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TSB is in the Draft Magazine Gift Guide

Guess who made it into the Draft Magazine Gift Guide…Three Sheets Books!
Draft Magazine Gift guide

I didn’t even realize we were in this issue until a couple of people at Phoenix Flea approached my booth and mentioned “I saw you in Draft Magazine! I didn’t know you were local!”

Back in the summer, I was contacted about the possibility of being in the magazine, and provided a few books to the local Draft Magazine photo editor. I never thought it was going to be part of the Gift Guide!

This was back before I started doing the pocket notebooks. Probably why they’re not included in the blurb, but still…how cool is that?

Merry Christmas!

Draft Magazine Gift Guide - page 59

Introducing pocket notebooks

The Beer box pocket notebook - from Three Sheets Books

Even though I have probably a half dozen apps on my phone that are designed to let me record quick thoughts or jot down a list or number, I always fund myself coming back to my trusty pocket notebook. Pen on paper, or even better, a pencil on paper. No waiting for a frozen phone, or a stupid app to update before I can use it, I always know I can count on a notebook to get it done.

The Pocket Notebook phenomenon

I personally have an entire shelf of Field Notes, Moleskines, even some detective-style/Blues Clues flip notebooks. Sure, an app can hold a task list, but can it also hold a doodle while you wait for your car? Or the scores from a pickup dart game? Or capture a quick idea sketch for a table?

My personal pocket notebook. Just the right amount of beat up.

My personal pocket notebook is just the right amount of beat up.

The first pocket notebook I made was out of a Crazy Mountain Brewing Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Bitter Ale box, and I carry it every day. Not only is the design of their packaging hilarious, but it’s always fun to answer the “Uh…what’s on your notebook?” question.

Beer boxes are designed to withstand a decent amount of abuse from transport and still protect the precious cargo, so in my opinion, they’re perfect for a pocket notebook. The small size fits in your pants pocket or purse perfectly, usually smaller than your phone.

See the collection of readily available pocket notebooks on my Etsy store, or request a custom two-pack!

Custom Cover made from a Jack Daniel’s Whiskey box

I get asked every now and then about creating a custom cover from other boxes, such as a liquor or wine box, that don’t come in four- or six-pack boxes. What I finally figured out is that they’re asking is if I can use the shipping cases that the larger bottles come in.

Many times, the design of these boxes is pretty boring, maybe done in only one or two ink colors, since its usually only the distributors and drivers who see them, but I now have a little collection of the case boxes that I find interesting, and have experimented with producing custom books from them.

Jack Daniels Sketchbook custom cover

From a distance this custom Jack Daniel’s cover looks amazing, but upon close inspection, you can see strange folds and bends where the spine meets the front cover.

Generally speaking, the thicker corrugated cardboard isn’t great for these. One would expect the thicker cardboard to be stronger, and therefore better, but it’s just not the case, in my opinion. The thicker covers protect the pages very well, the overall rigidity of the cover makes it feel like a hardback book, but the edges are two ply, and subject to dings and tears, even more so than the traditional thin boxes I’m using.

Custom cover made from a Costco pre-made margarita box.

Custom cover made from a Costco pre-made margarita box.

Another issue I run into is that since the cardboard is thicker, with vertical lines running through them, the box will tend to fold where it wants to, not necessarily where I want it to, specifically where the front and back covers meet the spine. More often than not, they bend, as opposed to fold, which results in uneven lines and odd-sized covers.

Every once in a while I’ll test one out that actually works, like this Costco-brand margarita mix box, but that seems to be the exception to the rule.

So, what I’m saying is

Keep sending in custom requests through the etsy shop. I’ll absolutely keep experimenting with these types of boxes, because I know that if I can nail this down it will really open up some new options for custom work, but for right now, I’m not thrilled with the results.