If you’re like me, sometimes you like to send pencils to pals. This tutorial and template to make a pencil box out of an old soda can box (or probably any large paperboard box like cereal, beer case, etc) will help keep those pencils safe in transit and look fab when they arrive.
Slight modifications to the PDF template could be made to accommodate pens, markers or other writing tools. Might even work as a storage box for double pointed knitting needles. So many options!
(via Creative Itch Boutique)
Like Field Notes, Hobonichi Techno and Filofax, there’s a rabid and growing following for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. At its essence, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN) is a simple leather cover with elastics to hold small bound notebooks and accessories into it. As more people use them, the more they’ve added to them — from simple DIY inserts for all sorts of tasks, list, planning and goals to posh handcrafted leather accessories. Here are a few of my favorites ways to customize and hack a Midori Traveler’s Notebook to best suit your needs and preferences.
Baum Kitchen leather zipper case/card holder [Essential 2.0] $72
This is a US made, natural leather rubbed with cedar oil insert. The front section provides an assortment of slits for cards and large flap pocket for paper ephemera. The back pocket is a zipper pouch. Adding this insert can easily turn your MTN into a wallet and be your all-in-one life keeper. The [Essential 1.0] includes just two credit card pockets and a larger slot for miscellaneous paper for $65.
Patrick Ng of Scription created custom kraft card tabs that he attached various envelopes to each kraft tab and filled with various items like postage stamps and notes. While he did not provide a specific tutorial, I think it would be easy to reverse engineer what he did using existing file folders trimmed to size and taped together or cutting tabs from a plain piece of board. I would probably use bookbinders tape to hold the pieces together but clear, plastic packing tape might work just as well.
My Life All in One Place has created several printable inserts including 2015 calendar pages, pen and ink sample test pages, Seyes french-ruled paper, and even knitting grid paper.
If you think making your own inserts might be fun to do, check out the companion video about how to trim and assemble your custom printables to fit into a Midori Traveler’s Notebook.
Check out my previous post with other hacks and add-ons for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.
A full how-to tutorial for making the notebook is available on the Hello Forever blog.
In my hunt this week for planners that start the week on Sunday, I discovered Marcy Penner’s Hello Forever site. She created a lovely PDF document to make your own planner calendar for 2015 for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook which is available for sale in her shop.
The PDF is $10 and includes the full calendar year in week-at-a-glance pages that can be bound into two booklets to fit a regular-sized Midori Traveler’s Notebook (approx. 5×8.5″).
Her blog includes step-by-step instructions for printing, folding and binding your booklets as well.
If you want to have rounded corners on the finished notebook like the sample, small handheld corner rounders can be purchased on Amazon for under $10 or can be found at your local big box craft supply store.
If you have a drawer full of washi tape like I do, you might want to use some of your favorites to create some easy picture frames for your favorite postcards, photos, or prints.
(via Design Sponge)
Using wrapping paper and a couple card stock wedges to create the beveled edge, Oh Happy Day created a back-to-school package in the classic shape of a Pink Pearl eraser to fill with goodies. I think this is the perfect gift packaging for any gift for your favorite pen-and-paper geek.
Make your own Midori-style Traveler’s Notebook in any size (traditional Midori sizes or a leather cover perfectly sized for your Field Notes-sized books) with this great video tutorial:
After you’ve made your own Midori-style TRaveler’s Notebook, don’t forget to check out my previous post about customizing your notebook.
(Thanks to @mattwillgo for the tip)
H. C. Marks (@HCMarks) on Twitter asked “do you know of any stencils with which to draw ruled lines in blank notebooks?”
I have something so much better, at least in my humble opinion. I use a sheet of lined paper that I tuck under my blank page to create perfectly straight lines that are there. But not. Using a guide sheet does not require any prep time. Just slide the sheet behind your current page and start writing.
And his request could not have been more timely as I’ve been planning to make up a few different line widths to share with readers so that you too can try this. The sheets have pretty thick dark lines that can be seen through most standard writing paper. I’ve tested these sheets in my Rhodia Uni Blank for several weeks.
