Introduction: Leather Book Cover

About: I am a maker. As founder of MakerBlog, I enjoy sharing my creations with others.

I recently got a new Bible, and it has a blue trutone cover. From experience, I know that the trutone cover looks nice for a couple months, and then the cover starts to bend backward, wrinkle, and scuff up quickly. In addition, I wasn't too fond of the blue cover, and since I didn't have the choice to get the Bible in leather, I decided to design my own leather cover. My goal was to make a leather cover that would not only protect the trutone binding, but also would be pleasing to the eye. Hopefully, I completed both of these :). In this Instructable, I will show you how to make a generic leather Bible cover; however, this cover in not limited to Bibles but could be used for whatever book you wanted.

Note: I apologize for some of the blurry pictures, I took extra care to take nice pictures throughout the project, but at the end, I realized that after they were resized on my computer they looked somewhat blurry.

If you enjoy this Instructable, please consider voting for me in the Leather Contest. Thanks and enjoy!

Step 1: Materials and Patterns

You'll need:

  • Razer knife
  • 2 two-pronged lacing needles
  • Leather. The thinner the leather, the easier it will be to work. I used some goatskin leather(1-3oz.) that I picked up from Hobby Lobby.
  • Straight leather chisel or hole punch. I only had a 4-prong. You can do it with just a 4-prong, but I highly recommend getting yourself a set of chisels/punches. It will make the project a (w)hole lot easier (pun intended).
  • Lacing (the lacing should be about the same size as the tips of you're chisel. Anything thicker will be hard to pull through the hole, and anything thinner won't fill the hole). Try to pick a color that either matches your leather or is a nice contrast to it. If you don't know what color to choose, go find a woman who can help.

Next, unless you're are extremely confident in your scissor skills, I highly recommend making a pattern out of some scrap paper. This step requires patience and a lot of trial-and-error. In fact, if this is the step you're tempted to skip, DON'T! This step is boring and tedious, but it is what separates the "okay" from the "amazing." If it is any comfort, this is the hardest step for me because I want to start cutting out the leather and lacing it together. Take your time. You'll be thankful you did.

At this point, sharing my pattern with you won't do you any good because chances are you're book isn't the same size as mine. However, I did add a 1/2" around the pattern to allow wiggle room for the book and lacing.

Step 2: Cutting and Prepping

Now, this is the step some of you have been drooling over. However, before you start slicing up your leather, double check to make sure that your book fits nicely in you paper pattern. Alright? Fits? Good! Take your pattern and razer knife and starting cutting away! Hopefully, I don't need to explain how to cut out your pattern. Straight lines are key!

Once you've got your pieces cut out, score the edge about a 1/8"-1/4" in from the edge. I scored the edge with a makeshift compass that I had set to 1/8" and that worked well for me.

Finally, take your chisel/punch and start in any corner and follow the line you just scored. I found it helpful to lay out the three pieces how they would actually be when I laced them together and then start in one corner and consistently work from that corner. Important: You have to stick with whatever corner you start in, otherwise your holes won't line up properly, and you'll end up with a lopsided cover. For example, I started in the top left corner (on the smooth side of the leather) for the skinny piece, so I also started in the top left corner (rough side) for the big piece. For the right skinny piece, I noticed where my last hole on the top right of the big piece was, eyeballed it, and started on the top right of the skinny right piece and worked my way back to the left side of the right skinny piece.

If you read this and were super confused by it, take a couple scraps of leather and do a little trial and error. Practice punching the holes so that they line up. Or, if you can, hold the two pieces together while you punch them both, you can try that, but I couldn't figure out a good way to keep them from slipping (let me know in the comments if you come up with a good way of doing this). Once again, how your holes line up, draws the line between the "okay" and the "amazing."

Step 3: Double Loop Lacing

If you want to, before you lace anything together, now is the time to finish the leather with an oil of your choice. For me, I wanted to stick with the raw look, but I may trying something else in the future.

Rather than try to explain this lacing method, there is an excellent video by Tandy Leather that explains the Double Loop. I used two pieces of wood and two clamps to make a makeshift holder while I laced (see pictures). At the end, however, the wood left small lines in the leather because of the sharp corners, so be aware of that if you try that method.

Step 4: Finishing Up!

At this point, you're probably sick and tired of doing double loop lacing, but hopefully it was worth it. I'll let you take it from here. You can either leave the leather plain, or you can do some fancy stamping, wood burning, or any other artistic design you can think of. In the end, I'm happy with how this turned out, just be careful that you avoid any blemishes in the leather. I was so concerned with not wasting leather that I accidentally made a stain part of my cover (last picture). I'm still figuring out a discrete way of hiding it. Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

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