What is more timeless and classic than a leather-bound journal?! Perfect for business, as a gift or even just as a scribble pad to keep at home, they’re a really useful way to organise your life in true gentlemanly style! In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a pocket-sized leather-bound journal, complete with decorative inner lining to personalise it to your own tastes. I made this journal for about £6, including the leather and the awl (which I got from Amazon) – so there’s no excuse not to give this a try!
How to make a DIY leather bound notebook
Supplies and tools
- Soft leather
- Leather awl
- Decorative paper
- Waxed linen thread
- Rotary cutter or good scissors
- Self-healing rubber mat
- Fabric glue
- Paper for the pages
What to do
Making the cover
- Using a rotary cutter (or good scissors), cut out a strip of leather measuring 27cm x 12cm. Try to cut this as neatly as possible, with clean lines and sharp corners.
- Cut a similar strip out of your chosen decorative paper (I used a map of the British Isles, but you can use anything you like!)
- Using a suitable fabric glue, stick the decorative paper to the inside of the leather strip. Leave this to dry under a stack of heavy books for at least 24 hours (ensure that it doesn’t stick to the books by first placing a piece of cling film over the top).
Making the pages
- Cut out 18 pieces of paper, each measuring 12 cm x 17 cm
- Arrange these into 3 stacks of 6 pages each.
- Fold each of these stacks in half, keeping all of the pages in the stack carefully aligned. Use a blunt knife to enforce the crease.
Compiling the journal
1. If the leather/paper cover has completely dried, use an awl to make 6 holes in it, as shown by the red marks in the diagram below. These should be approximately 3 cm from the top edge and 3 cm from the bottom edge.
2. Similarly, make two holes in the centre of each of the previously prepared stacks of pages. The holes should be along the crease and should line up with the holes made in the cover.
3. Finally, tie the pages to the cover by carefully feeding a length of waxed linen thread through the holes. Start from the inside of the book, threading the needle through to the outside (leaving a tail of at least 5cm). Feed it down to the next hole, to form a straight line of thread (as you can see in the photos). Repeat this for each of the holes, ending with the thread back in the centre of the journal. Remove the needle and tie the two loose ends of thread together.
A DIY leather bound notebook like this would make a pretty good gift, don’t you think? You could even make a set of mini notebooks and tie them together with twine! After all, you can NEVER have too many places to doodle and make lists! 🙂 – Mike.
Don’t forget to Pin this image, so you can make it later: