Introduction: Moleskine Notebook Mods

Picture of Moleskine Notebook Mods

three little mods to make your moleskine, or any notebook for that matter, a little more functional.

See also:
for more detail on making the pencil holder

Step 1: Pencil Holder:

Picture of Pencil Holder:

Using black masking tape you can build on a pencil/pen holder. Firstly wrap the pencil in tape.. sticky side out. Stick this on to the end of the notebook and then tape the pencil to the notebook

Step 2: Tag Your Pages With Postit Notes.

Picture of Tag Your Pages With Postit Notes.

Using a good pair of scissors cut the sticky part of the postits off. Bung them in the folder at the back, when you need to mark a new section of your notebook just fold it over a page and write a tag.

Step 3: Pencil Sharpener.

Picture of Pencil Sharpener.

Two pieces of sandpaper, couse for wood, fine to sharpen the lead to a nice point. Sticky back tape the sandpaper to the back of your notebook


geowulf made it! (author)2017-04-28

I used a big fat marker to create a big pocket.

radiorental (author)geowulf2017-05-17


sam (author)2005-12-08

-what if you incorporated the sharpener into the holder?

LottaTroublemaker (author)sam2011-08-10

pencil extender has a tiny little sharpener at the top. Not the perfect sharpener, but it does work (also at only sharpening the graphite tip, just like you would with sanding paper)! I must admit, I don't like the pencil extender itself, because I don't like the grip that this one has and it's just too top heavy for me, but the little sharpener is cool!

So, this sharpener would be PERFECT to insert at the bottom of the holder, so you sharpen pencils in that end! It's round shape would fit perfectly, I'm sure, and be easy to keep in place there!

Until I read this I had never even been aware of pencil extenders, so thanks for this. Haven't found the sharpener version, but from your description I imagine I can make my own.



radiorental (author)sam2005-12-08

that would be cool indeed. I need to update the process of how the holder is built. It's bearly half a mil thick, no sharper is going to be that small. I've often wondered why molskine inc dont include something like this, but the whole implementation falls apart when you've got to consider all the shapes and sizes of both pens and pencils on the market. Good idea though, I'll give it some thought. But, sticky backed sandpaper does work really well, just blow off the waste or you'll have pencil droppings over everything - pauric

falconress (author)radiorental2010-01-05

I know this is five years too late, but I found this very interesting thread while looking for ways to hack my nice shiny new 2010 Moleskine calendar to make it even more efficient, so maybe some other archaeologists from the future will see it too :). 

Re the comment about not finding a sharpener small enough to attach to a Moleskine, you might try the makeup counter. Sephora, for instance, makes a nifty little two-dollar sharpener (at the time of this writing, at least) called an "in-cap sharpener" that you both use and store by slipping it on your eye or lip pencil. I'm sure it would fit a regular pencil, and I'm also sure it wouldn't be too hard to find a regular pencil of the right diameter (eye and lip pencils are a bit narrower than regular writing pencils, but one can find pencils with narrower profiles, they are sometimes attached to small gift items like memo pads or address books, or perhaps in art supply stores).

If Sephora stops making these (they are currently labeled a "Limited Edition" item), many cosmetic companies make their eyebrow pencils "self-sharpening," which is often accomplished by way of concealing a sharpener in the pencil's cap. Not always, sometimes the sharpening mechanism is in the pencil, so you need to check, but they're out there.

So there's a real simple hack and I can't believe I had something useful to contribute within a minute of visiting this site. I'm not very creative so this might be my first and last good idea, but there it is. I only hope someday someone else may come along and find it useful, even though it lags so long behind the rest of the thread.

Happy DIY, everyone.

sam (author)falconress2010-01-05

Thanks for the great comment!
 I'll definitely take a look at those sharpeners next time I'm dragged to a sephora shop.
As if this thread was 5 years ago? Time flies...

LottaTroublemaker (author)sam2011-08-10

Just wanted to add a comment re. make-up pencil sharpeners. They usually don't work as nicely for graphite pencils, as they're different at the bottom, because the "lead" in the make-up pencils is very soft. They have a large "void" at the bottom to let the soft, thick shavings get out. That's why us gals have separate sharpeners for pencils and for make-up pencils, as they're different and one does not work well for the other purpose... Remember before the make-up sharpeners came, we had to use a knife on those, as a regular sharpener would break the tip while trying to sharpen it. The knife seems sharper on regular sharpeners too, tried using one since that was the only one I had brought on a trip once, but it just did not work well on a pencil.

