I absolutely love handmade gifts. They have such a fun and personal touch. The recipient knows that a lot of time and thought went into the gift specifically for them. However, I honestly have a hard time making handmade gifts for men. Men are so much harder to make things for…they don’t need knick knacks, jewelry or bows. This is why I am showcasing this amazing handmade leather journal! This is a fantastic gift for anyone, but especially for the men in your life!
I know my husband or teenage son would love this.
How to make a Leather Journal (Handmade Gift DIY)
Step 1 – Cut the leather to size.
My notebook measured 8 inches tall, 5 inches wide and 1 inch deep. The journal also needs a 2 inch flap to fold over the notebook to clasp in place. Take down the measurements of your journal. Now add ½ inch to the height, for mine it’s 8.5 inches. Add the width and depth twice and add 2 inches for the flap, mine is 14 inches. So cut your leather with the rotary cutter and ruler on the cutting mat, mine was cut at 8.5 by 14 inches. Doing the math makes it easy to duplicate this pattern for any size journal!
Step 2: The Strip for the Pen Clasp.
This is a genius way to keep your book closed tight and always have a pen or pencil with you! I used a Shaeffer Fountain Pen, because I had one on hand and it’s so cool. But any pen or pencil will do.
One side of the cover will have 2 slits for the pen to weave through, the flap will have a square cut to reveal the slit part. So start by wrapping the leather around your notebook and see how it looks. Place the pen on the flap and see about where you would like the pen to hang. Slightly above the half line is a good place. Then open the flap up and make 2 lines, half inch apart and about 1 inch wide, and half inch away from the edge of the leather. Use a hobby knife to cut these lines carefully. Weave your pen or pencil through the strip and roll it around in place to help loosen the leather up a bit. Leather stretches, so this is the perfect way to keep your journal tight and the strip loose enough to fit the pen.
Step 3: Hole on the Flap for the Pen Clasp.
Now the flap side needs a hole cut in it. The hole needs to line up with the strip we just made on the other side. Fold the flap over the top of the journal and mark about where it lines up. I just eyeballed this…but measuring the same distance down, across and away from the edge should make it perfect. Now use the hobby knife to cut a square out. Now fold the flap over the journal and tug the strip in the hole and weave in your pen.
Step 4: Round the Corners.
Next is to round off the corners of the flap. Open up the leather cover and place your small glass on the corner of the flap, trace the curved line and then cut it with the hobby knife, repeat for the other side. Only 2 corners need to be cut, just the flap corners.
Step 5: Glue the Notebook to the Leather.
So far it is awesome! You can leave it just like that and just use it as a cover for your journals, that way it is refillable and reusable. Or you can take it one step further and glue it in place. When your book is full, you can remove it and glue in another one. It may have some glue on it, but rubber cement rolls off fairly easily. You decide. Rubber cement is easy to use. You apply it to both surfaces and then stick it together and it’s done. So open up the book and apply rubber cement to the top of the notebook and the inside of the leather cover…do not put any glue where the strip for the pen is though. Let both surfaces dry and then press them firmly together in place. Then fold over the flap and insert the pen. This will prevent that part of the leather to stick to the book. Repeat the gluing process for the backside. Do not put any glue on the binding edge or the flap.
Fold over the flap and replace the pen. Perfect way to keep your journal and favorite pen linked!
Great for sketch journals, lined journals, or planners! Fabulous for list makers and note takers!
Now give this fabulous leather journal to a friend, family member or keep it for yourself! Maybe make a few of them so you have plenty to share and one to keep! This would be fun to embellish, add charms, a monogram, a lock or whatever you can imagine!
Thanks for letting me show you this fabulous leather journal today! Again, I am Natalie Shaw and you can find me over at Doodlecraftblog.com.
Please check out my blog as well for more fun crafts, DIY’s and handmade gift ideas!
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And this adorable Pocket Sized Fishing Set makes a great gift too!
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