Mini Moleskine





Introduction: 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!

Step 1: Slice Your Moleskine in Half!

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.

Step 2: Protect the Edges

I didn't let the Kinko's girl do all the work.

First, my Mini Moleskines now had an exposed cardboard edge instead of a nicely bound one. I didn't want the oilcloth to start peeling off, nor the cardboard to get beaten up, so I appled a thin bead of glue (Elmer's Craft Bond) along the edge and smoothed it over with a paperclip. It's a thin edge, so don't overdo the glue.

The new edge is still cardboard-colored instead of shiny black, which perhaps detracts from the aesthetics. I think you could fix this with black acrylic paint (or some other type--paints aren't my specialty) if you wanted, but I'm leaving it as-is. The glue made the edge nice and firm and even a little shiny.

No such treatment seemed necessary for the mini-cahiers, since their covers are the thinnest of cardboard to begin with.

Step 3: Protect the Binding

The bindings of the cahiers are held together with strings, and when I chopped the cahiers in half, some of those strings got chopped in half. After a bit of use, this would probably cause the pages to start falling out. No good! So, glue to the rescue again.

Everywhere there was a loose string, I glued it down. I tried to use as little glue as possible so as not to interfere with the cahiers' closing and opening. On the spine of the cahier I used super glue (Future Glue(TM)), but ultimately regretted it because it caused a little discoloration. I should have used the Elmer's Craft Bond instead, but I was impatient.

I used the Craft Bond, which is colorless and doesn't discolor paper, on the inside. It's hard to see in the photo, but I glued down the rightmost end of that string to the center of the book itself. It only took a little dot of glue.

Step 4: You're Finished!

And that's it! One cute Mini Moleskine and six adorable Mini Cahiers for about $20.

The only issues with the final product are the slightly damaged edge on one of the Mini Moleskines, the lack of elastic band (if you let someone else cut them, watch them carefully!), and the fact that they now have a couple rather pointy corners. I can't think of an easy solution to the latter issue (if it really is an issue). If you have the means you might try chopping off that corner at a 45-degree angle. It won't be rounded like the other, but it will be less pointy than before. The more cuts you make, though, the more fraying and peeling I think you're likely to run into. I'm content to ignore it for now.

Like I said, this is my Very First Instructable, so I'm really looking forward to any feedback you have. Thanks for reading!



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    33 Discussions

    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!

    2 replies

    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 "" as the URL, it automatically changed to FedEx's domain). I LOVE Google! :)

    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!)

    It's called a guillotine!

    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.

    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.

    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."

    3 replies

    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!

    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

    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.

    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

    2 replies

    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.

    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.

    moleskine does actually sell one that is slightly less than half the size of the "pocket-size

    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.

    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!