The great thing about making your own leather journal is that literally you can gift it to anyone, your husband, mom, grandparents. I mean who doesn’t want a leather journal? It’s so versatile, beautiful and best of all- gender neutral. Almost always, when you purchase them in store, they’re £20 up. Why spend so much when this DIY only takes about 15-20 minutes to put one together and I can guarantee you when you tell them you made it by hand, they’ll be pretty impressed!
Step 1: Gather Materials
First off the materials you’ll need are:
- leather hide (or pleather)
- leather string (exchangeable with any string)
- inside pages of a notebook
- xacto knife, scissors, or rotary cutter
- ruler and cutting board
- rubber band / leather needle and thread
Step 2: Measure the Materials
Now that you have all your materials, let’s get started.
Take the book you want to wrap in leather, I used a mini Moleskine, and just rip off the cover. From there lay the book flat on one end of your leather. Make sure you have a slight margin around all sides of the book for leeway, just to make sure so that when the leather journal is closed the leather still covers the whole book. Open up the book, as if you about to write in it and measure the book’s length when opened. In my case, the Moleskine measured 3.5 inches when closed, and 7 inches opened. Then add about another 1 1/2 inch more to the overall to create the closure flap. You don’t need to be exact with the measurements here, just really whatever you think looks good and suits your needs best. For example if you want the closure flap to fold over a further than mine, just measure more leather to the side.
Step 3: Secure the Book
So in order to secure the book to the leather, we have two options to work with.
For the easy option, take the very center opening of the book, and the leather, then slipping it through the rubber band. Make sure to place the journal on the one left end of your leather cut out, leaving the excess leather on the right hand side for us to then use as the closure flap. The great thing about this options is that once your done with the pages of this book, it can easily be exchanged with new pages.
For the second option, grab your leather needle and thread, and secure the very top and bottom of the journal by threading it through the book and the leather. Basically, open your pages to the very center of the book, follow the already made stitch marks from you moleskine bind and simply stitch through several times to attach the book to the leather. This method is more secure than the rubber band option, but takes a little more effort.
Step 4: Creating the Closure String Thing
I don’t even know what to call this thing, I’ll just refer to it as the ‘closure string’. This is the last and final step to finishing. Taking the right hand side of the leather which we left as the closure flap, find the center and mark a dot in the middle of the length. (as I’ve dotted in the image below) Then create a small hole using either a needle or the point of an xacto knife. Slip the leather string through the hole, and tie a knot on the outer side.
Voilà! We have a beautiful, minimal, handmade leather journal ready for any of your last minute christmas giftings (or perhaps even for yourself!).
I think if I wasn’t a graphic designer I would be a leather smith, it’s so much fun. Let me know how you get on with your leather journal DIY and if you do make one, tag me on Instagram @belindalovelee I would love to see your final creation!
Happy x’mas DIY-ing!