Moleskine Hacks

My Moleskine Hacks - Space Pen, Makers Mark, Beaded Bookmark.

Writers should capture their ideas, if any, as they arrive. Even thoughts we think are great can be forgotten. (I remember having forgotten many good ideas.) It's helpful always to have a notebook at hand and to develop the habit of using it routinely.

None of the various notebooks I've used over the years are as handy and enjoyable to use as the Moleskine notebook. Perfectly sized, the pocket Moleskine has 192 pages of cream-colored acid-free paper. The company claims to be upholding the tradition of a notebook design that has seen the pens of Hemingway and van Gogh. The design is so elegant and streamlined that I'm willing to believe them.

Many people personalize their Moleskines to suit their particular tastes and needs. Here are my Moleskine "hacks," which I hope may inspire others to tailor their Moleskines to suit them as well as mine suit me.

Hack #1: Velcro the Space Pen

Velcro and a small pen.

What you need:

  • A Moleskine Notebook - $10
  • Velcro tabs - $2.50 @ Office Depot
  • A small pen. I love the Fisher Bullet Space Pen - $28, engraved. Also shown is a cheaper alternative, a Zebra F-301.
  • What you do:

  • Cut the Velcro's pokey side to suit and press it onto the front cover. This is the pen's "landing strip," where it belongs whenever you're not writing.
  • Cut the Velcro's fuzzy side to suit and wrap it around the pen.
  • Done in five minutes. Now you'll always have a pen and pad.

  • Hack #2: Bead the Bookmark

    Bead, needle and thread.

    Adding a bead to the bookmark is more decorative than functional, but it does keep the bookmark from fraying. It also makes the bookmark easier to find and use. As a party bonus, the beaded bookmark turns the Moleskine into a Chinese paddle toy, so you can make a rapid clapping sound with flicks of the wrist. Cats also love to play with the dangling bead. If you're around cats, you might as well make them happy.

    What you need:

  • A Moleskine Notebook - $10
  • A bead. You can get them in an arts and craft store or on Ebay.
  • Some Moleskines ship with a shorter bookmark. If you have one of these, you can use a needle and thread to attach the bead.
  • What you do:

  • If the bookmark is long enough, and the bead already has an eyed pin, just tie it using a Figure Eight knot:
  • Bead with figure eight knot.

  • The hard part is threading the bookmark through the eye. It's easier if you fray the ribbon, then twirl it into a point using some glue. Done in 5 minutes.
  • The bead should be about an inch and a half from the bottom of the notebook. If the bookmark is too short, tie the Figure Eight knot, and then sew on the bead to the ribbon. Your thread knots should start above the Figure Eight knot, and the threaded extension to the bookmark should place the bead to about an inch and half below the bottom of the notebook. Done in eight minutes.
  • If the bead lacks an eyed pin, you can add one with the following tools:
  • Round nosed pliers and pin.
  • Head pin - $2/set in Arts and Crafts store
  • Round-nosed pliers - $8 in Arts and Crafts store
  • What you do:

  • Push the head pin through the bead hole.
  • Bend the pin 90 degrees, leaving no play between the bead and the bend.
  • Trim the pin, leaving 1/4" to make the eye.
  • Using the pliers, twist the pin to create an eye.
  • Thread and tie the bookmark (or threaded extension) as above. Done in 10 minutes.

  • Hack #3: Stamp the Cover

    Notebook, makers stamp and hammer.

    To emboss a maker's mark on the cover of your Moleskine, you need:

  • A design. I made my design, below, using Inkscape.
  • TC brand design.
  • A leather-working tool called a Maker's Stamp - Laser Gift Creations provided thoughtful service with design help and delivered an excellent product - $35.
  • A hammer.
  • What you do:

  • Open the notebook and place the cover onto a hard surface.
  • Strike the stamp with the hammer. I have the best results when I strike it three or four times, while visualizing that I am driving a 20-penny nail.
  • Done in thirty seconds (less design time.) The emboss of the maker's mark is difficult to see in the top photograph, but here's a rubbing:
  • A rubbing of the

    Hack #4: Card the Inside Cover

    A business card taped to the inside cover.

    To quickly add all of your contact information to the notebook, tape or rubber cement a business card to the inside cover. Done in 30 seconds.

    Hack #5: Reward the Honest

    A Chinese envelope with a $20 bill inside.

    Promises are cheap. Your scribblings are too valuable to lose. Take a chance and include the reward for safe return, pre-facto, in the Moleskine's back envelope. Party bonus: comes in handy when you've forgotten your wallet.

    Hack #6: Add the Fourth Dimension

    A notebook with a calendar taped inside.

    Glue or tape a calendar to the back pages. Devote one or two pages to each month, depending upon your relationship with what the world calls time.

    Hack #7: Transcribe a Poem

    A notebook open to a passage of

    Your Moleskine should always have something worth reading. Transcribe a poem. Now you'll always have wisdom and beauty in your pocket, and the best of company in waiting rooms.