With Guide Sheet under Rhodia Paper, 6mm rules
With Guide Sheet removed.
I have created lined paper guides in 6mm, 7mm, 8mm and 10mm spacing. Each .pdf file includes a full 8.5×11 US Letter sized guide and a smaller 5×7″ guide that you can trim to fit in the average A5-sized notebook. Print out your favorite line width spacing on a laser or ink jet printer. One copy of the guide sheet can be kept in each of your favorite notebooks and should last for a long time. The guide sheet often doubles as a blotter sheet, pen primer or to protect the next sheet from pesky bleed through.
US Letter Size (8.5″x11″):
A4 Size (210 x 297mm or 8.3″ x 11.7″) ADDED Feb. 3, 2015:
A5 Sizes (148 x 210mm or 5.83×8.27″):
Field Notes Sized (3.25″x5.5″) UPDATED Feb. 3, 2015:
These new sizes have been trimmed down width-wise so there’s no overhang in your pocket notebooks. I’ve also added 3-up layout on a US letter sized sheet.
Tips for printing guide sheets:
When printing, be sure that you choose to print at 100%, do not choose the “fit to paper” option. I ran the lines to the end of the template to maximize guides. Let your printer trim them where it must. For the smaller sizes, just trim it out. The Field Notes sized sheets can be printed 4-up on a sheet but be sure to set your printer to 100% (actual size) and then tile. If your favorite notebook is smaller, just trim it as needed.
Using a guide sheet with a blank notebook gives a lot more flexibility. You can sketch and free form on some pages and then use the guide sheets when you want to write. Guide sheets are great with letter-writing pads too.
If there’s interest, I can make up other sizes as well. Just let me know in the comments what you prefer.
- 11/9/14 Added 5mm and 10mm grid and true A5-sized.
- 2/3/15 Added A4 and revised Field Notes sizes, added 3-up layout for Field Notes.
Just because you’re stuck indoors all day staring at email, spreadsheets or lines of code does not mean you shouldn’t have a little green to keep your spirits up.
Follow these instructions to build your own desk organizer with room for a few small succulents to add a little green to that beige cubicle.
Looking to get a customized desk, try Ikea and mix-and-match a tabletop and cabinetry to create an inexpensive work area. House of Hawkes made a lovely workspace with a butcher block-style top and white cabinetry. It’s making me kind of excited about the Ikea store opening in Kansas City this fall.
(via House of Hawkes)
I confess that I quite specifically got the Pilot Plumix Medium Flat Italic (comparable to a 1.1mm) fountain pen ($7.25) to cannibalize the nib for the Pilot Metropolitan ($14.50) pen I have. I had the chance to try out the Plumix thanks to a local pen geek (Thanks, Geoff!) and immediately went home and ordered one. While the shape and overall outside aesthetics leave me wanting, the nib was silky smooth. I had heard other folks mention what a great nib it is for the price point and after trying it, I was sold. It is really as good as everyone says it is. Silky, silky smooth.
My first order of business was to disassemble both pens in order to swap out the nibs. While I think the medium nib on the Metropolitan is a fine nib, it doesn’t make my heart sing so I was ready to swap it out. I like the metal body of the Metropolitan line over the plastic of the Plumix and its weird, stumpy, wingnut cap even if my Metropolitan is a bit blingy in metallic gold.
I couldn’t be bothered to clean the pens before disassembly so I used a shop rag to grasped the nib and feed and gentle shimmy it out. Its basically help in the grip section by friction so it didn’t take much force or effort to remove it.
There is a notch inside the grip section that keeps the nib and feed in a specific spot but otherwise it was just a matter of shimmying it back into the other pen body to make the swap. I’d have diagrammed it more if there was anything else to it but really its: grasp, pull and then grasp and push. Also, we are talking about a combined retail value of $22 so I wasn’t too concerned about potential damage if I didn’t do it correctly.