cHOCO-pOCKEY, (author)falconress2011-08-06

Really late as well, but I was on the Moleskine website after reading this, and I found these clip-on pens/pencils they sell now, so here's the link:

kix (author)radiorental2007-10-26

I often used moleskins, the original french ones before the company closed, and once made a pencil holder sewing a piece of black elastic band to the rear cover: that worked for nearly all sizes and kind of pencil, though sometimes not as fast as a rigid one to fork the pen in and out of it.

radiorental (author)radiorental2005-12-16

note to self: look at using a lycra holder to allow for different sized writing instruments.

antoinebugleboy (author)2008-10-07

I don't really have the time or inclination to post this, but the pen holder solution I came up with for my moleskine (OK, Picaddilly) is to affix a button to the front cover, and pull the elastic band over the edge and secure it to the button, rather than pulling the elastic over the top and bottom. The pen sits on the edge of the book, with the elastic holding it in place. Imagine the elastic as a triangle with the point at the button on the front cover, and the base on the back cover.

berky93 (author)antoinebugleboy2009-01-01

thats a good idea. I ususally put the pen on top of the book, and take the little piece of ribbon used as a bookmark and wrap it over the top of the pen and then put it through the book. Then I wrap the elastic as usual, but over the pen. hold it really well, no modification necessary

antoinebugleboy (author)berky932009-01-02

I've read that somewhere else and tried that, but the ribbon got pulled out. Also, I carry around a 3 x 5 notebook in my cargo pants pocket, so unless I use a tiny pen, it doesn't work too well. Even easier than a button, I've found, is to use a paper clip bent into an angular U shape, then the U tip bent over like a hook. Then tape the "legs" of the U inside the front cover.

Gronkie (author)antoinebugleboy2011-08-06

You can buy these nice little short gel pens at Staples. They have whole boxes of blue and black and other boxes of assorted colors.

If you're content to use a cheapie plastic pen, they're often very easy to trim down to pocket size. With the ubiquitous white Bic type pens for instance, simply pry off the endcap, and trim the barrel (and ink insert if necessary) to the desired length and press the endcap back in.

If you have to trim the ink sleeve and you're going to be carrying in a pocket etc. it can also be wise to plug the trimmed end with a dab of glue to help prevent leaks.

I've been doing that for fun my whole life! Great minds think alike I suppose!

dude, pilot G2 pens are the best. ever.

cesssajan (author)orangewolf222011-08-06

really? How would you compare them with pilot g-tec?

orangewolf22 (author)cesssajan2011-08-06

I agree with LottaTroublemaker...
I've been using G2's my whole life, and they haven't failed me yet

I actually prefer the G2 ones. I think the G-tec ones (at least those I've had) are so very thin and sort of scraping because of it, they don't glide as effortlessly as the G2. But both are great gel rollers, if you ask me! One thing I really miss with the G-tec, is a decent grip. I really like rubber grip pens, they are just so much comfier. Of course you can add a grip on pens, but the ready made grips I have had, aren't a perfect fit (often a bit too wide, in order to fit a wide range of pens, I guess). I sometimes cut a strip of the anti-slide rubber mats to use under table runners, small table cloths, flower pots, vases etc., and roll it onto a pen until it has my preferred thickness. I then cut off the excess and add a bit of glue to it, then roll it back on, fasten it temporarily with an elastic ban until it is dry, then remove the elastic band. Sometimes I have only fastened it with an elastic band (those tiny ones to use for thin hair braids, I use them on my Yorkie too, so they're always available), and that works great too - the advantage is that you can re-use the strip over and over again.
Great pens is a necessity. My handwriting turns super-ugly when I don't have a good pen that glides easily, because my fingers soon hurt so much, they start taking shortcuts to avoid strain, which makes the penmanship really suffer! A good pen with a good grip makes wonders on a person's hand writing! And for some things, nothing is like a nice notebook, my computer will never substitute that! Handwriting some things, just is so much more fun and some things should be on paper, not on a computer, phone or whatever other electronic thingie... :)

Thanks to the OP for posting this instructable, real great with ideas on such!

