16-Page Disposable Notebook EDC

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Notebooks and Sketchbooks.

We use them to collect our thoughts, flesh out concepts, make lists, OR collect dust. From a young age, I’ve had a troubled relationship with notebooks and sketchbooks. I would receive beautiful, high-quality and often expensive notebooks as gifts from my caregivers as they believed burgeoning artists required them. They weren’t wrong; however, they became so sacred that I was never able to deface their pages with my mediocre sketches and average (at best ) ideas.

By making them precious objects I was limiting their potential influence on my development as an artist and maker. So, as I would stare guiltily at the stack of empty notebooks on my bookshelf, I would scratch out my ideas and flesh out sketches on random bits of paper which became strew across my room, eventually occupying every vacant parcel of hardwood floor real estate. In a futile attempt to organize the chaos, I started making piles of paper sorted by theme or by project. Eventually, I would stuff those piles into 3-ring binders, blissfully ignoring how beneficial using those sacred journals would be.

This went on for years until I went off to art school and was forced to use a sketchbook. Upon receiving the black hard covered 8.5'' x 11'' sketchbook, I noticed that my peers immediately cracked the spines of theirs and began sketching. I gingerly opened mine and wrote my name on the inside of the cover. This was the only luxury I permitted myself regarding notebooks. My professor weaved in and out of my peers, nodding silently in approval at their dancing pencils, but when she was finally close enough to peer over my shoulder, she exclaimed in irritation that inspiration is something you work towards and never wait around for. So, I started to deface my sketchbook. It took months before pages filled with sketches remained in the sketchbook, as I would tear them out to pretend that the sketchbook was unadulterated.

Soon after, my system became to use the sketchbook as a type of folder for the transport of other sketches on loose leaf pages. This worked because of all the sketchbook pages I had torn out prior. Eventually, my sketchbooks were so abused and improperly used that using them as intended didn’t make me feel like such an iconoclast.

One thing that I retained from my sketchbook struggles was how much I loved being able to grab any piece of 8.5'' x 11'' paper, draft ideas or flesh them out completely, then fold it up and put it in my back pocket. This enabled me to pull it out whenever I was struck with a solution or new idea.

This disposable notebook continued to evolve as the years progressed and eventually, I found a solution that worked for my current practice. When recently asked by a student, who was also having sketchbooks struggles, how I documented ideas efficiently without having to carry around a notebook (even one as portable as a Field Notes ) I pulled out my 16-Page Disposable Notebook out of my back pocket and my Ultra Fine Sharpie EDC pen out of my front pocket.

Quick and simple 'able but it just might change your quotidian practice !

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Essential Materials:

  • 8.5’’ x 11’’ sheet of paper (colour and weight are a personal preference thing )

Optional Tools:

  • Pen
  • Bone Folder
  • Ruler

Step 2: First ​Fold

On a flat surface (a table is perfect for this ) start by lining up the two 8.5’’ edges of the page, once aligned, use your middle finger and thumb to hold down the aligned corners firmly. Then, begin to crease the opposite end of the page (curled over part ) starting in the middle and working the crease outwards. This will result in the first fold of the page. Run either, the back of your finger nail, the barrel of a pen, or a bone folder over the fold to make it as crisp as possible. This makes subsequent folds easier.

Step 3: Second Fold

Next, turn the folded page so that its newly folded edge is the furthest away from you and repeat the folding process, halving the page a second time. Be sure to make that fold line crisp!

Step 4: Third Fold and Final Fold

Lastly, making sure a second time that the folded edge is the edge furthest from you, fold the page in half for a third time and crisp up the fold. A note on this last fold, depending on the weight of paper chosen, this fold might be a bit more difficult than the rest, I suggest using the barrel of a pen in lieu of your fingernail to flatten and crisp up the fold. I’ve also included some notebook examples that indicate the fold lines to get you started if you're a visual learner!

Congratulations! You have just finished your first 16-Page Disposable Notebook !

Step 5: Making It Apart of Your EDC

Putting it in the back or front pocket of your pants OR the front pocket of your shirt every day is a good start for using it efficaciously. Having your preferred writing instrument on your person is also essential; personally I use my Ultra Fine Sharpie EDC pen. Other habits that have become common practice are numbering the bottoms of the pages and using different coloured sheets of paper to categorize the notebooks. In the example that I’ve included, there are some suggestions on how to potentially use the notebook sections. The suggestions are based on how I currently use them. All of the sections or pages of the notebook are quickly accessible by simply flipping the folds onto themselves (see visual demonstrations ). If this notebook becomes apart of your EDC, you might find yourself obsessively folding every loose piece of 8.5’’ x 11’’ in your immediate vicinity…

Word of Warning: The 16-Page Disposable Notebook became so apart of my EDC that I often forget that it’s in the back pocket of my jeans when I go to wash them. This results in tiny bits of paper stuck to every other article of clothing in the washing machine…moral of the story, simply don’t wash your pants.

Cheers!

