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Folding a Letter-size Sheet into 3 x 5 Inch Shape – Single Pocket January 31, 2008

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, filing, H-PDA, Hipster PDA, history, how to, index cards, information management, lifehack, Moleskine, Origami, Other, Wordpress.

I was chatting earlier this week with prairieflounder, and I mentioned that WordPress had upped the capacity for individual blogger accounts to three gigabytes. I noted that I had purchased some extra capacity from WordPress last year, because I was moving quickly up towards the limit. Pf pointed out that he hadn’t noticed a lot of pictures here. That’s because there are a couple of different types of people who visit this site. Most of the visitors I get are still people looking at folding diagrams, believe it or not. About 90 percent, on average. And the people who don’t visit for those pics, tend not to even notice them.

And that’s O.K., but here’s another post for the 90 percent.

My first funded year in graduate school I ended up grading papers for a brilliant-if-cranky professor who, despite being only 35ish, still took notes on 3 x 5 cards. I’ve noticed that a lot of the history professors who attended top-ten schools (which he did) do this, and I even know one attending a top-ten school right now, who uses 3 x 5 cards. The guy I worked for would often photocopy articles, however, and cut out the relevant sections, parts of a work that he might later cite or quote in his own work, for example, and tape them to a 3 x 5 card, folding them several times, if need be, so that they would fit in his 3 x 5 file.

Yeah, it didn’t look all that elegant. It was pretty messy, actually. But the guy wasn’t all that elegant himself; he was well-published and highly regarded, however.

It has troubled me for some time that there is no elegant way of folding a normal (in the US) 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper so that it stays nice and flat and can be filed away with the rest of your 3 x 5 cards.

Until now, that is. This method is so simple that I hesitated to post it. It is based on the simplest and most common letterfold. But I can’t seem to find any posts of it anywhere else, so here you go:

Start with an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper (all of the pix below expand into their own, larger, window when you click upon them with a mouse or similar rodent). This is especially nice paper made by Gold Fiber, which is not only a pleasing and frightfully absorbent texture, but has lines on one side and a grid on the other. Notebook paper doesn’t get much nicer than this, I’m afraid.


Put a 3 x 5 inch index card in the middle of it, roughly, and fold the top down so that it looks like this:


Then fold the top down, like this:


You want all of these folds to hug the index card as closely as you can. Next, fold the bottom up like this:


Then fold one side in over the card like this:


And then the other, like this:


Then take the card out and unfold the whole thing so that it looks like this:


Fold the top and bottom towards the center so that it forms a flattened tube eight and a half inches wide, and then tuck whichever side is smaller into the inside of the tube on the opposite side, which will, presumably, be larger and more accommodating. In this case, the right side was slightly larger. One side always is, for some reason.


Then, keep sliding it in until the whole thing is flat. If done perfectly, it will be only slightly larger than a 3 x 5 index card, so that not only will it hold index cards itself, it will still fit into files that hold index cards of that size, or even the cool little pocket in a moleskine notebook, like this one.


Not that this history professor could have been bothered to make things tidy like this. But you like to keep things neat.

Tri-fold Paper Wallet with 5 Pockets September 26, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, how to, index cards, lifehack, Origami, Other.

This is just a variation on the other five-pocket index card wallet I designed a few months ago.  I made one because I was traveling out west this hot southwest summer, and decided that I wanted something smaller than 3 x 5 inches to carry around, something that would fit in the pocket of a pair of shorts.  It just needed to be big enough to carry credit card, ID, a couple fo business cards, and some slips of paper to write on.  I find myself continuing with it because I have found that, given my lifestyle and profession, I am rarely far from a larger piece of paper.

Perhaps the best part of this one is that it folds neatly from a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, the US standard.  For the most durable results, use vellum.  One of these lasted me all summer, touring the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Mesa Verde, and the harsh environs and lifestyles encountered visiting Casa Flounder in Colorado.  The example below uses Southworth 100% cotton, 32# paper, which has been printed on one side with design elements of Persian rugs.

Make some marks 1 3/16 inches in from the two short sides, with the side you want showing up.  Make two other marks 1 3/8 inches up from what will become the bottom of the wallet.  (Click pictures to enlarge.)


Fold the short sides at the 1 3/16 marks and crease.


Fold the long side at the 1 3/8 marks and crease.


Fold the other long side into the crease you made at the 1 3/8 marks and crease. Then tuck this part into the slot made by the short sides.


 Here’s a side-view of that.


And then fold into three more-or-less equal sides, et voila!


Business cards fit, with easy access.  Credit cards can go in the side you fold in, for maximum security.  And you can either cut 3 x 5 cards in half, for note-taking, or you can purchase them that way.  Somebody makes them now, and I’ve bought them at Office Max.

DIY 5-pocket Index Card Wallet for Hipster PDAs April 19, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, Hipster PDA, how to, index cards, lifehack, Other.

I just got a promotion of sorts at work and will be managing a few people in addition to doing research and writing and random other stuff now, so I found myself thinking about time management a little this morning.  I still use index cards to manage my own time and to take notes for writing projects and such.  And I’m always testing new ways of carrying them around an organizing them.  The last one of these I designed, the six-pocket version works pretty well, and I’ve been carrying note cards in it, and using it as my wallet, for weeks.  The only problem with it was that I had to do too much unfolding to get at my debit card, a suprisingly frequent occurance these days.  So I designed a five-pocket version that is much easier to use everyday, because the part of the folder that holds my bank card is always right there on the outside, and yet there is no danger of the card slipping out. 

