Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Desktop Pencil Tidy

Do you go rooting around looking for writing implements of a pencil-y nature? Park your pencils in this papercraft pencil tidy. The tidy consists of a base and a sling - so it is more or less a Pencil Hammock. Clock the pencil shavings hammock print!

This project is in celebration of #NationalStationeryWeek. (Thursday is Tidy Desk Day!)

Here are your free printables:

Pencil TidyBlue1of2.svg 



Desktop Pencil Tidy

1 Score all the fold lines with a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. Score the pieces before cutting them out. Cut out, and crease the folds.

2 Glue the side panels onto the pencil tidy base, right sides together. The rectangular ends belong inside the base of the tidy.

3 Stick on the base liner.

4 Attach the sides: fold up the side panels and attach the tabs to adjacent tidy sides. Next, fold the top of the side panels to the inside.

5 Next fold the sides of the tidy to the inside. Important: you must glue above and below the slot (use PVA tacky glue or d/s tape).

6 Time to attach the sling. Shape the sling into a valley curve before attaching it. Attaching the sling is a little bit tricky because the sling is wrapped around the bar above the slot. The sling ends hook around each slot. Just tack your time and apply glue to the underlap as well as the bits on the outside of the bar. Finished!

P.S. It is OK to stash your ballpoints and felt-tips in the pencil tidy, too! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Adventures in Stationery, by James Ward. Book Review.

Adventures in Stationery

A Journey Through Your Pencil Case

By James Ward

Profile Books, Ltd. 2014

£12.99 Hardback, £8.99 Paperback (2015)

ISBN 978 1846686153

Star rating: ****

“It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the history of stationery is the history of human civilisation.”

- James Ward, Adventures in Stationery

It is National Stationery Week (27 April – 3 May), an appropriate moment to review James Ward’s fun and fascinating appreciation, Adventures in Stationery. And, with perfect timing, this title is now out in paperback. 

The book is an enthusiastic, quirky, and very personal history of stationery staples (in both the figurative and literal senses). Cleverly  designed with illustrations and pics interspersed throughout, this title is a treat. It traces the evolution of stationery basics – paper, pens, pencils, erasers, paperclips    consumables and gadgets. It shares the eureka moments and serendipitous discoveries that led to the development of now-familiar stationery items, such as the Post-It Note, Blu-Tack, and the stapler. Spoiler alert: the distinctive, flat and stubby design of the Stabilo Boss highlighter came about by accident. (I would have thought that the design team would automatically hit upon the idea of a flat marker that wouldn’t roll away...).

This book provides plenty of pub quiz factoids (Mike Nesmith of the Monkees’ mother inventing typewriter correction fluid – a full recount of the story) – but that is not the point. The author is sharing his obsession with both like-minded aficionados and the curious casual reader. Packed with anecdotes, personal stationery-based recollections, and cultural references, the book is a well-written and entertaining read. From a design standpoint, the observations are sharp and insightful. 

There are chapters on desk tidies, postcards, school stationery items, filing cabinets, and more. There’s a chapter on tapes and adhesives. (I was surprised by the omission of frosted Magic Tape, a very useful product you can write on it, it can be removed from paper without tearing).

The final chapter deals with the role of stationery in the digital age. (Do you use digital sticky notes on your comp?).

Adventures in Stationery is an erudite but accessible nerdfest. The title speaks the truth. Boring it is not.

James Ward’s blog is, I Like Boring Things

Oh yes, this year marks the launch of World Stationery Day


This book review has been posted on the very lovely Make it in Design blog.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mug Hug Pockets

Do you keep a pencil mug on your desktop? Time for a fun makeover! These Mug Hug Pockets enhance the storage capability of the mug - and the waterfall-style pockets are so very pretty. Highly giftable - for Mother's Day (US) or National Stationery Week (27 April - 3 May).

I have to say, I am not a huge fan of ordinary knitted or crocheted mug hugs - they are not functional enough to justify their existence. Papercraft mug hugs, with pockets - now that's a different matter.

The Mug hugs are quick and easy to make. How-tos follow for your free


Mug Hug Pockets

The Mug Hug Pockets fit a standard mug, 8cm (3-1/8in)-diameter.

1 Print and cut out one Mug Hug backing wrap and five pockets. You can make the pockets all the same colour, or alternate the colours. Cut the backing wrap out of 160gsm photocopier card. Cut the pockets out of 90 - 120 gsm cartridge paper (construction paper).

2 Score and crease all the fold lines. Use a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. Use a bone folder to make nice crisp folds. The colour blocks of the design help to indicate the fold lines. Tip: for easy pocket positioning, score and fold the lines on the mug backing wrap that indicate the divisions.

3 Glue reinforcements over the holes on the tabs, on both the front and flip side of the Mug Hug backing wrap.

4 Accordion the pocket sides. Glue (or tape) the side flap onto the outer back of the pocket. Next, fold up the bottom flap and glue it onto the back. Smooth all the creases with a bone folder. Use either tacky PVA glue or d/s tape. Make up all five pockets. 

5 Glue (or tape) the pockets onto the Mug Hug backing wrap, aligning each pocket with a colour block area. It may help to fold the adjacent wrap area under as you glue each pocket. 

Here's a pic of the assembled Mug Hug Pockets:

7 Your Mug Hug Pockets are now complete. Time to "dress" the mug:
wrap the pockets around the mug, with tab ends under the mug handle. Thread a 60cm (24in) length of 6mm(1/4in)-wide ribbon in a tapestry needle and lace it through the holes, criss-cross style. Tie the ribbon tails in a bow.
What will you store in your Mug Hug Pockets?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hex Hatch Patchwork Box

More papercraft sewing accessories! A fabric patchwork sewing stash box inspired me to make this printable project. I am always keen on hexagons, plus I was fascinated by the offbeat hatch-in-the-lid opening. Of course, you can use these boxes to store any small bits and pieces – stationery items, craft items. The boxes are fun to make and very giftable.

The box is an unusual shape - consequently, constructing it is a papercraft adventure of a very do-able nature. To make it, the hexagons are joined in a railway track-style strip, joined to make a ring, then the top sections are folded down. Lid and base are then added. More specific how-tos follow in the post.

Here are your free printables (instructions follow). Choice of three colourways!:

Hex Hatch Patch Box

1 Cut out the pieces. Score the folds. Crease the folds.
2 Join little tab to make a continuous strip of six hexagons. Join little tab to make a ring.
3 Join adjacent sides.
4 On the top of the box, fold under and stick down the tabs around the top opening.
5 On the bottom of the box, glue the base hexagon in place. Glue the base liner inside the
box, over the base, for a tidy appearance.
6 Insert a brad centre front of lid piece. Fold under five of the six lid tabs, leaving the tab opposite the brad unfolded. Glue the lid liner underneath the lid top.
7 Glue the lid tab under a hatch opening edge on the box top. Insert a brad on the box top, to correspond with the lid brad. Tie a piece of craft thread onto the lid brad. Wrap the thread around the brads to close the box. 

Enjoy your Hex Hatch Patch Box! Make a batch and stack your stash!