And, LOVED antoinebugleboy's paperclip hook for closing a book! I just bought a box of those nice colored/vinyl covered paper clips, I'll sure use those for such hooks, they'll look great! :) Hmmm... That gave me another idea, making both hooks and eyes out of such paper clips, for other craft projects... Have seen somebody on TV (on Project Runway?) making hooks and eyes out of golden paper clips and out of a spiral notebook backing. Those that are painted or vinyl colored or simply steel ones, must make real cool hooks and/or eyes! :)

andrewlybarger (author)2011-08-06

totally awesome! made two of them today.

splazem (author)2011-08-05

Great job!

daveand5 (author)2011-08-03

WOW, this must have taken a lot of moles! did u trap them yourself? who tanned them for you

radiorental (author)daveand52011-08-04

Moles can;t get a tan, they live underground, seeesh.

bowmaster (author)2009-08-28

Real men use pens.

polycam (author)bowmaster2011-08-04

Real men know that a pencil is the best writing tool in any environment. ;)
You don't need refill cartridges, no running ink and the best of all : it writes when it's wet!
Two thumbs up for the the good old pencil! :)

not unless they are a mathematician/ engineer

orangewolf22 (author)bowmaster2010-11-27

fact. (no offense to any pencil lovers out there)

akumany (author)2006-04-02

isnt it easier to use a lead pencil? that way u wont have to deal with the shavings

neocastillo (author)akumany2007-01-31

I think you are referring to a graphite sketching pencil. I don't think they make lead pencils anymore due to its toxicity.

Tstek (author)neocastillo2009-12-03

They never made lead pencils. Ever. Due to the fact that lead is metal.
The term lead pencil comes from a misconception that graphite is lead.

orangewolf22 (author)Tstek2010-11-27

actually, the earliest roman pencils were made of lead, but due to the poison factor it was deemed impractical. for a while they tried to just wrap lead sticks in string so it wouldn't come in contact with skin, but much later a large graphite deposit was found in England, which was not toxic. about everyone accepted this new way of making pencils, so they started making wood cases (due to the fragility of graphite) and in doing so created the common pencil.

just sayin'

Tstek (author)orangewolf222010-11-27

Actually, those roman "pencils" function is entirely diffrent from the modern pencil, they are more acurately called styluses and were used to scratch wax tablets and papyrus. They didn't leave lead on the paper, they just removed some of the wax or papyrus.

umm... take a lead fishing weight or pure lead and drag it across paper. you will get lead to bind to with some of the molecules on the paper. but you are correct on the wax tablets and about graphite pencils.

blobblobblob (author)neocastillo2010-07-11

I'm pretty sure he is referring to a mechanical pencil.

penguin (author)2005-12-14

I'm completely impressed by your pencil sharpener.

radiorental (author)penguin2005-12-14

thanks! mispent youth in the shed using anything that would sharpen a pencil. Knives, chisels, concrete floors, ...., sandpaper. Btw, saw your typewriter image and thought you might enjoy this:

Lor (author)radiorental2009-07-01

I just took a look. That's a beautiful thing. I must agree with your wife. I learned to type on a manual typewriter like that one you built and although I liked the IBM selectric better, it IS more comfortable to type on those than these computer keyboards. The layout was way better. Much better for the the back too for some reason. Not so squished together, I think. Love the nostalgia, as well.

penguin (author)radiorental2006-01-13

that typewriter keyboard is amazing. (i just looked back and saw you left the comment after all this time. )

sugarego (author)2009-06-15

i've been meaning to mod my moleskine, but it somehow didn't occur to me to check instructables for other people's good ideas to save me the trial and error. came upon these by accident and was so happy to see that there's already an active moleskine modding community on here! :) because i'm a nerd and i always end up reading most or all of the comments on an instructable i really like, i happened to find the link to your website. i thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the soldering job for the typewriter caused me to cringe with empathy. i hope i never have to use it, but the alternating triangles idea will stick with me! :)

kalel50 (author)2009-05-04

even greater if you use book tape or colored duct tape.... thanks for the tip....

procopio (author)2009-04-02
rpgdude789 (author)2008-09-30

Honestly, I never really liked moleskines. I know that they are great, but their just way to expensive. So I know where to get a smaller, cheaper one. Just go to your local Walmart, and go to the note book section. In there there is a small note book with a hard leather cover and a cardboard wrap that says Markings on it somewhere. They're only like 6 bucks and the paper is great, they even have a storage in the back. So if you find them tell me they may be cheaper where your at.

PeterZhag (author)2008-07-08

Here's another (disgusting or useful, you decide...): <a href=""></a>

ludabe (author)2008-07-05

Me encantan

ludabe (author)2008-07-05

that really nicely holding those Sand paper for filling the pencil jajaja it amazing I love those note books modes ....

citrus.fresh_ (author)2007-12-09

ooh i'm a little scared to try the pen holder, but the sharpener is a fantastic idea ! Impressive guide and thanks !

error404 (author)2007-05-22

I like this. But uf you did the pen holder mod with a mechanical pencil , removing the clip before hand, then you would't need that sand paper sharpener. Althought when I used to work in feature animation we used to do a very similar wthing , but it did result in everything geting covered with graphite dust.

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