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!