Voila! The completed and fully customized Pilot Metropolitan italic! Total cost: $22. This same surgery can be done if you want an extra fine nib on a Metropolitan by purchasing the Pilot Penmanship pen ($8.25).
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
(Tested on Rhodia Pad No. 18 Uni-Blank)
While I was in SF, I found some refills for Uni-Ball Signo. I couldn’t remember if these would fit in my Render K but I was willing to take a chance. It was blue-black ink in my favorite 0.38 size. At less than $2, it was a gamble I was willing to take.
The package was labelled UM-151 0.38mm. Jet Pens does not seem to stock this particular flavor refill but Maido’s online shop, MyMaido does stock them.
UPDATE: Eagle-eyed reader, Adamfmoore found the proper refill on JetPens. It’s the Uni-ball Signo UMR-1 Refill and it sells for $1.65.
I discovered that the refill was about an 1/8″ too long so I trimmed it down with a trusty X-acto blade. The plastic is quite hard so if you try this yourself, be careful! It would be easy to slice your finger in attempting this. Once trimmed, the Render K screwed closed easily and voila! Deep green pen with blue-black silky ink. JOY!
Written on Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad. Render K from Karas Kustoms.
When someone mentions “typewriter” and “calendar” in the same sentence, my ears prick right up. Add in a little paper mechanic magic and I am already writing the blog post in my head.
This darling little desktop calendar stands in its own 3D foldable typewriter. Just print out the pieces and assemble. Consider it as a great Tuesday morning office project. It is available for instant download for $4.99 via Sky Goodies on Etsy.
(tip via Teri of Fiberterian)
In my search for woodsy, natural feeling workspaces, I stumbled upon the idea of building desks, tables and shelving out of reclaimed shipping pallets and wooden crates. There was an extensive article on MyInteriorDesign.it where I found many of the photos shown above. Some refinished the pallets, sanded or stained to a lovely finish while other options left the material in its raw state with all the stains and wear-and-tear from its previous life clearly visible. The fold-up pallet desk is a good option for those with little space or for the kids to use for homework or craft projects.
Instructions for building your own pallet fold-away desk cane be found at Thistlewood Farms.
Want to have a simple, swanky calendar on your desk? Check out this free, printable calendar from Weekday Carnival. Print it out and clip it to a clipboard on your desk. To mix it up, try printing it out on neon paper and post on a kraft clipboard.
Do you string fairy lights across your cubicle wall or put a tree on your desk to get into the spirit of the season? If not, maybe its time to put a little holiday cheer in the office? Hang some decorations from your bulletin board or wall.
Maybe download some printable stationery “From the Desk of Santa Claus” to write your lists and notes?
Hang a wreath or a stocking from your chair or on the wall in your office?
Or for an understated sense of holiday cheer, download a desktop wallpaper and tune into a holiday radio station or Spofity playlist and sing along to a little Bing?
The gold standard for graphite erasers is the Steadtler Mars Plastic. I’m not sure if its filled with unicorn horn powder or what but I’ve never found a better eraser. So I was wondering if I could figure out a way to make a replacement eraser for my Palomino Blackwings. It turns out, I can.
- Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser (standard size, available at any art supply store)
- X-acto or other craft blade
- Cutting matt
- Eraser from Palomino Blackwing to use as a guide
The end of a Mars eraser is just about the same width as the Blackwing eraser so I just needed to slice off an similar width piece and then trim the excess. Then slide your newly created eraser into the clamp and slide it into the ferrule.
The new white eraser is a little flimsier than the black/pink/colored erasers that you can buy to fit but it erases much better so I’m willing to accept its shortcomings for better erasing power. One Stadetler Mars eraser can easily make refills for about a dozen pencils.
Remember a few weeks ago I was a little sad about the fabulous Esterbrook #2442 Falcon nib that Cliff sent to me because it was scratchy and didn’t always put ink on the paper? And then remember last week I posted the FPGeeks Nib Tuning video? Well, I decided it was time to marry up those two things and I would attempt to tune that pesky nib.
I own a few folding loupes which are not as high-end as the ones shown in the video but at least I could get a look at the tines and see if there was anything wrong. There was! The tines seemed a little twisted, like crossing your fingers. Using the technique demonstrated in the video, I press the tines to the feed and used my nails to gently bend the tines. Then I tested on paper and noticed an improvement in writing already, but it was still scratchy. So I peeked with the loupe and pushed a bit more with my fingers and tried again. Ink was flowing much more consistently but still scratchy.
I confess that I immediately recognized the buffing block in the video to be a high end nail salon product. So I grabbed the nail buffer I had in the bathroom and decided to use the smoothest side first marked “Shine Nail” to cause the least damage. I did that a couple times and tried on paper again. Still scritchy. I went to side #3 “Buff Nail” and did a few more strokes and then applied it to paper again.
Voila! It’s now a fully functional nib. Its not quite as smooth as my age old #2442 but its light years better and completely usable. I plan to do more writing with it now that the flow is good and consistent and if it need more smoothing later, I feel confident I can solve my issues.
The cast of FPGeeks video podcast got together with Brian from the Edison Pen Company to discuss and demonstrate methods for tuning pen nibs. After watching this, I am feeling brave enough to tackle a few troublesome pens in my collection.
Its a pretty long video but worth watching. Brian is super knowledgeable and gives great instruction.
With a simple canvas tote and a some thread, you can easily make a notebook-style tote bag. Stitch the blue lines with a sewing machine, a little wonky gives it character and then use embroidery thread to create the vertical red margin line using a simple embroidery stitch like backstitch, running stitch or stem stitch. How charming!
(via Say Yes To Hoboken. For stitching tips, check out Sublime Stitching)
I found this vintage metal Kodak film canister in my stash recently and wondered if it would hold some of my European short ink cartridges.
It does. Acutally, it easily holds 14 if you alternate directions. The cap screws on nicely and keeps the cartridges from getting knocked around in the bottom of my bag while keeping any potential leaking contained (not that I’ve ever had a cartridge leak but just in case). For my recent trip I wanted to have some ink options but didn’t want to deal with the potential mess of packing a bottle of ink. This method let me bring several different colors with no mess.
The canister also lets me play “ink roulette” since I filled it with several different colors but did not label anything so its anyone’s guess which color I’ll pull out.
I imagine newer plastic 35mm plastic canisters would also work as a good place to stash a few cartridges too. How do you carry spare cartridges?
If your desk, drawers and cubbies are filled with as many pens, pencils and various desk implements as mine, this quick and easy DIY project might be just the thing to corral all of them neatly. Using a shoebox covered with paper or cloth, fill it with various sized cradboard tubes from paper towels, bathroom paper or maililng tubes cut to different lengths and fill the box. Then insert your tools and voila! Tidy desk and you can see and access that massive pen collection easily.
My BFF Rebecca (AKA Squirrel Junkie) is a genius. She made tablet covers from old hardback book covers. She walks you through all the steps needed to create your own vintage book cover for your favorite digital device. Vintage style, modern tools. Brilliant!
Does you whiteboard eraser work poorly and leave you with ghosted writing from your previous notes, meeting or brainstorm? I know ours sure did until one of my clever co-workers grabbed a baby wipe in an effort to clean off the whiteboard. Lo and behold, the whiteboard was completely spotless and looked brand new. We use unscented baby wipes with moisturizers, to my co-worker’s point, “When I have to wipe off as many whiteboards, as often as I do, I want my hands moisturized.”
Our only tip is to wait a couple minutes for the board to dry a little but we have a theory that the moisturizers and whatnot in the wipes actually make the board easier to write on rather over water on a paper towel.
The new Palomino Blackwing Pearl Review is coming! Check out these great photos from Pencil Revolution while you wait.
And finally, I hope you will all take a moment to read and comment on 13-year-old Kayte’s post on how she became a pen addict. Its inspiring to see her enthusiasm and passion. Let’s support her!
Beautiful video of hand crafting a metal pen.
(via Gizmodo, originally from Alexandre Chappel)