Custom Notebooks

I love notebooks. Since school days I have been fan of pocket-able notebooks. The one’s that reporters use. When I was in school I used carry empty prescription pads of my dad 1. I loved them because they used to fit well in my pocket. When I started working I moved to bigger notebooks. But now I am moving back to small pocket-able notebooks again.

Examples of ISO/IEC 7810 Credit: Wikimedia

Examples of ISO/IEC 7810
Credit: Wikimedia


The biggest reason is the fear of losing them. Big books have a lot of stuff in them. When I lose them I lose a lot. Sometimes a year’s worth of work. Small notebooks makes that fear go away. Also small notebooks are easy to carry wherever I go. You don’t need a bag or purse to carry them. But this time I spent more time deciding on the size and format than last time. I figured “passport size” was the best size. It was the result of me cleaning my table drawer and finding passport holders. Size of passports are a standard across the world, its pocket-able and you get lots of accessories. I was kicked by this discovery but soon I figured others have done it too 2. Well I was still kicked, because this time I was going to make my own notebooks.

First I got one of the regular small books and cut it to the size of passport (brown one) and tried. It fits well and looked like what I wanted. Next step was to make my own. I used four sheets of A4. Folded them into half and cut them. So it gave 8 sheets. Folded 8 sheets into half. Put staple pins. For outer cover I used a white think paper sheet from some packaging. Then attached the cover using gum.

Size and format are standardized using ISO/IEC 7810. A physical passport booklet is of ID-3 standard. ID3 defines the size to be 125 mm × 88 mm. This is same as B7 format. I took the dimensions. Used a cutter and cut the booklet. Then I used a corner punch to get 4 mm rounded corner. Voila I have a new notebook.

I have attached the external wrapper and stuck it using gum. I used standard cutter and steel scale  to cut the notebook.

I have attached the external wrapper and stuck it using gum. I used standard cutter and steel scale to cut the notebook.

Two such books can also be added to the same same spine using elastic bands.

Two such books can also be added to the same same spine using elastic bands.

Made by me

Made by me

You can carry single booklets. They are good to go. But the best part is to carry multiple booklets together or making the booklet part of your passport holder. That way if you are working on multiple projects you can carry multiple notebooks or use the notebook as a travelers notebook attached to passport. For this I used a black hairband. Put the hairband at the center of passport holder or one of the notebook length wise. Then pass another notebook through it. Have a look at the pictures below. Make sure band is not very tight or it might hurt the notebook. This is some what similar to Midori notebook setup.

Passport and Notebook. They go well together.

Passport and Notebook. They go well together.

Attaching the notebook to passport holder is easy using an elastic band.

Attaching the notebook to passport holder is easy using an elastic band.

Your side covers are still usable. In fact you can buy a second passport holder just as a notebook holder.

Your side covers are still usable.

What else can I do? I am planning to make some covers/holders using tetra packs and rubber bands. I am still trying various designs. I will update once I am confident. Until then happy note-taking.

  1. They were plain ones without his name
  2. Midori Traveler’s Notebook Passport. I bought one as well.

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