Introduction: How to Make a Leather Bound Hardback Notebook or Journal

About: Woodworker, maker, youtube creator, podcaster, brand advocate, router instructor and Father. I post regularly on my youtube channel, and teach router courses regularly in the UK. I also make all kinds stuff a…

This is really easy easy project that you can customise to your own needs for size and number of pages!

All you need is:

Paper - Any colour/pattern/size. I use A4 plain printer paper.
Some leather - I used an old leather skirt from a charity/good will shop.
Cardboard - I used some from the back of an old paper pad.
Wood glue/PVA
Ribbon (Optional)
Needle and thread
Cutting Mat
Spray adhesive
Awl or small, sharp, pointy thing you can poke tiny holes with :-)

Step 1: Folding the Pages Into Sets Ready to Be Stitched

The first thing to do is fold every sheet of paper in half, and then Stack them up on groups of 8-10 sheet.

Make your folds as neat as you can as it makes life easier down the road.

Once you have everything folded separate the 8-10 sheets into little booklets and stack them on top of each other. This will form the book, and will need to be sewn together - the easy bit! :-)

Step 2: Stitching the Various Sets Together.

Take the top group of pages and measure out evenly for your first batch of holes, then punch the points with you'll to create a hole for your stitching.

Once the first set is punched stack them all up again and use the first one to mark a line across all of them with a pencil.

Now you can separate all the sets, open them out and punch the holes for you stitching. and they will all line up with each set.

Step 3: Gluing the Spine.

Start with the first set and stitch them all together nice and firmly.

start at one end and sew all the way to the other, then back to the start.

Once the first set is sewn up take the second set and repeat using the same line of thread. This time each time your stitch comes back out through the spine, thread it through the stitching on the previous set to hold the two together. Repeat this until all the sets are stitched through and together forming the pages of the book.

Once stitched together, clamp the spine between two flat boards and apply the PVA to the spine and leave to dry.

I found that several thinner coats worked a little better than 1 thick coat as it stopped the pages getting wrinkled when wet.

Once fully dry remove from the clamps and the pages are essentially finished - i you want.

Step 4: Adding a Page Marker Ribbon (optional)

Once the spine is all glued together, you can, if you want go ahead and glue a piece of ribbon along half the length of the spine sticking out about 2" longer than the height of the book.

Glue it on and leave it to dry, then give it a couple more coats of glue to hold it firmly in place.

Step 5: Reinforcing the Spine.

At this point it's a good idea to reinforce the spine with some fabric. I used a piece of off cut from my other half's sewing box, but something like an old hanky would provide a suitable bit. Make it slightly shorter than the height of the book, and about wide enough to cover the spine plus about 2" around front and back.

Step 6: Making the Cover.

With the pages of the book all finished we can start on the cover (or do this whilst waiting for glue to dry!)

Cut up the cardboard to make front, back and a spine piece.

Make the front and back cover slightly larger the pages by about 1/8" or 3mm all the way around except the spine. The spine card needs to be the same size as the book is thick, but the same 1/8" bigger top and bottom.

Next cut up your leather so it's a little bigger than the card when laid out so it can be folded over neatly.

I used spray contact adhesive to attach the leather to the card. line up what will be the bottom of the book for the three bits of card, and stick them down to the leather. Remember to leave about 1/4" 6mm between the each piece of card to allow it to open comfortably.

Then just fold over the leather and press out any wrinkles.

Step 7: Stick the Cover to the Pages.

Once you're happy with the cover, give everything a final check to make sure your all good.

Apply glue to the outside of the pages and inside of the cover and stick the two bits together. Line up the pages centrally inside the cover and press the whole lot flat between two boards, a vice, clamps or something heavy whist the glue dries.

Press the little gaps between the bits of card to for a sort of bellows so the book opens conformably.

Don't put glue on the spine of the pages though as it will stop the book opening up fully once it dries.

Step 8: All Done!

Once the glue dries of, that's it! take it out of the clamps and open it up!

Chances are you'll want to now make another because it really is that simple! Any colour paper, and pattern of paper, or combination of papers can be used!

I'd love to hear your comments, questions and thoughts. I have other Making videos and how to's on my Youtube channel so feel free to head on over and consider subscribing!

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Papercraft Contest 2017

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest 2017