How to erase the print on a Moleskine cover?
February 28, 2018 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I got one of those Moleskine notebooks with a print on the cover as a gift. Is there a simple way (household chemical etc.) to erase the print on the cover?
posted by djfreex to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total)
Coming at it sideways, is there someone with a blank moleskine who wants to trade you for that sweet Star Wars model?
posted by rustcellar at 4:24 PM on February 28, 2018 [18 favorites]

Or would be easy easier to cover it up. Tape, sharpie, paint, etc.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:29 PM on February 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

Also laterally, could you just cover the whole notebook in a nice (sticky-back) paper?
posted by runincircles at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

pumice stick
posted by hortense at 4:49 PM on February 28, 2018

Seconding hortense’s suggestion to try a gentle abrasion first. Maybe with a 1000-1500 grit sandpaper, before trying something more rough, like 400 grit. Pumice stone might be too rough and leave gouges in the cover’s surface.

Abrasion would be my first choice, because I suspect that whatever chemical you used to remove the print might also affect the dye in the cover itself. And I don’t think any chemical will leave you with a really pristine look when you’re done (it will probably always be marred where the orint and the solvent were).

However, if I were going to do this with a chemical, I’d start with the less aggressive solvent first, and then advance to more effective ones only if the gentler one doesn’t work. Try them in this order:

1. Water (unlikely to work on printed materials meant to be handled)
2. Isopropyl alcohol (removes permanent Sharpie marker print, but often leaves adhesives and plasticized print layers untouched)
3. Acetone (nail polish remover, will often dissolve even stubborn adhesives/plastics)

If acetone doesn’t do it, then you’re looking at having to branch out into much more unpleasant solvents to work with (naphtha, gasoline, heptane, etc.). But I think acetone should get it, if anything does.

If possible, I’d test a bit of the solvent on the inside back cover just to see if it will harm your Moleskine before using it. Possibly with a bit of solvent on a Q-tip, or so.

Good luck, and let us know what you find that works!
posted by darkstar at 5:01 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

i think you are SOL. the coverup plan seems right. got a fave art print you can buy and affix to the cover?
posted by j_curiouser at 5:07 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could cover it up with duct tape.
posted by montbrarian at 5:39 PM on February 28, 2018

The "magic eraser" sponge-things are very fine abrasives. I think you can use them dry, but if not, try it barely damp. It's ablative, so expect to lose a bit of material on the eraser. If it doesn't work, well, they're really great at what they normally do.

I doubt it'll work, but if you have GooGone, which is a solvent for removing gooey adhesives, and stink up the place with an orange-scented oil slick. Good stuff, but I feel like I spend more time cleaning up the googone than I do the mess I used it to remove.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:50 PM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

From my experience trying to remove similar-looking commercially silkscreened labels off of glass, no solvent will work particularly well. Soaking in acetone overnight might, but that will totally ruin the cover underneath it.

I don't see any practical way to ablate the printing away, even if you had a laser cutter handy.

Which leaves mechanical processes. The two approaches I can think of are shaving it off with a razor or like dental tools or something, vs abrading it away with a ... bumpy thing - I think both risk damage to the underlying cover.

Short answer: It's probably possible if you spend enough time super carefully scraping it away by hand, but it's going to be real annoying, and probably not worth it.
posted by aubilenon at 5:52 PM on February 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think the easiest and least damaging ways would be to cover it with either a Sharpie, or some black Duct Tape.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:46 PM on February 28, 2018

Going back to the first answer, if it is that Star Wars cover you link to, that's, well, whatever a "Limited Edition" means these days* -- could you give it to a friend who loves Star Wars? Unfortunately then you're out about $20 for a plain black replacement, but that's the only way you're likely to get a clean, pristine look.

*eBay has these for $10-15 dollars, and they're $25 retail, so evidently they aren't really collectible at this point.
posted by troyer at 11:50 PM on February 28, 2018

I don't know why I find it so funny that you don't like this cover but I do.

I'm not sure if an abrasive would also damage the black of the moleskine? So maybe cover it with ... Glitter? Stickers?
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 5:58 AM on March 1, 2018

Sorry--I think that cover image is there to stay. My go-to in these cases is always to cover something boring or that I don't like in vinyl stickers. They're flexible, water resistant, can be removed and replaced with minimal damage (usually) and they can be of pretty much whatever you want. If you're not already sitting on a stockpile of vinyl stickers from Kickstarter rewards, con swag, or promo giveaways, you can get like 100 shady knockoff stickers in a bag off of Amazon for like $5-10.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:39 AM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not optimistic that you could remove the color without ruining the cover underneath, and even if you could, some of the similar ones I've seen actually have embossing to subtly set the image off. Either way, that's a LOT of work for a ~20 notebook.

Do you have any nerdy friends who'd swap you? Can you regift? Classic Star Wars is really desirable for a lot of people.

If you really want to use THIS SPECIFIC NOTEBOOK but cannot abide the image, I think your best route lies in painting/stickering/duct-taping over the image or using the notebook with some kind of external cover. (Maybe thick paper, schoolbook-style, that you could get in the style of your choice?)
posted by oblique red at 7:19 AM on March 1, 2018

I think you'll have better luck covering the cover with contact paper.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:13 AM on March 1, 2018

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