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DIY Leather-Bound Journal

DIY Leather-Bound Journal

Brent travels everywhere with his journal. In his signature, physician-like chicken scratch, he jots down his to-do lists, ideas for the almanac and anything else that might pop into his head.

Also, did you know that during the first few years that we dated we kept a poetry journal at each other’s apartments? Each of us would write each other a secret poem whenever we could sneak it in. (We then read some of these poems at our wedding thirteen years later.)

This DIY leather cover project helps keep your to-do lists and romantic poetry safe from the elements. Because an unprotected notebook plus muddy fields is not a good mix.


  • Leather
  • Scissors
  • Notebook
  • Rotary Knife Cutter
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Leather Punch


Measure the notebook. Ours measured at 5.8 by 8.3 inches (A5 Style size). Double your measurement, keeping in mind that the leather has to cover both sides of the notebook. Then add 3/4 inch to the edges of the measurements. Now make your markings based on your measurements on the rough/underside of the leather.

Leather, a pencil, and a rotary cutter.

Cut the leather using the rotary knife. Make sure to cut on a surface that is not important. The rotary knife is strong and will penetrate onto any surface. We recommend using a cutting board.

Hand cutting leather with a tool.


Fold the cut leather in half lengthwise to test the size of the cut. Place the notebook inside and center it in the covering. Grab the pencil again and make two markings on the top half of the book at the spine, then repeat at the bottom. Using the leather punch, punch the 4 total holes. This is for the elastic to hold the notebook in the cover. Make one additional mark and punch centered about 1 inch on the backside of the cover.

A hand holding a hole punch and a leather sheet.

Cut elastic to the length of the notebook then add 2 inches. Now loop and knot the elastic in the inside of the cover at the top holes. Place the notebook into the cover again and open it at the center. Run the elastic down the inside of the spine of the notebook ending at the bottom two holes to again loop and knot the elastic. Make sure the elastic is taught so the notebook stays secured.

A hand holding a string inside an open notebook.

The hole on the back cover is to knot an elastic loop in it. This elastic is your closure string. It should be the length of the whole notebook lengthwise wrapped around. Keep in mind that the elastic should be taught again and not loose.

A hand pulling thread through leather.

Cut the elastic to size, pinch the two ends together, loop and knot it in the inside of the notebook again.

A hand looping thread through a piece of leather.

Test your size by closing the notebook. Now you’re travel ready.

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