Introduction: Rainbow Leather Bound Notebook
This notebook is fairly easy to make although it can take some time. It's doable even without all the tools I've used so it's great for beginners who might not have all the necessary tools to hand.
- Leather needle (a strong embroidery needle would also work)
- Awl (you can get away with not having one, but would need a compass and some determination on the covers)
- Edge slicker (as I didn't have a bone folder, a ruler would also work to make creases)
- Craft knife (I started by just using a penknife, either will work)
- Ruler (I had a 40cm one on hand, anything longer than the width of your paper will work)
- Cutting mat (or any other surface you don't mind scoring)
- Leather (I use off cuts from upholstery leather which you can get off Amazon)
- White waxed thread (unwaxed works as well)
- Rainbow coloured card
- Rainbow embroidery thread
- 3mm pulp board (I used the back of an old sketchbook)
- 16 gauge copper wire
Step 1: Arrange the Card
Tear out the card from the pack and arrange into an order you are happy with.
Step 2: Cut and Fold Card
Mark out the centre line of your piece of card and cut along it. Fold each half in half again and put one folded section in the other. This is now a signature.
Step 3: Repeat for Other Sheets
Repeat Step 2 for the other sheets of card and set aside for now.
Step 4: Cut the Board
Measure out two rectangles which are 1cm longer and wider than your folded card and cut them out of the board.
Step 5: Cut the Leather
Using a board, mark around the outside with a pen on the leather. Cut about 15mm from this line and trim the corners. Repeat for the other board.
Step 6: Glue the Covers
Using the PVA, glue the edges of the leather to the pulp board. You may need to trim the corners down further to get the edges to be flush with each other.
Step 7: Cut and Assemble the Strap
Cut out a piece of leather about 15-20mm wide and 600mm long. I tend to cut the longest length I can, you can always trim the length down later.
Bend the copper wire into a two rectangles the same width as the strap with the join in the middle of one of the long sides.
Step 8: Attach the Strap
Loop the end of the strap through the two copper rectangles and fold it back on itself. Position this then in the middle of the cover on one edge.
To attach it to the cover, I tend to punch two holes with the awl for the first stitch to secure it first before punching the rest of the holes. You will need to punch through both the leather and the board. In total you need to punch 10 sets of holes, just do a regular sewing stitch between the holes switching out the colour every two stitches. I sew it this way so the leather lies flat on the board rather than sticking up with thread underneath it.
Step 9: Finish the Covers
Cut a pieces of card the same dimensions as one of your signatures (1cm less in length and width than the cover) and glue them to the inside of the finished covers to hide the board. I recommend then placing these under a heavy book or something similar whilst they dry so they don't wrinkle.
Step 10: Mark Out and Punch the Signatures
Mark out 5 evenly spaced holes on the signatures with the end holes 1cm from the edge. The quickest way is to measure out on one signature then stack it with the rest and use a ruler to draw vertical lines down the other signatures. Using an awl, make a hole at each of these marks, making sure the signatures stay aligned.
(This is the start of the binding method, I recommend 'DIY Kettle Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial' by Sea Lemon on YouTube for more detailed instructions on this part)
Step 11: Start Stiching the Cover
Mark out and punch 5 hole on the covers the same distance apart as on the signatures and about 5mm from the long edge, making sure they are central to the cover. Measure out a length of waxed thread by running it back and forth the length of a signature 8 or so times (you will need to cut more thread but this is a more manageable length).
Knot one end of the tread and pass it through the first hole. Do a running stitch along the cover until you reach the last hole. Go back into the previous hole the continue the running stitch until you get back to the first hole. Go through the first hole then loop the tread around itself to create a knot and pull this back through the hole.
Step 12: Sew the First Signature
The thread should now be on the inside of the cover. Take your first signature and sew through the first hole then out the second. Loop the thread through the thread underneath then go back into the same hole and out the next. Repeat this process until you get to the end.
When you get to the end of the signature, loop around the thread below then instead of going back into the same hole, go into the first hole on the next signature. Repeat this for the other signatures.
(I really do recommend watching this video as you get to see the movements more clearly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O4kFTOEh6k& )
Step 13: Adding More Thread
When you run out of thread, just cut another length and knot it to the previous one using a simple knot in the signature. Make sure to trim the excess lengths down.
Step 14: Attach the Front Cover
When you get to the end of the last signature, loop around the one below then go up through the first hole on the front cover. Continue on like you did with the other signatures, coming out of one hole, looping around the thread below then going back into the same hole. The only difference with this is that you can see the thread instead of it being hidden within a signature.
Step 15: Finishing the Stitching
When you come to the end of the cover, come back through the last hole and create a knot around the string like you did with the back cover. Pull this knot back through the hole so it's on the inside of the cover and trim it down.
Step 16: Trim the Strap
Wrap the strap around and secure it and then trim it to whatever length you want.
Step 17: Finished!
Now you should have a rainbow leather bound notebook! Feel free to leave any questions you have on this tutorial, I will try and answer them :)
Runner Up in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest
3 years ago
I really just love this notebook! The colorful pages are so fun and the little touch of rainbow on the front is just perfect :D
3 years ago
Love this idea
3 years ago
3 years ago
Gorgeous looking book!
3 years ago
Very cool DIY notebook! Thanks for sharing. :)