old white glue. I'm not sure if it's the best for this purpose, it's just what I had on hand. Thanks for your comment!
It's like acrylic wood glue, so any white acrylic glue works fine. I have used ordinary wood glue (it's acrylic) to apply glue on the 3 unglued sides of a sketch pad, so it was glued all over except one corner, just like aquarel paper (so it stretches back if you use water paint on it). The ones I glued myself (using a painting knife to distrubute the glue) looks exactly like the one side that was glued from the factory, so they're obviously using this type of glue to bind the back of the pad.

And for Mili, if you see this, remember that Google always finds answers to such questions for you! It took me a couple of seconds to find the answer as to what Kinko's is (I'm outside the US too), the chain of Copy/Print and Document Services shops is obviously owned by FedEx (when I entered "kinkos.com" as the URL, it automatically changed to FedEx's domain). I LOVE Google! :)
wakojako3 years ago
a bit off topic but at first glance the photo on step one (Slice your Moleskine in half!) looks like a full notebook with a white band round it!
jehan601884 years ago
you're right.  the pocket moleskines are a bit on the big side.  I've been avoiding using some I got as a present for this reason (and because I don't want to be "one of those" people)
but I think i'll start phasing moleskine's into my paper usage (instead of a 38 cent walmart pad- ugh, I hate that cheap paper!)
bishopdante4 years ago
It's called a guillotine!

http://www.stewartgraphics.com.au/userimages/84Polar76em%20%283%29.JPG
bishopdante4 years ago
the device which you're referring to is a guillotine. Spent quite a while slicing & dicing with one of those. They're the shiz, you can put anything in those.
colorslam4 years ago
I have tried to solve the exact same problem! Like you I want a little notebook I can fit in my pants pocket. Never thought of hacking a moleskine, but I did think of those paper choppers at Kinko's. I buy tiny composition books at Office Max ("Marble Memo" 4 1/2" x 3 1/4" before chopping, 99 cents) and get them cut. Not nearly as classy, but fills the bill. The chopper can slice through about 4 of them, so that's 8 little books for $5.50 and tax.
gergranada5 years ago
I totally agree with your thought of having a truly pocket sized Moleskine. However, have you seen the smaller Moleskine notebooks that come in different colors? They appear to be about the size of your "Halfskine."
Swirlee (author)  gergranada5 years ago
From the Moleskine web site it looks like you're talking about the new Volant notebooks in "Extra Small" size. They didn't sell these when I wrote my Instructable, but they look like a great alternative. Thanks for the tip!
cam42 Swirlee5 years ago
Yes, the Volant notebooks are what you want if you're looking for truly Pocket Sized.
Just an FYI, the Volant notebooks are great and fit perfectly in my back pocket. The only problem is that they are softcover. This Intructable gives you hardcover notebooks, which is nice
mccheval5 years ago
Just a couple of tips, I have worked in printing for about a decade so I have a couple of hints: 1. from your first picture, it looks like the pressure was pretty high on the clamp when he cut your book. It dented your cover a little bit. You can ask them to put scrap paper on top and below your book when they are cutting it, this will also help with the jagged paper on the bottom of the cut. 2, the easiest way to get rounded corners is to take 2 squares of card stock and put them on the top and bottom of your book on the square corner(these will protect the cover from dents when you clamp it). Take a C clamp with the desired radius for your corner and clamp it on the square corner. Take a square block and some sandpaper and sand until your corner is rounded, using the c clamp as a guide.
mowie5 years ago
cool but its no use to me im left handed and its really hard to write on small pads like that because there is no where to rest your hand
neutron7 mowie5 years ago
start from the back and draw on the "back" of the page.
mowie neutron75 years ago
haha great idea thanks
hodgebe5 years ago
I did something like this. I used two small 1" vices, and four pieces of hard wood (about the size of a card deck). I sandwitched the book between the hard wood pieces and tightened them down, so the pages would be bound tight. I then cut through it with a pipe saw (ie a thinner blade). Came out pretty clean.
alivia5 years ago
Excellent Instructable. There are also Instructables about making a short pen for various applications. I like a shorter pen, I can carry it my front pants pocket and it doesn't poke me.
theophilus5 years ago
moleskine does actually sell one that is slightly less than half the size of the "pocket-size
seabluelee6 years ago
Great idea! I think I'd color that exposed cardboard edge with a black Sharpie pen or similar permanent marker before applying the glue. That should make the cut edge just about unnoticeable.
nplant6 years ago
For the sharp corners, if you have access to a high speed belt or disk sander, you could probably contour it to match (roughly) the original. Should be do-able, as long as you clamp the pages together tightly, near that corner. Would come out relatively clean, I would think, too. Nice project!
Hey, I think this is a great idea- and going to Kinko's for the cutting was just brilliant! I never in a million years would have thought of that- I'd have done something goofy like trying to use a fine-toothed hacksaw.. Congratulations on your first presentation- it was great!
doobuzz7 years ago
I dont care what you guys think, I think this is a great idea! This is another example of something which few people would have thought up on their own yet is potentially extremely useful. Thanks for taking the time to write this instructable.
rikkdbomb7 years ago
as this is a diy website, you could also, instead of cutting in half a regular moleskin, make your own, using this set of instuctions:

http://michaelshannon.us/makeabook/

i think this was on instructables previously, but it got removed (?)

so you could make one of these, cut it in half.. make one of these half the size.. whatever, but it would be from scratch!

just an idea.

btw, very clever pencil sharpener in the last page, brilliant.
marcward867 years ago
or, bind your own tiny one for cheaper. there's several instructables on how to bind books. just make a mini-book, with an elastic band. (which of course, was cut out along with pocket.)
robonut6257 years ago
I actually think it's a good idea. Will be interesting to see how it holds up to normal wear and tear.
Swirlee (author)  robonut6257 years ago
Thanks, robonut! I'm curious to see that, too. Now I need to find a little pocket-sized pen to go with it.
The bullet SpacePen is great. So is the Cross Ion.
Just cut a regular pen in half... ...oh wait.
crumb-bum7 years ago
Doesn't this mess up the bindings on the black book? Cahiers I can see would work for a while but surely all the signatures would start to get loose on the sketchbook.
Swirlee (author)  crumb-bum7 years ago
Maybe. Time will tell.
hethlee7 years ago
A cheaper way is to go to Wal-mart and buy and 2X4 inch bound mini notebook. Moleskins are WAY too expensive especially to buy and then cut.
Crash21087 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
How long will your site be down for maintenance? The Second Coming game shows some potential.
Dorkus12187 years ago
I think this is a great idea too, I always want to carry something to write stuff down on but those cheap memo pads are annoyingly big to carry in pockets.