Friday, February 18, 2011

Moleskine Pen Holder Hack

Here's an easy and cheap Mole pen holder for your sketchbook.  In fact I use this on all my journals and notebooks.  Whenever I get a new book, I put this pen holder in it.

(Quite a few people have been interested in this hack so I thought I'd add a few more details that might be helpful.)

I always place the pen holder on the first page of the journal/sketchbook/notebook because this first page is always the strongest part of the book block. (It's called the "endsheet" in the publishing business.)

Another reason I use the first page is that, when the book is closed, the pen will hang over the pages of the book, sort of tucked away. The hard cover book edges usually extend past the pages a bit to protect them.  This pen holder allows the pen to be wedged tightly between the hard cover edges.  So the pen doesn't hang up on stuff as you pull it from your backpack or purse.  It stays tucked out of the way when you are not using it.  When you remove the pen to write, the clean plastic tape folds flat and stays out of the way.

In a nutshell

Here is the simple process:
  1. Cut a strip of 10" packing tape.
  2. Place the tape sticky side up.
  3. Fold 3 inches of the tape over on itself 
  4. Wrap your pen inside about 2.5 inches of the folded over tape and place about a half an inch onto the sticky part (which is still facing up).
  5. Cut the excess tail of the tape to the width of first page of your book.
  6. Attach the sticky part to the "endsheet" of your Moleskine (or other hard cover book)
I use clear packing tape for the following reasons:
  • It's nearly invisible even with the pen in the holder.
  • It's cheap.
  • It's easy to find at almost any store.
  • It's strong and holds well.

You don't have to use clear tape of course.  At Walmart I saw an entire rack of wide tape in a rainbow of colors.  (It was in the paint section of the store.)  So if you are looking for something that matches your sketchbook, look no further.  Or if you want to add a little "funk" to your sketchbook, choose an accent color.  Your choice.

The hardest part of this hack is dealing with the sticky side of the tape facing up while you fold over the tape on itself and wrap your pen inside.

Just follow the sequence and you'll be fine.

It's the best way to guarantee that the right pen will always be with your sketchbook!

I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent. - Ashleigh Brilliant


kitty said...

Enjoying my lil sketchbook and missing your posts!! Hope you're alright!!

daveterry said...

Kitty: Thanks so much. Been a bit busy and mostly over at We are moving to China for a year so had to wrap up a few things here. Not much time for illustrated journaling but maybe more later.

Anonymous said...

I have a better solution. I just bought a Quiver pen holder. It's amazing. Check their website out. I sound like Im in advertising haha. But this'll be a quick cheap fix for whatever pen holding issue you have! They fit moleskine for sure, probably others too!

daveterry said...

Those do look very cool, even professional. (Check them out at

I just have two problems with this design:
1) the pen holder on the cover of the book means you can't stack them
2) the pen holder on the spine means you can lay them flat and sketch or write

I believe the best place for the pen is at the page edge. I've seen some neat designs where the pen acts as a closure for a journal. That would be the ultimate. However, my solution will save you $24 + shipping and will still allow the book to lay flay and stackable.

Still, if you don't need to do either, Quiver is a very cool solution and very reasonable.

Thanks for the suggestion.