photo from Emil’s album. The lady facing the camera is my great grandaunt Saima, and the man is her husband Emil, who was an amateur photographer in the early decades of last century.
I see more and more of Saima in me when I look into the mirror. Maybe it’s because of my cheeks getting rounder, maybe it’s because of my hair getting longer (still, you can just barely call it a bob now), maybe it’s just me getting older, or more observant.
I like how removing colour from a scene makes it somehow slow down. Of course it’s merely the eye getting a break from chaos.
Today I am tired. Also, wearing the brightest lipstick wishing it would make things better.
Here’s my version of a non-linear notebook. I’ve covered the box with old dictionary pages and illustrations and used old scrap cardboard for the notecards. There are tabs for bookbinding, things to do, misc. crafts, jewellery, home, uni, poetry and this blog. For now the vast majority of the cards are blank but I can already see it in my mind’s eye how this will look once I get things properly rolling.
I made V his own copy and took step by step photos to accompany a tutorial for you. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think!
List of materials and tools
cardboard or thick paper for your note cards
thick board (I used 2mm thick grayboard)
paper for covering (cloth and fabric are also ok)
natural fibre fabric for lining and hinging (paper ok for lining, but some fabric or cloth is needed for the hinge)
a small box clasp with tiny nails (optional)
small-ish glue brush
triangle ruler (my father made me this out of scrap metal, hence the red paint. so, no, it’s not blood)
sharp pencil for making super accurate markings
a mat knife or preferably something even sturdier for cutting the board
and then there’s the stuff I forgot to photograph:
scissors, sandpaper, glue, a weight
cardboard for the index tab cards
(optional: lacquer, a brush for the lacquer)
This tutorial requires some basic knowledge of cutting and gluing things at a straight angle. Not every single step is explained in minute detail, so do read through the entire tutorial before embarking on your project. If you have questions, ask me and I’ll do my very best to get back to you.
Begin by deciding what size you want your notecards to be and cut a massive stack of cards. My cards measure 10,5x5cm and I will provide measurements for a box that matches these but also a formula you can use for figuring out the correct measurements for some other size box.
Figure out the measurements for your board box parts. The highly mathematical code above helps you if you’re using cards of some other size or just want to make a hinged box that’s larger or smaller. The inside measurements of the box are what I begin with and calculate the other measurement by adding board thicknesses where needed. (I really recommend taking the board grain direction into account when cutting the parts, but it’s not a catastrophe if you don’t when making a small box. The grain should run lengthwise in the side parts so that if moisture causes swelling it doesn’t distort the shape of the box too much.)
For a box matching my card size cut board (precisely with the help of both a triangle and regular ruler) as follows:
base and lid:
shorter sides (don’t worry, the end result will be square):
11,2×3,2cm x4 11,6×3,4cm x4
Glue the box elements together pairing them as described above. All parts have two pieces of board sandwiched together. You’ll end up with two lid/bottom pieces that have the smaller piece precisely centred upon the larger one, four short side pieces and four long side pieces where one (long) side is glued flush and the rest have an even rim of a board’s thickness. Let the pieces dry under a weight. Click on the photos above and below to see them larger.
Once your pieces are dry lay them out as shown above and maybe do a test assembly with masking tape if you’re unsure of what goes where. Glue the parts together so that you’ll end up with two identical shallow boxes. Let dry, properly, for real. Sanding wet glue in the next step is a bad idea.
Wrap a piece of sandpaper around a block of wood and sand the outer edges and corners of the box so that they’re nice and smooth and perhaps even a bit rounded. Leave alone the edges that will face each other. If they’re really uneven, then sand away but a rounded look is not what we’re aiming for there.
Cover the outsides of both box halves apart from the sides where the hinge will be. Leave small flaps at that edge. You can freestyle this covering process or see above photos for my way of doing it.
Cut two pieces of fabric the same width as your box – one of them about 3cm over the height of the finished box and the other only 0,5cm over the height of the finished box.
Glue the smaller piece of fabric flush with the exposed back edge of one of your box halves and glue down the flaps of your cover material.
