This is a 2.75″ x 4.25″ saddle-stitch notebook you can easily make yourself from 3 sheets of loose print paper, 1 sheet of adhesive sticker paper for printable labels (these are typically free from UPS or FedEx), scissors, a stapler, and a corner rounder is optional.
I like this DIY pocket notebook because it’s easy to make at home, doesn’t require any specialty tools or expensive materials, and most important of all, fits in the back pocket of your jeans or easily with a pen in your jacket pocket. That makes it really convenient to travel with.
The one down side is if you’re using at-home materials and are not too crafty yourself, you’re pretty much limited to producing pocket notebooks no thicker than 20 pages, front and back. Unless you have an industrial stapler, most common home or office staplers won’t be able to staple more than 6 sheets of paper stacked. You might be able to push your luck and go with 7 sheets stacked, but then you run the risk of your final notebook product being kinda wonky.
First, you may want to download my printable template formatted to print on the UPS and FedEx sticker labels. Either version will work. These are free adhesive printable labels that you can obtain from UPS and FedEx.
If you print from the PDF document, then you’ll need to follow these instructions pretty much to the letter. If you work off the DOCX file, then you can adjust each image size and customize your own booklet dimensions.
The pre-set dimensions for the SKT card images I’ve provided for download are 2.30″ by 3.94″ so that you can stick them on the front and back covers of a DIY notebook that’s going to be 2.75″ x 5.25″ in size. Of course, if you can figure it out on your own, adjust sizing until it’s exactly as you like it.
Here’s a tip for you: Peel back the adhesive label and cut two slits on the sticker backing right behind each of the card images, as you see above.
This will make it really easy to peel the backings off the stickers once they’re cut down to size. Then gently and carefully return the adhesive label to its backing.
I then cut the cards out to size, as shown above. The default I’m providing is keyed specifically for a traveler’s notebook and travel protection. I chose The Chariot, the Archangel of Healing, The Memory Keeper, and The Initiate (for Spirit in Search of Experience).
The Chariot is for travel protection. The Archangel of Healing is to keep me safe and, most important of all, healthy. The Six of Chalices is The Memory Keeper, which is the whole theme of my notebook, and The Initiate, Spirit in Search of Experience, also exemplifies the main purpose. Also, for me, there’s just something so inspiring about the imagery on The Initiate, that when I look at it, it motivates me to take a leap of faith and always go for the adventure.
I shouldn’t have to point this out, but I know if I don’t, someone will ping me with the question, “Must I use exactly what you used?” No, silly. You do you. If you ordered the premium package for the SKT when the decks were still available for sale, then you have a lot of different card images to choose from actually, so no, you don’t have to go with these four options.
Earlier on this blog I provided free downloads for 3″ x 5″ tarot stickers here, so if you can figure out how to tinker on your own, you can mix and match any of these card selections from the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot.
For the notebook pages, you’ll need 3 sheets of blank print paper at the 8.5″ x 11″ standard US Letter size. I’m using slightly better quality business letter paper instead of your typical print paper. That way pen ink is less likely to bleed through. If you use typical print paper, then you can only write in your notebook with ballpoint pens. Using those nicer ink pens will bleed through.
First, use scissors to cut each US Letter size paper in half, horizontally across while positioning the paper length-wise. See above for reference.
Then, for each halved-cut piece of paper, fold it in half horizontally and cut into quarter sheets of paper. See above for reference. 3 sheets of US Letter size print paper will produce 12 quarter sheets (3 x 4 = 12).
Then fold each quarter-cut sheet in half to create the size of the booklet. The leaves of the pocket booklet you’re making are half of the quarter-cut sheet. I know my phrasing is confusing, but the actual logistics is simple. See above photograph for reference.
The next step is optional, but I would argue it’s mandatory, because the rounded corner booklets look so much better. =) Use a corner rounder and round the corners as shown above. For one booklet, I used the Medium rounder. For the other, I went with the Large. I prefer how the Large looks, but you do you.
One way to saddle-stitch booklets is to use a stapler. I’m using the most ordinary stapler ever, which means I’m limited in terms of the stack of sheets I can staple. I found that I can only stack about 6 sheets together to staple comfortably. You may be able to push your luck and go with 7.
If you go with the 6, then that means the quantity of materials instructed here will produce 2 booklets.
This is probably the hardest part of the whole easy-peasy DIY: aligning your stapler exactly along the crease so the staple will appear exactly on that crease.
This is going to take some luck and a whole lot of tinkering to get it just right.
As you can see above, mine went off the mark, but it’s okay. Don’t freak out. It’s going to be all right. You can still create a perfectly wonderful booklet even with the staples off the mark.
You’ll also want to reinforce the crease. Oops, I should have mentioned this earlier actually. Every single time you fold paper, after you fold, use a hard edge, like the handle of your scissors, to press down the crease so it’s sharper.
Above you can see the difference between the corner as-is (left) and the rounded corner (right). I much, much, much prefer the rounded corners.
And here’s the finished booklet before affixing the stickers for the front and back covers. From the photograph it looks like I folded the booklet into size and then stapled it, but no, as you saw in the instructions, I kept the booklet open and stapled the pages together, saddle-stitch style. I’m just terrible at aligning the staples to the crease. Hopefully you’ll do better.
Then affix the SKT card stickers to the front and back outer covers of your booklet, and also to the inner front and back covers. This gives the covers a bit of weight.
Then, page spread by page spread, gently press down and reinforce the crease. That way when you go to use the booklet, the pages flip easily.
Turn the page and fold along the binding again. Do this for all the pages.
The booklet pictured above to the right is of the tarot art only, while the one to the left is the actual SKT cards. That’s only because the first time I printed out the stickers, I used the wrong dimensions, so I had to cut the borders and work from the card art only.
Above you can see the inner back page for each booklet with a sticker on it.
And above you see the outer back covers for each of the booklets.
Another great feature about this size pocket notebook is it fits perfectly inside the back pocket of the Moleskine Cahier Journals, Pocket Size 3.5″ x 5.5″, my Amazon Affiliate’s Link here. That’s how I travel: I bring along a Moleskine pocket size notebook and tuck one of my DIY 2.75″ x 4.25″ booklets into the back pocket of the Moleskine.
For those with the Premium Package of the SKT and received the digital folder file of card images, you’ll be able to custom-select which cards or artwork you want to use to create your DIY notebooks. Please do not feel beholden to use just the four pre-formatted cards I’ve provided for download here. =)