Make a notebook, and make it easy: Pocketmod

The PocketMod is a small book with guides on each page. These guides or templates, combined with a unique folding style, enable a normal piece of paper to become the ultimate note card.

The interest of pocketmod lies in the way it merges several useful related ideas into a single, solid initiative. There’s a set of handy templates (or mods, as they call them) to choose from; an intuitive application to arrange them into a custom notebook; a way to make this application as accesible as possible (you can either design and print the notebook right from the browser, or download the software and use it offline); a clever folding pattern so that the notebook is quickly made from the printed piece of paper; and a tool to convert previously made documents (in pdf format) to a ready-to-fold booklet (or series of booklets, if needed).

I find that the folding technique leaves too much paper unused (one side, actually), but after trying several alternatives I believe that actually the authors went for the easiest way to get the book ready. Anyway, the forum is a good source for further mods and ideas. Now you can say goodbye to sketching on paper napkins!

ps. Still, if you must use a napkin, remember the folding pattern: you’ll get a notebook as small as it is cool 🙂

Related Article: All you need to make a notebook

Easy life through practical kirigami: 3D card maker

3D Card Maker is a Windows application which generates unfolded patterns for Pop Up Cards.

kirigami is a paper craft where shapes are literally brought out of paper by cutting and folding (some origami models require cuts, but those are exceptions, so to say: in kirigami, cutting is an intrinsic part of the making of the models). The models themselves can be designed either by hand or aided by the computer; in this latter case 3D Card Maker allows you to create fairly complex designs with just a little practice. All the work is done in a single window where the model is shown in 3D, and moving, rotating or scaling it is straightforward. The interface is easy to understand (first steps: move the cursor with the keyboard arrows, raise columns by pressing the space bar), and provides very useful functions, like the mirror mode, which saves half the work when creating symmetric patterns, or the animation feature, which shows how the model should be folded after cutting. Finally, you can directly print the unfolded pattern, export it as a bmp image, or even export the tridimensional model as a DXF. In all, 3D Card Maker is a very nice program which will keep you entertained for quite a long time.

Origami Wreaths and Rings

a book by David Petty

In these pages you will find over 100 inventive variations around a circular theme using modular origami

If I were to describe this book in as few words as possible, I would choose these: easy, modular, organic origami. Easy, because the folding instructions are very clear and each of the pieces can be made in a few minutes by people with none to very little knowledge in origami; modular, because you create the models by assembling several small identical units together; and organic, because the result is a whole which looks much more complex than the sum of its parts: actually, many of the spiky stars and rings remind me of living sea stars and urchins. I came to this book after having seen several models a friend of mine had done, and I recommend it to anyone interested in any of the key themes mentioned above, as it will be a pleasing and rewarding discovery.

Update: I just found out that the author has made available several models with instructions here.

Let´s rock!

A high-tech tumbler that transforms rough rocks and minerals into smooth, shiny gemstones.

I like the idea… you throw in some raw stones that you got on your last day in the countryside, you then wait some time and voila, you get a handful of beautiful polished beads. You may want to spend a little more and get into a more serious, professional looking tumbler, like these ones from lortone. Anyway, keep in mind that tumbling is made for the patient one as it takes many days for stones to gradually polish. You may take a look at this page for more info on the whole thing.

Easy life through practical origami: fujimoto explained

Today I got an explanation on this technique. It is basically an iterative method that allows to approximate the measures until a satisfactory value is achieved; this comes to mean that you make an initial guess, you apply an operation on it and then repeat that same operation over and over, taking the result of the previous step as the starting point for the next, which will give you more accurate measures each time.

For instance, if you want to divide a segment of paper in thirds, you would do the following:

1.-Fold one side the paper into what you guess could be the right measure for a third of it. Don´t mark the folding completely, just mark the end of it so that you know where it is.

2.-Fold the other side so that it reaches the point you just marked, and mark the folding.

3.-Fold the other side so that it reaches the point you just marked, and mark the folding.

Keep doing this. In a few steps you should have accurate thirds.

Now for fiths:

1.-Fold one side of the paper into what you guess could be the right measure for a fith of it. Mark it just enough to know where it is, as I explained for thirds.

2.-Fold the other side so that it reaches the point you just marked, and mark the folding. Now make and mark a fold which is the half of this.

3.-Fold the other side so that it reaches the point you just marked, and mark the folding. Now make and mark a fold which is the half of this.

Keep doing this. In a few steps you should have accurate fifths.

… Now that I think about all these thirds and fiths, this looks a lot like the way one would tune a musical instrument 🙂

Thanks to my friends of the origami group in Santiago de Compostela for sharing these techniques with me.

Related Article: Origami cd case

Easy life through practical origami: cd case

Last Updated 25.06.06

Use this website to create a PDF file which can be printed and folded to create a paper CD case.

Actually it´s better to learn how make the case by folding since you never know when you´ll need one. But actually there´s a tricky thing about it, as you have to divide the top in five equal parts. How do you do this? Well, the instructions say “use the fujimoto approximation technique or something“… A friend of mine taught me a way to get the first segment, as shown in this little step-by-step guide.

Update 25.06.06 I just found these other instructions to make a case -simpler and less precise, but it does the job 🙂

Related Article: Fujimoto technique explained

Related Article: Origami envelope

All you need to make a notebook

I cannot anticipate all needs, but the grids below should cover most common ones.

Here you will find a set of Acrobat (*.pdf) files which will print out music score paper on your printer.

Print this over the previously printed grids to finish your empty notebook


Make or repair books with this easy technique.

Related Article: Make a notebook, and make it easy: pocketmod