EDC Leather Notebook

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A notebook that goes everywhere with you should be used for everything. On one page of my notebook I have an Ira Glass quote, my upcoming flight information, and a grocery list. On the next page are plans for my last ‘Ible. I couldn’t have done that in a Moleskine notebook. I feel like anything I write in a Moleskine has to be perfect; the ideas have to be complete. An EDC (everyday carry) notebook shouldn’t be something pristine. It needs to be something you can scribble notes in and rip pages out of.

This notebook is infinitely customizable.

  • There’s a template that can be sized up or down.
  • You can make it with many different materials,
  • It can have any number of pages,
  • And close with any kind of fastener.

Why else would you want to make your own leather notebook? You will never have to buy another one! The pages are replaceable. I cut mine from A4 printer paper. I have carried the same notebook for 5 years and replaced the paper 6 times. I keep the old pages that I want to save in a small binder.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Materials:

  • Leather scrap (6” x 9 ¾” for attached template)
  • 2 ft. Leather cord (I used 4mm square latigo)
  • 1 Snap (optional)
  • 1 Rivet (optional)

Tools:

  • Scissors or razor
  • Hammer (only if using snaps and rivets)
  • Hole punch
  • Permanent marker

Step 2: Trace Pattern on Leather

Using a permanent marker (or a pen if it will mark the leather), trace around the outside of the template. Be sure to mark the holes.

Step 3: Cut Leather and Punch Holes

Using a sharp pair of scissors (or a razor with a straight edge), cut out the pattern. If using scissors make long and straight cuts.

Punch the holes in the leather using a rotary punch or similar tool.

Save a 3"x 3/4" strip to make the strap that will keep the notebook closed.

Step 4: Rivet Strap to Cover (optional)

Align holes, insert rivet, cap, and tap down with hammer.

Step 5: Add Snaps (optional)

The female part of snap will attach to the strap. The male end attaches to the cover. Use the setting tool (which comes with every package of snaps) to attach the snaps.

Step 6: Lace Notebook

Its time to lace the notebook! But first, we must cut the paper.

I cut down normal A4 (8 1/2" x 11") sheets of paper. The pages in this book are 4" x 5 1/2" so you should get four out of each sheet. Using a paper cutter and a hole puncher, I made enough paper for about six notebooks (~700 pages) in about 20 minutes. If you have access to a drill press, punching the holes would take almost no time at all!

On to the lacing.

Start by tying an overhand knot in the end of the leather cord. To help thread through the holes, trim the end of the cord at an angle. If necessary, use an awl to stretch the holes. Follow the captions in the photos (you will have to click on the photos for some of the captions to be visible).

For extra credit, round the corners of the notebook and strap with scissors.

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Notebook!

Please post pictures of your notebooks in the comments! I would love to see what you design.

Leatherworking Contest

Runner Up in the
Leatherworking Contest

5 People Made This Project!

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44 Discussions

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Samsonknight123

2 years ago

just put new lacing in it and patched up a hole I love this little notebook

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jogrebeSamsonknight123

Reply 5 weeks ago

Nice to see that I was not the only one to modify the design from being 3 holes to 2 holes for ease of making the pages. Thanks for uploading the picture, you helped me figure out a better way of tying it with 2 holes than the one that I initially used.

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The PizzaGuy

2 years ago

How can I enlarge the size of the book? Like you know, to your standard sized book?

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jaimelicious

2 years ago

Love the 'ible - I love how flexible / durable this looks; most leather-covered notebooks are stiff and heavy.

On an unrelated note, where did you get your wrist splint from?! Mine are all boring beige...

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Yoshinokjaimelicious

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks! I hope you make a notebook. Be sure to post it when you do!

I think my local drugstore (Kinney Drugs) had that splint. I don't suppose you have them in the UK? Also, I saw from your profile your an archer! You should check my other instructable out and build yourself a bow!

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Yoshinokfreementia

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I like to attach my pen to the pages inside the cover and then just close the notebook on it. I found that when I had it clipped to the outside of the cover it often snagged and tangled on things I put it near.

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knate2347

4 years ago

I loved your idea for a refillable journal so I gave it a go. I modified it slightly for my own tastes.

I used 6 oz veg tan from a previous project to give it a little more stiffness when sketching on my lap, but loosened the fibers a bit to give it some flex in my bag or crammed in my oversized pocket. After a good oiling and a bit too much wax I laced the pages in with some waxed thread, added a simple keeper strap, and a whittled stick from a bush in the backyard.

Turned out to be a great little book for sketching on the back porch or in front of the camp fire.

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Showler

4 years ago

I made one of my own. I used a shoelace instead of leather chord. Also the paper is notecards and I used a button to close it instead of rivets.

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The Rambler

4 years ago on Introduction

This is awesome. I made a leather journal as well but I actually bound the pages. I like yours better because you're right, I feel like I can't write anything in it because it's there for good. Now I want to make one where I can rip pages out.

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aclevidence

4 years ago

I would have aged the paper. But other then that I like this!

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AbDuCt

4 years ago on Introduction

This is such a cool idea! Have you ever tried to add some rigidity to these somehow by maybe sewing in cardboard or plastic so they are not as floppy? Also have you tried to brand or emboss these? I was thinking about trying to make a mini branding out of wire and heating it up to see if I could burn a design into a project like this. Have you tried anything like this? Thanks again and good job!

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YoshinokAbDuCt

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I have not tried sewing in anything to stiffen them. The stiffness is actually what turned me off to Moleskines. I can tuck these notebooks anywhere, I like that they are flexible. As far as branding goes on the leather, yes. I have tried it. I think making a solid stamp and striking with a hammer is a bit more effective than a hot brand. Heat on leather can often make things contract/expand in ways that will make the surface pucker.

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AbDuCtYoshinok

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Do you have any photos of the stamped leather? Also how much strength do the pages have? Would they tear and fall apart if you are a bit to rough with them or are they fairly sturdy unless you mean to tear them out? One of my concerns is the pages coming dislodged or torn by accident if I am a bit to rough with it. Thanks for the reply!

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YoshinokAbDuCt

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I unfortunately don't have photos of the stamped leather. As for the strength of the pages, well you are not limited to printer paper. The printer paper is more than durable enough for my needs. I am rough on my notebooks all the time; they sometimes get used as improvised door stops, trivets, and frisbees.