Mr. Ham

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    51 Discussions

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    dpeachladybgood

    Reply 21 days ago

    I've been using the Pocketmod since at least 2006. I have made maybe a few hundred. I used to make them up for each week and date them. But I found that many weeks I would only use half of a book or some weeks I would use 3. So now I just build them as I need them.

    I am always on the lookout for nice paper for my books. I like nice paper that is printed on just one side since I never turn them inside out and mark on both sides.

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    Ham-madeladybgood

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Hey ladybgood!
    Great ressource! Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

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    remy88xoxo

    24 days ago

    This is approaching TedTalks level stuff here, guys.

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    procter

    27 days ago

    What appears to be an 'Ergonomically Diminutive Compendium' that could comprise an 'Exciting Durable Chapter' of your life, indeed an 'Enduring Diaphanous Chronicle', is in reality a 'Existentially Disappointing Creation' and 'Emphatically Denounceable Codswallop'.

    But nevertheless fun and I will be introducing my 2.5 year-old granddaughter to it.

    Regards, Edward Diablo Cacophony

    1 reply
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    TomC278procter

    Reply 27 days ago

    Your comment required Enterprising Dictionarial Consultation

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    procter

    27 days ago

    Instructions:
    (a) Complete FOLD-1, FOLD-2 and FOLD-3.
    (b) After consuming the four exposed pages, unfold FOLD-3 and flip FOLD-2 the other way, then re-make FOLD-3.
    (c) You now have four more exposed blank pages.
    (d) After consuming those four pages, unfold FOLD-3, and unfold FOLD-2 and flip FOLD-1 the other way. Then re-fold as for the original FOLD-2 and FOLD-3.
    (e) You now have access to the second batch of 8-blank-pages.
    (f) Repeat (b).

    Fun! Thanks.

    1 reply
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    Ham-madeprocter

    Reply 27 days ago

    Hey proctor!
    That's exactly right!
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

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    Dolmetscher007

    4 weeks ago

    I hate to be the dummy that posts this because everyone else seems to be getting something that I am not. How is this any different from just folding up a sheet of paper and putting it in your pocket? I LOVE the idea of creating your own notebook. I have bought so many Moleskine and Leuchturm notebooks, but usually lose them, or just don't carry them, because they are too large. I am a song writer, and I love to jot down lyrics as they come to me throughout the day, but I don't see how to "use" this EDC notebook. It says 16 pages, but... it's just a folded up sheet of paper. At best it would be 8-pages. Are you supposed to fill up the 8 pages, and then unfold/refold the paper in another way to expose the other 8 pages?

    4 replies
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    DougL56Dolmetscher007

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I completely agree. For many years I've been folding sheets of paper like this and sticking them in my pocket, like many people (possibly everyone who uses paper). To be honest I'm seriously wondering if this Instructable is meant to be very dry satire. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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    calichigalDougL56

    Reply 27 days ago

    You may be on to something. Haha! However, I can see how his idea can actually organize the sections on the paper in a constructive sort of way. Something to play around with, anyway.

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    drzcyyDougL56

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Exactly what i think!
    By the way, i just made a 32 page notebook ;)

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    TomC278Dolmetscher007

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I don't get it either. I wonder who the author's intended audience is. Perhaps there are people out there that have never folded a sheet a paper before, or who don't easily grasp the idea that having pen & paper is handy when you need to write something down. It even made today's Instructables "staff picks". I'm dumbfounded as to why.

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    Owlherder

    27 days ago

    Actually, I already do this, but also have scraps of paper in bags, purses, and drawers. I enjoyed your story, I too have several beautiful journals, sketchbooks, etc. Not a mark in any of them. I'm wondering if either of us would be successful in using a version of this where the disposable notebook is made to fit an existing cover (made for the purpose or recycled from a used notebook) perhaps cutting the page edges to make it more book-like and accessible, with some pages large and folded in for when large pages are needed. When it is full, replace with a new one. I can envision all kinds of lovely handmade covers. I think I'll try it. Gee, you could do another 'Ible on how to make the cover and fill it with pages. Please do!

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    fadecomic

    Question 4 weeks ago

    What does "EDC" stand for? Google isn't helping me much because that acronym seems to be used for many things.

    4 answers
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    Ham-madefadecomic

    Answer 4 weeks ago

    Everyday Carry. Don't fret, the acronym is illogical and you aren't the first to ask the question.
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

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    gcai_fwbHam-made

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    neat little bit of origami!

    since you seem to like erudite phrasing :) EDC is actually an initialization (sort of) rather than an acronym - acronyms are spoken as words rather than spoken as a series of letters
    examples:
    NASA - acronym
    TLA - initialization even though it stands for Three Letter Acronym
    IBM - initialization - a company where all projects must have a TLA as a first order of business - at least in my experience
    CICS (anachronism I know) is an acronym in Canada (pronounced "kicks") and an initialization in the USA - why I do not know - cultural? (Customer Information Control System)
    SQL another weird one - either 'sequel' or S Q L
    WYSIWYG - definitely acronym

    keep folding paper :)

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    DougL56gcai_fwb

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Let's not forget OCD (not that anybody here could). It's an acronym if you pronounce it "ocked".