Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DIY leather journal

If you read the post about my goals for 2014, you'll know that one of my resolutions this year is to journal more constantly. Often times I've looked back on what were mindless rambling or silly doodles at the time of conception, but looking back are very inspirational.

A week late, I've finally finished making a journal for the task. I have a very picky taste in journals and after searching the internet on the subject for a while, I learned that creating your own journal isn't such a far-fetched idea! I could save money, and tailor it to my specific needs :D
I used a couple of tutorials combined that I found online for this journal, along with some methods I created myself. 


-Paper and a printer if you don't want blank pages. 
-leather or pleather (I had some leather scraps, but you could also use a thrifted coat, etc)
-card stock or cereal box (I used an old Tegan and Sara poster that has seen better days)
-awl or a big sharp needle to poke holes. 
-strong cotton string or similar- twine will work, or even dental floss 
-lining fabric for the inside (optional- I only used it because my card stock was a little haggard, I think it could look good without too!)
-rubber cement
-rubber mallet

To get a free download of the pages I used, I've shared them on Google Docs, so you can use them too if you'd like:
-calendar monthview
-calendar monthview with days (days of the week labeled)
-ruled and blank (lined on one half, blank on the other)
-calendar and grid (weekly calendar pages on half, graph on the other)
-calendar and grid 2 (other half of weekly calendar)


1. If you want specific page layouts, then print all the pages out. I am very particular about page types and chose regular ruled, calendar weeks, graphing paper, and blank. This way I can write, plan, design, and draw... But do whatever fits your lifestyle best. 
2. Decide what shape of a journal you want. I wanted an envelope type closure that was a bit larger than the paper all around.  I made a template of 9.5" by 12" then added extra space needed for envelope (2" at centre).

3. Trace the card stock (and liner, if needed) to match the size of the paper, extend to match any extensions on the leather for closure minus 1/2". (So if 2" was added for envelope in leather, only 1 1/2" would be added for the envelope card stock and liner.)
4. Once everything is cut out, rubber cement the liner to the card stock and then both to the leather. 

5. When those three layers are nice and stuck, apply rubber cement around the leather perimeter and fold the edges over to enclose the raw edges. Pound with a rubber mallet to really flatten and set the edges. 
6. On one page of paper, mark out your binding holes. I did this as shown in the picture:
1", 1.5", 1", 1.5", 1", 1.5", 1"
7. Using an awl or big needle, transfer these holes to all the pages in your book and finally into the spine of the cover, ensuring the page is lined up perfectly before puncturing. 
8. When all the holes are punched and pages are lined up, thread into the binding holes from the inside to the outer cover on all holes- this means you have to re-thread your needle a bunch of times, or else thread both sides before starting- this tutorial explains this process a little better. 

9. On the leather side, cross the threads over and thread them back through to the inside. 
10. Finally, tie the threads into double knots onto the thread in the inside. 

11. If you are doing an envelope closure like I did, stitch on your button and create a double layer thread loop for a closure, or whatever else you can think of. 

And that's it! Time to get journaling, scheming, scamming, planning, poem-writing and landscape drawing. I made my journal to last until March 20th. That's the last day of winter-- I feel like my brain works this way-- based on the seasons rather than the months- but make yours however seems right to you! 
Let me know if you try this out! I know it's a bit involved, took me a couple go's to get it just right, but if you give it a shot, I'd love to see what you come up with!

Thanks for reading, and happy journaling!


1 comment:

  1. Nice post. thanks for posting. We also deals with leather notebook.



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