Place the halves together so that the hinge flap lies doubled over between them. Fold the larger piece in half to mark the center and place it over the hinge area. Cut the fabric into shape (see photo) and glue one half down. Whilst holding the halves firmly in position glue down the other half making sure that the hinge are is well adhered.Let dry for a while.
Close the box and cut the remaining back hinge fabric flush with the top edge of the box. Glue the fabric and the remaining flaps of cover material in place.
Cover the exposed back hinge with two strips of paper leaving a tiny gap between them where the hinge is. This is to prevent the paper from buckling and creasing and the hinge area from bulging when the box is opened.
At this stage, give the box a nice coating of lacquer and attach the box clasp if you’re in the mood for one or the other. You’ll be fine without a clasp too. The full width fabric hinge is sturdy enough to keep the top and bottom halves straight.
Cut your lining material into two long strips (with some extra width) and two squares that will cover the insides of the box. Fold the strips into shape by moulding them into place with your fingers (I left a little bit of the top inside edge showing but it’s fine to go flush with the edge too). Cut triangles out of the corner areas to avoid excess material bulging. Glue the strips into place one side at a time. Check the size of your fabric squares and glue them in place. Let dry.
Craft yourself some tab cards and name them according to your needs. Enjoy your newly finished non-linear notebook and put it to good use! Let me know what you think! If you have any questions or comments, please share.
Please note that this tutorial is for personal use only. You are allowed to use this tutorial to make box notebooks for yourself and for strictly non-commercial purposes. However you’re not allowed to sell items based on this tutorial or to reproduce or sell this tutorial.
So, here is the first glimpse of what I’ve decided call my non-linear notebook. As you can see, it’s actually a box (filled with notecards and tabs for things like bookbinding, poetry, to-do, home, blog), so it’s not something I plan to carry with me as is. What I plan to do is use this like a hipster pda (ingenious idea I’d say!) and carry a stack of cards with me to make notes on the go, which I then file into the correct category in this box. I’m pretty much always home so this works for me since it is at home that I need the notes I’ve scribbled down. If I were working outside home, I’d probably have to figure out how to turn this into a more portable version. The box isn’t too big, though, it’s just a little over 4″x4″x2″ but it is a bit heavy with 300+ cards inside it. I will be posting photos of the innards too, it’s just that by the time I was taking my photos today I was losing daylight quicker than I could snap photos. The tutorial is also definitely coming together. I photographed the stages as I was making his box so there’s a photo heavy tutorial post on its way to here. I’m doing my best to write the tutorial in a manner that allows you to really understand the basics of making a cloth hinged box and to use that knowledge in the making of a box made with your own measurements and materials. This is something I often wish tutorials focused on more; it is so precious to not only be able to make a copy but to be able to use the structure in something entirely new.
I’ve been putting off this blog post, or blogging altogether. I’ve felt the need to say something but haven’t known how to talk about it. It’s not like I can merely blurt out that my grandfather died and leave it at that. My living grandparents are now down to one fierce grandmother – that and the death of my Pappa triggered all sorts of thought processes. As a someone suffering from chronic depression, I realize it would be really weird if I shared how I’ve envisioned my own funeral, so I’ll skip that part… Another thing I’ve been thinking a lot is how I find it very hard to be sad about Pappa’s death; he didn’t remember who I was for a decade or so, and slowly he forgot everyone else too. I was more sad about his dementia than I am now about his rather sudden death. I am glad I can now think of the times when he still remembered who he and everyone else was and not be frustrated by problematic nature of a person as a some sort sum of his memories. What are we if we lose our history, in chunks, big or small? I was never close with my Pappa despite the fact that he had lunch with my family every day for years and years after my Mummi died. Of the time I can remember the majority he couldn’t remember much. I never learnt to not get upset about answering the same stupid questions over and over again. The more he forgot me, oddly, the easier it became for me. It was easier to be a stranger visiting his son’s family for lunch than to be the granddaughter that was never ever planning to move back to the small town he had spent his entire life in. In general, I find it easier to be a stranger to people. I don’t know if I even should try and change it. I feel like a shard of glass in the world of magnets.