I made a couple mini memo books with the little kraft “Hello” notes that are often included in Field Notes products. Complete with graph grid innards!
In case you haven’t seen them, the HELLO cards are 3" x 4" card stocks folded in half, with words of thanks from Field Notes (“FN-25 Sincere Pronouncement”) printed on the inside and a link to their mailing list sign-up page. I’ve seen them tucked into several kinds of Field Notes products, e.g. seasonal editions of Field Notes, 56-week Planners, Work Station Calendars, etc. They’re obviously designed to look like the mini version of the original kraft Field Notes memo books, with rounded corners and all, so I instantly thought of making body paper (“innards”) for them when I first saw them. It took me a while to follow-through but I’m quite happy with how these turned out.
As you can probably guess, the idea is straight forward. Cut some paper into 3" x 4" innards, round the corners, fold them, and then assemble them with the HELLO note as the cover, by stapling them together. But much like my previous Field Notes DIY project with colored staples, this project turned out to be a little trickier than I anticipated. If you’re interested in making your own, here’s how I made them and what I learned along the way.
Paper for the Innards
I used paper from two different sources: a Hobonichi memo pad (pictured above in the upper left corner) and an old A5 spiral Whitelines notebook. I guess I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice an actual Field Notes paper just yet! The paper from Whitelines has a 5 mm “inverted” graph grid, with light gray background and white lines, much like the innards in Northerly (Winter 2011). I made four 3"x4" sheets using this paper and then folded them in half to make a 3" x 2" booklet of 16 pages. But the grid size looked too big, hence the Tomoe River paper from the Hobonichi memo pad as the second source. With the smaller 3.7 mm grid, it ended up looking closer to a “shrunken” Field Notes that I had envisioned. And since the TR paper is much thinner, I was able to push it and fit 8 sheets of paper inside, which yielded 32 pages after being folded and stapled. I didn’t have the patience to individually cut 12 sheets to make the proper 48 pages of a regular Field Notes. :)
As mentioned, the HELLO card is 3" tall and 4" wide when opened (or 7.6 cm x 10.1 cm). But the innards need to be slightly narrower if you want to prevent them from sticking out on the side when folded (from the bulk of the paper). I ended up trimming them to about 7.5 cm x 9.8 cm but the appropriate dimension would really depend on the type and the amount of paper you want to insert. You’ll trim the width more than the height.
The regular Field Notes are rounded to a 3/8" radius (9.5 mm) but the HELLO cards are rounded to a smaller radius (I don’t know the exact size). The corner rounder at my disposal, while not an exact fit, does cut to a smaller radius than the regular FNs, so I just made do with it. If your corner rounder isn’t the right size, or you don’t have one, I would guess laying the Hello card flat on the paper, and then tracing and cutting the corners manually with a pair of scissors would work just as well. It’d just be a lot more tedious and time-consuming.
The staples I used are the “mini” size, no. 10 staples. I only had colored ones, so that’s what you see in the pictures. I could have used the “regular” staples but they looked disproportionately big, and 3 staples would’ve been an overkill. For obvious reasons, I wanted to add 3 staples, not 2!
My mini stapler doesn’t reach deep enough, even for this mini book, so I marked some measurements on the spine with a pencil, poked holes into the stack of paper with a push pin, and manually inserted the staples one by one. A dubious skill I acquired from my previous FN project.
Hope you enjoyed my little project. Funny that after working on it for awhile, the regular Field Notes felt strangely over-sized and unfamiliar, even though I’ve been using that same size every day. Also, it was a nice opportunity to appreciate Field Notes all over again because even though it’s simply constructed, I learned that there are still a lot of details that need to be just right for it to work well. Sure, Field Notes are assembled and cut mostly by machines in a different way, but it was still a learning experience.
Oh, and have you seen this mini Field Notes?