Step 1: start with a piece of 13 x 13 inch paper.  This sounds more difficult than it is.  The most durable papers in the world are readily available in this size, if you know where to look.  You just need to find a large manila or Tyvek ™ envelope, cut the bottom and top out, slice out the middle, and unfold it. 

Step 2: mark the paper with a faint line 1 3/4 inches in from two opposing sides and then 2 3/4 inches in from another side, as depicted below (click picture to enlarge). 


Step 3: Flip the sheet over and fold the opposing sides in, creasing on the lines. 


Step 4: Fold the bottom up, creasing on the line.


Step 5: Insert the top into the slot made by the bottom folds and crease the whole thing again (this operation is shown in a side view in steps 4 and 5 of the instructions for this folder.


Step 6: Using an index card as a guide, fold in three roughly-equal parts and crease (I don’t know what that shadow is all about.)


That’s all.  See how the bank card fits and is accessible but totally safe?


I use the same pocket for a list of phone numbers.  And a pen with a clip can be used to make sure it doesn’t unfold, if you want. 


After a few days it will pretty much stay shut anyway.

DIY 6-pocket Index Card Wallet for Hipster PDAs-Side-opening Version March 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, Hipster PDA, how to, index cards, lifehack, Origami, Other.

People seldom comment on my paper-folding posts, although they still form the bulk of the traffic on this blog most days.  It still surprises me when someone comments.  This last weekend I got a comment from someone calling herself Charo that made me think a little.  Charo writes:

Hi there! I found your post while I was searching the web for an origami pocket briefcase. I must say, your idea is just what I was looking for! :)

I made the dimensions a bit wider, using a page from a size B4 sketch pad. I now use the outside pockets to keep addresses and blank sheets, organized with index card tabs. I use the inside pockets for my calendar and todo stuff. :)

I’m now thinking if there’s a way to turn this into a six-pocket holder :D

Six pockets, I thought to myself.  That’s a lot of pockets.  Maybe too many pockets.  But it is not for me to judge.  It is for me to give the people what they want.  This one is for Charo.

Like 95% of people in the world, Charo uses ISO-dimension paper.  I don’t have any, but I wish I did.  This design works much better with A3 paper.  Anyway, for those using the idiotic US-UK-Canadian dimensions, start with a piece of 11 x 17 inch paper. 

Step 1–Mark about two inches from each of the short sides.  Fold these toward the center and crease (N.B.: click images to enlarge).


Step 2–fold one of the long sides in slightly less than an inch toward the center and crease.


Step 3–Fold the other short side so that it meets the crease that you just made and crease that fold.  Here’s a side view of that:


Step 4–Step 5–Tuck the section you just made into the other one.


Step 5–Do it carefully to avoid tearing the paper and it will look like this when you are done.


Step 6–Then fold the short sides towards one another and crease in the middle and the unfold.


Step 7–Then fold each of the short sides towards the middle and crease. 


And step 8:


It opens up like this and has six pockets for index cards. 


And you can clip a pen to it, just like the other design:


Thanks for the idea, Charo!

DIY 4-pocket Index Card Wallet for Hipster PDAs-Side-opening Version February 6, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, Hipster PDA, how to, index cards, information management, lifehack, Origami, Other.

It occurred to me yesterday when posting that this Index Card Wallet could be folded vertically or horizontally, depending on one’s preference.  So here are instructions for the side-folding version.

Step 1–Start with a piece of 14 x 8.5 inch paper (mine has printed stuff on the side facing down, so that the steps are easier to follow.  I use relatively heavy paper, 32 lb., so that it is opaque.)  Mark one inch from each of the long sides.


Step 2–Fold these toward the center and crease.


Step 3–fold one of the short sides in 3 1/4 inch toward the center and crease.


Step 4–Fold the other short side so that it meets the crease that you just made and crease that fold.


Step 5–Tuck the section you just made into the other one as shown in this side view:


Step 6–Do it carefully to avoid tearing the paper and it will look like this when you are done.


Step 7–Just fold the short sides towards one another (top to bottom side in the diagram above) and you are done.  It has four pockets for index cards:


And you can clip a pen to it, just like the other design:


DIY 4-pocket Index Card Wallet for Hipster PDAs February 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, Hipster PDA, how to, index cards, information management, lifehack, Origami, Other.

It has been a while since I have posted a new practical origami design.  So I present the four-pocket (two verticle pockets, two horizontal) Hipster PDA index card wallet.  It may be the simplest and most useful design yet.

Step 1: Take a piece of legal-size (8.5 inch by 14 inch) paper and mark a spot 1 3/4 inches from the short edge.  N.B.: I have printed on one side to make the drawings easier to follow.


Step 2: Flip it over, fold the short sides in, and crease them at the marks.  Then fold one side 2 inches in from the long side (I know this should be a separate step, but I forgot to take a picture of that step.  So sue me.)


Step 3: Fold the other side down so that it meets the crease you made in the other long side.


Step 4: Insert the longer of the two sides (the one you just got done folding) into the shorter one (it has to go inside so that it is self-locking.)


Step 5: Fold the short sides so that they meet.  It should look like this with a pen clipped to it:


And it has four pockets, like I said before. 


So there you go.

See some other designs here.

Index card stuff on Squidoo January 20, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Hipster PDA, how to, index cards, lifehack, Origami, Other, web 2.0.
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My Hipster PDA stuff and index card stuff, which is filed permanently here under the origami page (see the header, above) got a mention, just barely, kind-of, I think, on a squidoo lens.  Plus it has plexo, whatever that is, yet another wrinkle in social networking that I don’t seem to have the brain cells to understand.

At least it has the word “squid” in it.  So there’s that.