This leather journal cover can be made for all sizes and shapes, you only have to adjust the measurements to fit the size.
It will take about three or four hours to make but there are wait times that are not included in this process so it could take longer depending dry times.
Step 1: MATERIAL LIST
1. Hard Cover Journal, book or whatever, any size.
2. Veg Tan Lether or any leather you choose to make this with. I get my hides from Tandy Leather. (My journal is 8" high x 11 1/2" wide fully open so I needed a piece 9" high x 14" wide for my cover and 9" high x 8" wide for my inside pockets. My overall measurement was 9" high by 22" wide).
3. Straight edge heavy ruler to use for cutting the leather. I use metal rulers as they are heavy and don't move as much.
4. Box Cutter with new blade.
5. Rotary hole punch. I use the heavy duty one from Tandy.
6. Stitching gauge for spacing.
7. Tandy 22.9mm waxed thread (any color you have, I used black to show the stitches better).
8. Tandy stitching needle.
9. Snow proof weatherproofing and soft cloth to apply.
10. Last but not least, make sure you wash your hands when working with leather. Many times, the oil from your hands or anything on your surface can leave unwanted marks on your project.
Step 2: SIZING AND CUTTING THE LEATHER
1. Laying your journal on your piece of leather add 1" to the height of the journal. Now open the journal, leaving it in the same position and add 1 1/2" to the length. My cover ended up being 9" x 14". For my inside pockets I cut another piece 9" x 8" then cut it in half, one 9" X 4" pocket for each side (see Step 3).
2. Making sure you have at least two very straight edges mark your measurements lightly in pencil on the good side of the leather. Make sure you measure twice as the saying goes.
3. Before you cut your leather, fold the leather around the journal to make sure it fits. Fold the leather over the book and bring it to the measured pencil line, it will seem to big but it isn't.
4. Wash your hands. Using your very straight heavy ruler and your very sharp box cutter, cut your leather slowly, now is not the time to hurry. Going slowly will insure a nice clean accurate cut. Be sure to put pressure on your ruler as you go to hold it steady while cutting. I know, my ruler is scary looking but I live in a very humid coastal area and EVERYTHING rusts!
5. Once you have made your cuts, check to make sure that all edges are straight, adjust if necessary.
Step 3: CUTTING INSIDE POCKETS FOR THE COVER
1. For my size journal I cut a piece 9" x 8" and then cut it in half so I had two 9" x 4" pieces, one for each side of the inside cover.
Step 4: MARKING YOUR LEATHER AND PUNCHING THE HOLES
1. I use a stitching gauge but there are several tools available for marking the stitch holes. I use a sharp needle to pre poke marks to make it easier to make my holes. I made 5 holes per inch but you can do whatever style you like.
2. On the inside pocket area, place your gauge and mark your leather starting with the short edges, mark all four short edges.
3. Using the smallest diameter punch, punch holes in the four corners going through the cover and the pocket at the same time as shown in the photo.
4. Using waxed thread (I use Tandy waxed thread) tie all eight corners tight to hold the cover and pocket in place so they don't slip while you mark the long edges and then punch the holes.
5. Using your stitching gauge, mark the long edges on the inside pockets and mark with a needle.
6. Using a ruler, mark a straight line lightly with a pencil (see photo) so when you punch your holes it makes it easier to keep a nice straight line.
7. Going slowly, punch all your holes going through the cover and pocket, CONSTANTLY making sure your edges are even and the holes are going through the cover and pocket evenly and not getting to close to the edge.
8. At this point, insert your journal into the cover and make sure it fits and you can open and close the cover. It will seem to big but it will work out fine.
Step 5: STITCHING YOUR COVER AND POCKET TOGETHER
1. Time to Stitch! As shown in the photo, remove the stitch from one inside corner to start stitching. I used two Tandy stitching needles and 22.9mm waxed thread which I prefer because the thread doesn't slip or come undone.
2. Cut a 30" piece of waxed thread and thread the ends through a needle so both ends have a needle as shown in the photo. You will have to cut 44" of waxed thread for the longer edges.
3. Going through the first hole (the one you removed the stitch from) draw both ends up and even. Crossing over go through the same hole until you have four stitches. This will secure that inside edge and keep it strong.
4. Going on to the next hole cross over your needles again and repeat until you get to the bottom of the row (See photo).
5. On the last stitch in that row, go all the way through twice and then again (you will have four outside stitches) only bringing the needle to the inside of the pocket with both ends (see photo) and tie a double knot. Leave your long ends of thread until all sewing is done. Remove your needles and repeat on all short edges first and long edges last. Use any stitch you like on your journal, this is just the one I chose for this one.
6. Once you are finished stitching your pockets and cover together insert your journal. To do this, you will have to bend the cover backwards and the journal back to back and slide the front and back cover into the pockets. Flatten the Journal and open and close it to make sure it all works. Once you are happy with it, tie off all your lacing in double knots and clip them close.
Step 6: FINISHING THE LEATHER JOURNAL COVER
1. Remove the Journal from the cover.
2. Time to wet set your cover. Take your cover to the sink and completely soak it down. Pat it dry, fold it in half making sure that the edges are even and set it outside in the sun or in a warm area to completely dry. You might want to turn it over from time to time to allow it to dry on all sides.
3. Once the cover is completely dry you will want to seal it with an all weather protectant. Using a soft cloth, rub the protectant into the leather on all sides, inside the pockets as well. Again, set it outside in the sun and allow the protectant to soak in and dry.
4. Now is your opportunity to stamp the leather with a name, initials, the word Journal, or just leave it blank. I usually sign my pieces and stamp them with my logo.
You are now done! It makes a great gift or use it for yourself.
Let me know if I have missed anything or if you have any questions.....
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