Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book

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I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.

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I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:

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They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial

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Supplies

Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!

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If you want dot gridded paper, lined paper or blank paper with punch guides, download the free printable here. Cut your paper in half so it measures 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. You will make 2 signatures with 8 sheets.

Fold your paper in half, creasing in the middle with your finger, then creasing outward from the middle with the bone folder.

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Fold both signatures, now you’re ready for punching holes!

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You can use a regular hole punch, but if you’re looking for an awesome punch and rivet/eyelet/snap setter all in one, you’ll want this one (c/o WRM, and I LOVE IT!!!). Use code LOVE at checkout for 20% off. 

You’ll want to measure 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch in from each end and punch a hole along the fold. Download printable dot grid, lined and blank sheets with these hole guidelines here.

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No accurate measuring required, though. Just take the center page of your first punched signature and nest it into the second. Use those holes as a guideline for punching the second set of holes.

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Now you’re ready to prep the cover!

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Cut out a piece of leather, felt or reinforced fabric to 5.5 inches x 11 inches. Line up the edge of the signatures and the edge of the leather up and wrap leather around. You should have some extra on the bottom.

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Pick up the pieces and feel for an indent of your paper holes.

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Mark that indent with your pencil or marker and punch. Most hole punches will go through leather no sweat. Punch those holes.

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On the end that sticks out a little extra, cut two slits about 1/2 an inch long and 1/4 an inch apart in the middle of that section. (see pattern for slits) Be sure to use a protective mat as you cut!

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Cut a length of cording about 18 – 24 inches long. Thread from the outside of the leather to the inside of one of your signatures. Leave a 3-4 inch tail on the outside.

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Thread through the bottom hole back to the outside cover.

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Pull cording tight.

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Thread the cording back through the first hole, but into the middle of the second signature.  istillloveyou-bookbinding-easy-tutorial-leather-book-15

Thread back to the bottom and the outside cover.

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Pull cording towards the top and bottom of the book to make sure it’s all tight.

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tie a square knot and trim the ends to about 1/4-1/2 inch long.

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Cut a strip of leather 16+ inches by 1/2 inch. Alternatively, you could use a structured velvet or grosgrain ribbon.

Thread the leather through the slits, leaving a 1/2 inch tail on the inside of the cover. Glue down. I used Barge’s leather cement, but PVA or e6000 will work, too.

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Wrap around your book and trim the ends as needed.

istillloveyou-bookbinding-easy-tutorial-leather-book-20 Download the printable insert pages here:

 

 

Download the printable cover template (to go with the above pages) here:

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
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    1. Sylvia says:

      I’m in love with this and want to come over and make a dozen. Thanks for the tutorial.

    2. Kristin H says:

      Fabulous! I may have to go make one for Evie’s teacher right now. I totally forgot about teacher gifts…

    3. Okay, LOVE this tutorial! And goodness knows, I’ve got leather. :) Thank you so much, Melissa and have a wonderful holiday!

    4. Mae says:

      I love this tutorial. Such a great gift to give!

      Mae

    5. Autumn says:

      Beautiful! What a fantastic idea – I’ve never worked with leather before but I think I need to start. Thanks for the tutorial!

    6. Samantha says:

      Very pretty journals.

    7. Rebecca says:

      Thanks for the tutorial. Where do you get your leather?

    8. Robin says:

      What kind of leather would you recommend for this project. It looks like it should be nice and soft/supple. I’m not a leather aficionado, so what would you think? It makes my mind to whirl, looking at everything that Tandy offers.

    9. […] 7. This leather bound journal only takes ten minutes to make.Source : melissaesplin.com […]

    10. Cheryl says:

      Just like to say thank you for the tutorial!:) school is starting soon and I’d be needing pretty notebooks to motivate me while doing revision!:) thank you so much!:) also, I’ll probably be doing a short post on my finished item and I’ll link it back to you!:)) thank you so much once again!!:)

    11. Marilyn Z says:

      Soooo clever. I have a beautiful lambskin skirt that doesn’t fit and this is the perfect Christmas project…or maybe I will just make them for myself because I know they will be appreciated then.

    12. […] DIY leather notebooks for wordy pairs. Get the full tutorial over on melissaesplin.com. […]

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