Instructables
Picture of How To: Leather Bound Journal

The inspiration for this project came from the huge waste of paper at my office. There are certain processes our system goes through that result in printing off pieces of paper with only a small amount of useless text at the top... which usually get thrown right in the trash. So I figured why waste it when I can use it?!

After collecting enough of these pages I used a paper cutter to trim the printed part off and even out the size a little. The size I decided to go with was 7x9, which would give me a journal page that was seven inches tall and five and a half inches wide.

 
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Step 1: The Pagemaster

Picture of The Pagemaster

I'm rolling all of the paper based steps into one since the focus of this instructable is more on the leather aspect. In fact, none of this step is necessary to make a leather journal. It's just the way I did it. You could use an existing notebook or even a book.

Be warned, this first step is a doozy.

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This was my test page that I folded and creased and marked on until it was generally useless for anything other than being a template. I cut about three pages at a time, since if you do more than that the cuts get really ragged. Once you've cut everything to the right size, separate the pages into piles. I did eight piles of six sheets.

Fold each pile in half. 1 page at a time. Yes this takes forever. Here's the end result:

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Each folded group of pages is called a signature. I don't know why. Once you've folded them you need to poke holes in the creases so you can sew them together. I used a leather awl. Poke four holes, spaced evenly apart, along the creases. Make sure it stays in the crease and doesn't stray onto the page itself.

Sew the pages together using a complicated method that's really hard to explain.

...No really, here's one of the sites I used to figure out how to do it. That site actually explains the way to do the whole binding process in a much more detailed way than I could ever explain it so rather than explaining it myself I'm just going to point you in that direction.

I used a strong waxed thread that I got from my local Tandy Leather store, but you can use any strong thread. If you want to wax it just run it over the bottom of one of those fat candles! This is what mine looked like when I was done with it.

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After you've bound the pages they need to be reinforced. You can glue cheese cloth to the back which I haven't done, but would recommend. Then you need to put some sort of cardstock on the outside pages. I used some stuff we happened to have around. I think it's water color paper, but it was stiff enough.

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Measure it the same size that you used for the pages (in my case 7x9) and fold it the same way as well. Put a thin layer of glue on one side and fold it over one of the outside pages. After you've glued one side you can glue the other side and then move onto the opposite page of the book. Apply pressure as it dries.

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Now you have a journal to put in your leather cover. Yay!

SolshineCrazy2 months ago

I really love this! About how much did it cost to make? Also is an awl necesarry because I don't own one, and I don't know if I have enough money to buy one...

The Rambler (author)  SolshineCrazy2 months ago

Thanks! Hmm, hard to estimate the actual cost since I had everything on hand from previous purchases but it's definitely on the low end. Technically the only tools necessary for this project are a utility knife or scissors to cut it out, something to poke or punch holes, and a needle and some strong thread to sew it up. Whatever you have that can poke holes will work. Some people drill holes. As long as you have a pointy bit of metal you should be good! Good luck!

starwarsgeek12 months ago
this is great!
hdraper194 months ago

this journal looks great i would love to make it but im to lazy could I buy it from you?

The Rambler (author)  hdraper194 months ago

PM Sent.

doodlecraft5 months ago

I love it! I need to make this Journal of Impossible things! :)

The Rambler (author)  doodlecraft5 months ago

Haha, first compared to Supernatural and now Doctor Who! I'm hitting all of the cult fandoms!

phelandhu6 months ago

It's called a Signature from back when printing was done via off set printers. When you take the normal layup of the print page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. With the signature the first paper would contain pages 1, 2, 7, 8 and then the second paper would contain 3, 4, 5, 6. When the layout of the print was done everyone in the printers would look at it and sign off on it to verify that they checked it out before sending it off to print.

The Rambler (author)  phelandhu6 months ago

Oh cool! That makes sense. Thanks.

trans4mation6 months ago

This is terrific looking! I need one!

The Rambler (author)  trans4mation6 months ago

Thank you! You want to buy this one? Haha, I haven't found anything I thought was worth putting in it yet so it's just sitting in my desk drawer.

HollyMann6 months ago

Wow this is so nice! You put a lot of work into it. :) Love how you made the journal. And the sewing looks great...it looks very professional!

The Rambler (author)  HollyMann6 months ago

Thanks! For some reason that's one of the more important things to me. The edges can be imperfect as long as my sewing is straight!

Pa19637 months ago

This would make a really nice cover for a Kindle ,etc.

The Rambler (author)  Pa19637 months ago

True! And good idea. All you'd have to do is change the center strap to a couple corner straps and voila!

great idea!

zazu_2477 months ago
I apologize, I was just attempting to reference it's similarity to the journal in the tv show, "supernatural". In the fan base for this show, there is a running joke that whenever the main characters open the journal, it will always open to the same page; the page that the book opens to depicts a wendigo, from the second episode.
The Rambler (author)  zazu_2477 months ago

Haha, no need to apologize. I was just kidding around because I wasn't entirely sure what you meant and that's what Wikipedia had under Wendigo. I really need to watch that show. I only watched the first season but I really loved it.

Ωmega7 months ago

I more secure way to close it would be a buckle, but thats just a suggestion.

The Rambler (author)  Î©mega7 months ago

Very true.

zazu_2477 months ago
I am noticing a distinct lack I wendigo here
The Rambler (author)  zazu_2477 months ago

That would be correct. I didn't use any demonic half beast creatures from Algonquian legend. Or are you referring to a different wendigo?

siliconvalley7 months ago

It's really beautiful work and nice

I like leather holsters

And learned how to bookbinding, I looked it up a while ago

The Rambler (author)  siliconvalley7 months ago

Thank you!