DIY Phone+book Case

27 12 2012

This is a project that anyone with a complete disregard for the mind-numbing tedium involved can complete.


Making this project will turn you into a hipster lunatic, as pictured here

You’ll need a sharp knife, some kind of proper glue (for unfathomable reasons I chose a glue stick—Pioneer extra strong permanent bonding), a pencil, and a phone thin enough to fit in a notebook. Or a notebook thick enough to conceal your lumbering phone.


Not pictured: the requisite phone for the case

Unless you really hate your writing, you’ll want to get an unused notebook, preferably one with useless paper. No sense wasting good paper.


Got this on sale when Borders went under. Cool cover, but blank/plain Moleskine paper is pretty much the worst. Finally found a use for it!

The easy part: hold the phone next to the paper of the notebook, so you can see how far down in the depth of the paper will be sufficient to fully conceal the phone. Open up the notebook where, if the phone were in the notebook, the page would be flush with the screen.


This is the worst tutorial explanation.

Put your phone where you want it to nest on the page and carefully trace around it. Scream like a pterodactyl when you still manage to get graphite on your precious technological baby. Once you have your outline, start cutting. A metal ruler helps on the straight edges. Check your work periodically–get all the paper dust out of the hole and see how your phone fits. Keep cutting until the phone in the hole is flush with the top cut page. Once that’s done, start gluing. This part will be tedious. Say goodbye to huge swaths of time. Question your decision to undertake this project. Once you’ve glued all the cut pages together AND THE GLUE IS DRY, check your work again. You’ll probably have to do some touch-up trimming for the phone to fit properly again.


Almost like you can’t even tell. I swear it looks a little better in person. With the band on. With the phone actually inside instead of taking the picture.

When it’s done, the glue and your inability to line up the pages properly will give the notebook a slightly used look while concealing what’s inside. The downside: no access to ports, buttons, or the main camera. The upside: UNPARALLELED STEALTH.


And unparalleled nostalgia.

And I’ve left access to the back pocket, as well as some pages in front and back in case I absolutely need to write something on paper. It’s surprisingly secure (I cut carefully to make sure it would fit just so, though it will undoubtedly get looser over time) yet easy to get out by pushing on the back of the pages and flexing the block of glued pages a bit.
Or if you’ve got money to drop, you might do better to either get something like theGOODbook case, or pay someone to go insane making one for you.


Mini Review: DIY Notebook—Moleskine Cahier Style

21 03 2012

WEEP, MOLESKINE! YOUR REIGN OF TYRANNY IS AT AN END! ... oh who am I kidding, millions of people will still buy Cahiers anyway.

I love the Moleskine Cahier, but for all the wrong reasons. Let me explain. The Moleskine Cahier plain notebook contains what is by and far literally THE WORST PAPER I have ever encountered in my life. The only thing worse would be newsprint, or napkins. Used receipts would be a step up. And that terrible paper is why I love it. I use these notebooks for pencil sketches, and since the paper is so shoddy I’m not inhibited by the art-blocking psychological worry of wasting good paper. I end up drawing more, being more loose and creative, and I make better drawings as a result. I also like that the notebook is thin, so it has a low profile when I carry it in my already notebook-laden bag (what’s the point of leaving the house, really, if you don’t have at least ten notebooks with you?). Now, I like this notebook, but I’m not insane. I’m not going to pay top dollar for a product that I value CHIEFLY BECAUSE IT IS SO HORRIBLY CONSTRUCTED. I might as well staple five dollar bills together, draw on them, and throw them out the window. But, my friends, these are simple notebooks. After a bit of Googling I settled on this tutorial, and got to work on making a proof-of-concept prototype.

Bound left-handed-ways. Also, if you don't know Blenheim's Ginger Ale, it is the best ginger ale in the world. Period. Exclamation point. Semicolon; no exceptions.

Since I was using thin weeny repair-kit thread, I doubled it up. The tutorial said not to, but I like living dangerously

Then I made another prototype when I was bored at work (there’s often a lot of downtime) and realized I still had my needles and thread with me. I had just finished a delightful box of Triscuits, and it served me well in my boredom-fueled-craftmaking.

Delicious notebook

Cut the corners off Battlestar Galactica style, cause I'm cool like that. Also because I didn't have a corner rounder at the time.

Concept proven. Buying actual supplies was now justified. My local pen store had a 100-page pack of typewriter paper for $1.00 that was almost an exact replica of the thin, cheap Cahier paper. An additional 99 cents (plus tax) at the A.C. Moore scored me a 22in. x 28in. piece of black posterboard, and for 39 cents each I picked up five different colors of thread. Additional expenses include: $1.69 for another needle (pack of needles) (the ones I had were either too small or too big), $3.59 for a corner rounder (thank you 40%-off coupon), and $2.39 for super glue (couldn’t find any around the house). I already had a large needle that I used in place of an awl, and an X-acto knife for cutting the board and trimming the paper edges. Time took maybe a couple of hours? I’m not sure; I love doing stuff like this so I didn’t time it. End result:

It looks just like a real notebook!

Gotta be reppin' some turquoise

WITH POCKET, BOOYAH. Also note that this notebook is left-handed bound.

Materials expense per notebook: 20 pages ($0.20), maybe three feet of thread (comes to about $0.05 worth of thread), 8.5in x 15.25in of posterboard (about $0.21 worth of posterboard), and a wee bit of super glue (we’ll be generous and say that it was maybe $0.20 worth of glue) = $0.66 per notebook
Plus tools investment: Needles, corner rounder, superglue: $7.67
Total cost for making a set of 3 notebooks, including tools: $9.65

And now I’ll never have to buy another Moleskine Cahier again. :D