Thursday, April 19, 2012

Handbound {faux} leather journal.

I usually need a new journal about every six months to a year. I used to just buy journals (this was my favorite store-bought one ever...I got it right after high school graduation), but I'm sort of picky about what I like and I could rarely find one that was perfect and in my price range. For example, I don't like lined journals- I like blank ones.

So I started getting interested in bookbinding. I think it's incredible that you can basically make a book using only leather, paper, and thread (and a tool to punch holes with). No glue required. You can make books as simple or as elaborate as you want, and you can make a journal exactly like you want. And there's just something special about writing in a book that you made yourself.

I haven't quite made one that I'm perfectly happy with, but this is the closest one so far. :) I think this is my third handmade journal, and my sixth handbound book.

I used fake leather for the outside and fake suede for the inside. I'm not one of those people who has anything against using real leather...I would have preferred it. This synthetic stuff is kind of yucky to sew (the wrong side of it is terrible) and it frays in a weird way. But Hobby Lobby is really limited on their leather and they don't sell the size pieces I needed. The tie closure is real leather, though.

It wasn't pleasant to sew, but it does look nice with its fake embossed design.

The binding. I just used the waxed thread (from the HL leather section) that I always use. I learned how to do this kind of binding from the video tutorials here.

The journal is about 6.5 x 9 inches closed. I finally remembered to do the cover flap on this one! I always forget to account for that when I'm measuring. :) Actually, I still accidentally cut the fabric a little small this time, but I had enough left over to redo it.

There's a little pocket on the inside cover. I also cut the tail of the binding thread long enough to make a bookmark, like usual.

There are six signatures, and each one has six pages folded in half. I use this art paper for the pages.

Making the book was fairly simple. I've thought about doing a tutorial on how to make a book like this...would anybody be interested in that? Let me know in the comments, and if enough people are interested, I'll see what I can do. :) I'm itching to do a real tutorial here on the blog, and I have a couple of ideas, but I'm sort of undecided so far.

Until next time,


  1. You never, ever stop amazing me. This looks like something you'd buy at Barnes and Noble for like $50. And it looks like a book that you'd save for something special, that will be filled up with wonderful words. So pretty. I don't know if I'd ever try to actually make this (because I have no savvy for this sort of thing), but I would love to read more about your process!

  2. Of course I would like a tutorial! Although, I doubt if I could do it ;) It's soooo amazingly gorgeous! You truly amaze me.

  3. I'd enjoy reading a tutorial on how to make a book like this one. I love books, so being able to make my own would be wonderful. Thanks! (PS We were thinking about you and your family this weekend. I hope it was a lovely celebration.)

  4. I would love a tutorial. Your journal is beautiful. I've made some books by hand, but nothing too involved, I'd like to step it up a notch and make one from scratch. Thanks for the great pictures, hope to see more.

  5. I would love a tutorial for bookbinding! Your journal is sooo pretty!!

  6. Kristin! That book is gorgeous! My boyfriend and I make alot of paper but I've never made a book and would love to see a basic tutorial!

  7. Woah woah woah woah woahhhhhhh! This is AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS!!! You haaaaave to sell ones just like this. I NEED ONE. Seriously.

  8. Kristin this is beautiful. I am interested in giving my son a special journal to write his poetry in. Please let me know if you would consider selling your journals.:-)

  9. that is so cool yes teach us how to make one please!

    1. You can find the tutorial here: .

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