Magic Paper Pocket Study Tool




I teach my students how to make a 4-sided magic piece of paper to use as a "pocket study tool" to help them prepare for tests. Brain research (and experience) teaches that the mind is much more able to learn, process, store, and recall information which is (1) chunked into digestible bits, (2) rehearsed at frequent, short intervals, and (3) entertaining to the "inner kindergartener." This foldable study guide does all that! Carried in the pocket, this tool helps students make the most of those random bits of otherwise-wasted time during the day (standing in the lunch line, riding the bus, eating breakfast, brushing teeth...). Just whip out the Pocket Study Tool 5 - 10 times a day, and you are done studying before you even get home! Now you can go have fun!

This is my first instructable - hope I can do it right! (-:

Step 1: Materials

All you need to make a magic pocket study guide is a sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, a writing utensil, and a piece of tape. I encourage students to use colored paper. You can remember better if it's in color!

Step 2: Folding Step 1

Fold the paper in half "like a hamburger" as we say in education!

Step 3: Folding Step 2

Now you fold it again, parallel to the first fold, but we call it "like a hot dog" this time.

Step 4: Folding Next Step

now open it up and fold in thirds "like a burrito."

Step 5: Now Cut!

You have 12 squares now. Cut out the center 2, like a door.

Step 6: Now Fold It Up.

Orient your paper so the door is hinged on the left. Fold the door over all the way to the left.

Step 7: Wrap the Door Around.

Now fold what's left of the door UNDER the frame.

Step 8: Fold the Frame.

Now take the right-hand side of the frame and fold it towards the left.

Step 9: Flip Frame Once More.

Fold the frame again, towards the left.

Step 10: Flip and Tape.

Now turn the whole thing over and use one piece of tape across the center seam.

Step 11: Ready to Use!

Now see if you can find the four sides to this sheet of paper! Then categorize what you will need to remember into 4 groups, and devote one page to each group. Fold the whole thing down to the size of one square, stick it in your pocket, and you are ready to go!

Step 12: Detail of the Flip.

This picture shows a little better the way to reveal the hidden surfaces. You fold the thing like a mountain, then sort of separate the crack and pull the two halves apart. This reveals one hidden side. You can do the exact same thing to reveal the other hidden side. Cool, huh? Now fold the whole thing up down to the size of one square, and stick it in your pocket. Now use it! (My video showed this really well, but alas it will not load... I'll try again tomorrow).

As a disclaimer, I should say that I learned how to make flexagons somewhere. I don't remember where. I think I am the first one to make a pocket study tool out of it, but I did not invent the flexagon. If you recognize this mathematical piece of magic and know who I should credit, please let me know!



    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure

    52 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    These are really amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing and I can't wait to use it to study for Biology.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I just made two of these! They're awesome! I'm actually in a hotel right now, so I made them with note papers (tiny) and tore instead of cut. Still awesome!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    In 1939 a Princeton graduate student, Arthur Stone, played around with a strip of paper trimmed from his notebook and created the first flexagon. A flexagon is a polygon, usually made from paper, that can be folded in certain ways to produce a series of faces. But I guess he won't mind this innovative use of his idea. :-)

    13 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That was a hexaflexagon. This is a tetraflexagon.

    In fact, it is a tetratetraflexagon, being a tetraflexagon with four faces.

    (A ditetraflexagon is a plain piece of square paper.)

    hey if there weren't any nerds the microchip wouldn't have been invented and you wouldn't even be on Instructables or be able to type and by the way this sentence "ha! no! we don't need nerds!!! and it only took me 1 second nerd! " sounds quite babyish! so ha! you got bombed I thought this was supposed to be a friendly place anyway!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Is there a limit to the order (or valency, or ordinality or whatever) of flexagons you can make? Could you make a dodecaflexagon with twelve faces? An icosaflexagon with twenty? I would imagine, paper not being perfectly 2-dimensional, after a certain number the thickness of the paper would be restrictive.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know. I've heard of dodecas, but never seen one.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    We do hexaflexagons too! That one is like a hexagon that flips inside out, right? Thanks for the tips!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    wow this thing is a life saver... great instructable and actualy useful in life


    9 years ago on Step 12

    If you have not done it correctly, the tape will utterly prevent you from being able to flex the shape. But if you've just made some lazy folds, the tape will be mostly stuck to the right places, and a little stuck to the layers beneath. Just pull it apart where you know it needs to be pulled apart, and you should be fine. If all else fails, start over. (-:


    9 years ago on Step 12

    dude, i keep trying to flip it but the piece of tape is in the way. can u help?

    That is SO COOL I wish I knew about this earlier. You sound like an awesome teacher I wish at least one of my teacher knew about instructables at least. THANK YOU YOU ARE AWESOM :)