Introduction: Field Notes Leather Cover

So this is my first time making an instructable and working with gentle. If this was helpful, please vote at the Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest or DIY Summer Camp Contest!

Materials needed for project:

Download and print out the templates. These were made in Adobe Illustrator.

Cut out the back, left, and right sections of the holder with the metal ruler and exact-o knife. Don't worry about rounding the edges. First, out out the rectangular shapes. Then, cut out the rounded sections by using a washer/coin/etc. to cut out the semi-circles for the left and right side of the holder.

The corners of the templates also have rounded-out edges. Start out with the left and right. Then, stack the left side with the holder's back. Make sure the edges are flush and use a paper clip to hold the two items together . Then, using the rounded out corner of the left side, cut out the corners for the back. Repeat for right side.

Step 1: Dye-ing Items

Materials: Fiebing's Leather Colors Dye: Saddle Tan, Gloves, Sponges, Cardboard

Here I'm using Fiebing's Leather Colors Dye: Saddle Tan. Feel free to use whatever color you want. Make sure to wear gloves when tanning leather. Or else you're hands will match your newly tanned item. (Paper towels also help.) To dye leather, place the pieces on something you don't mind throwing away (spare cardboard, newspaper, etc.).

Using a sponge (you can also use a cloth, t-shirt scraps, or q-tips) spread the dye in small circles. (try not to drench the leather in dye or stay in one spot for too long to have an even coating). Leave the leather to dry for a 12-24 hrs.

If your leather gets TOO dry after this step, polish it with some olive oil to bring back some elasticity. (wait until it's dry before doing anything else)

Step 2: Gluing Items

Materials: Painter's Tape, Exacto Knife, Fiebing's Leather Cement, paper clips, paper towels, Brush

Again, after everything is dried, we are ready for gluing. For this step i used: painter's tape and a small brush so I would have more control over where the glue went. Measure about 1/8 inch perimeter around with the painter's tape.

Step 3: Making Holes for Stiches

Materials: Hammer, Tape,Leather Groover,6 Prong Chisel Leather Craft Tools Hole Punch

After the glue's hardened and dried (8 hours), it's time to smash some holes into the leather for stitching. make the pieces of leather flush and use a clip to hold the two sides together. This will prevent your work from becoming uneven and the holes misaligned.

Find a level surface and put some excess paper/cardboard under the leather. Using a ruler, mark about 1/8 inch, from the edge. This will be your guide as you use the Leather Groover. Later, when we saddle stitch the leather, the thread will slide in the grooves. Start making holes with the six prong chisel. Make sure you are holding the tool perpendicular to the leather and use the hammer to make the holes. To have a straight pattern, insert the first few points of the tool into the previously formed holes using them as a guide.

Step 4: Saddle Stitching Items Together

  1. To saddle stitch, you'll need two needles threaded to the same thread.
  2. Thread the needle. Then, pull about 1.5 inches of the thread through. Take the tip of the needle and press it into the waxed thread. The thread should slip open and let the needle go through. Then pull the needle and it should lock in place. (don't pull too much or the thread will break free through the end)
  3. Personally, I made the length of the thread four times the length I needed to stitch. This gave me enough room to move the needles around and not run out of string.
  4. Do the same procedure with the other needle.
  5. So to sew the left and right side onto the cover.
  6. Jessyratfink has a great tutorial on saddle stitching and I used that technique for the left and right flaps.

Step 5: Finishing the Edges

Materials: Edge Kote, Cue Tips, Sand Paper, Cake Burnisher

After stitching everything, it's time to finish the edges. Sand edges of the sides with fine sandpaper to level it out This will help with the edge coat. Don't shake the Edge Kote, just swirl it. Use the cue tips to brush the edges of the note holder. Make sure not to over do it and get the inside or outside of the notebook. Let it dry a few hours. Then, sand the side down with a cake burnisher to make it shiny and round it out. To make it easier to burnish, lay the piece flat on a table, with the edge of the leather slightly off. Then, burnish it easily.


Now, go out there and take some Field Notes!

DIY Summer Camp Challenge

Runner Up in the
DIY Summer Camp Challenge

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Third Prize in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Outside Contest 2016

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2016