Friday, March 19, 2010

DIY Refillable Leather Journal Cover

Ever went to bookstores and see those nice leather journals and think....I can do that!  :D  And then you think....maybe make it refillable too!!

Well, I tried and this was my attempt. :D

Materials I used:
  • Leather remnants that you can buy from Art stores ($5-15 depending on the size, type and quantity)
  • Leather cord (I did not have to buy one because the leather remnants bag I bought already had some)
  • Small fabric for lining
  • Old Calendar or Checkbook cover (or basically, whatever you want as the "cover flap" for your journal cover
  • Ribbon for bookmark
  • Sewing machine capable of sewing leather (make sure you use leather needle)
  • a bit of sewing skills (that's all I have really. a bit. :D)
  • cheap small notebook that you can buy from dollar stores or as cheap as $2+ in the office supplies store.  I used a 5.5 x 4.25 in notebook here with 200 sheets.

1. Measure your small notebook against the leather and cut (not the notebook, silly. the leather). Put allowance for stitching the sides.

2. Cut the fabric for lining.  This is useful if you are going to use a spiral notebook, so that the spring will not damage the leather.

3. Using an old calendar cover or checkbook cover (or whatever material you can come up with), cut flaps big enough for the notebook cover to fit.  Make sure it's not too tight (so it's harder to open the journal cover because the notebook cover is stuck in the flaps) and not too loose (so the notebook won't fall when you open the journal cover).

4. Add pockets for credit cards, etc. if you like (*note: oops...put the pocket on the other side. see the actual pictures for details)

5. Punch a hole for cord

6. Put the cord and tie at one end

7. Put a bookmark

8. Cut, measure and put the pen holder

9. Stitch together.  (Punch holes first, depending on the thickness of the leather.  You can use an awk to manually stitch together, instead of a sewing machine if leather is too thick).

And here's the actual pictures....

The remnant leather was not big enough for the measurement, as you can see in the picture below, but it's not too bad.



Flap pocket

Notebook inside left flap

Notebook inside right flap


Bookmark inside the notebook

Pen holder

Small pen inside the pen holder

Almost closed journal

Tie it shut...

Top view

And there you have own DIY Refillable Leather Journal Cover!


Enjoy making your own....(if you want to).



  1. I'll try to do something similar, but I'll make a few key changes: no spiral notebook and no leather (I'll probably use some sort of cotton)

    This is the first tutorial that even mentions lining or an inside pocket. I always wondered whether one should sew the inside page of the notebook to the leather or not. I like your option better!

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    Leather Diary