How to Make a Rugged Leather Journal Covercomments (5) June 14th, 2013
I think anything made from leather seems so authentic-whether the hides have been buffed to remove any imperfections or they're left in a more natural condition. I don't pretend to be an expert when it comes to working with leather, but I find it's really easy to use if I keep the designs simple. A journal cover is a simple project that will let you get your feet wet and you can make it from scraps. I used a piece of upholstery leather that I picked up from the scrap bin at Carroll Leathers in Boone, NC. They manufacture all sorts of leather products including motorcycle apparel and accessories, western wear, and furniture. You can contact them from their website regarding scraps and closeouts. Additionally, check out the Tandy Leather Factory for scrap bundles or whole skins, which are generally priced by the square foot.
Here's what you need to make this project:
- A blank book or journal (I used a simple composition notebook [9-3/4 inches x 7-1/2 inches] available most anywhere. It's plain, inexpensive, holds a lot of notes, and can be easily replaced in the cover when the current one gets filled up-I even found an eco-friendly version at Staples made from sugarcane-based paper.)
- A piece of leather large enough to cover the journal plus enough for the overlaps and the wrap-around strap
- Thread (I recommend a #12 weight cotton that looks sturdy and shows up on the leather.)
- Rotary cutter
- Teflon presser foot or roller foot that glides easily over the leather
- Leather needle, optional (I find a regular needle works just fine.)
- Paper clips or bulldog clips
- Some rubber cement
|Find more journal projects:
• Make a Woven Scrap Journal
• Make a Coffee Table-Worthy Scrapbook
• Make a String Quilted Journal
1. Open the journal, place it on the wrong side of the leather, and mark a line at the top and bottom edges. Trim the top and bottom edges 1/4 in. beyond the marked lines. Be sure the leather piece is long enough to allow for the inside overlap that holds the top cover and the overlap that folds to the front when the book is closed. Use the natural edge of the skin to create the edge finish for the top overlap, trimming if necessary by beveling your scissors as you cut.
2. From the wrong side, trim the left edge, allowing 3 to 4 inches for the overlap that will hold the top cover. Fold in and hold in place with paper clips.
3. Cut a strip 2 to 3 inches wide to hold the back cover in place. Use the rubber cement to "glue baste" it in place along the top and bottom edges.
4. Turn to the right side and sew 1/4 inch from the long edges and the folded end, using a 4mm to 5mm stitch length.
5. Using a rotary cutter, trim close to the stitching on the long edges and the folded edge.
6. Cut a 1/2-inch-wide strip of leather, about 45 inches long, for the wrap-around strap.
7. Make two vertical slits on the top overlap, 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch apart. Slip the strap through and make a knot to secure it in place.
8. Insert the journal into the cover. Wrap the strap around a couple of times and tuck it in the back to hold in place.
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