DIY Leather Journal

This leather memory book would make a great Valentine’s Day gift for the special man in your life.  I made this little leather book several months ago for my man before he left on deployment to Afghanistan (he’s home now, thankfully!).  I filled this masculine leatherbound journal with pictures, sketches, and notes to remind him of life back home.  Scrapbooks aren’t the most manly of items, but I think this little book does a pretty good job of disguising the “softer side” hidden inside.

The book chronicles our life together — each page is a collage of pictures highlighting the best memories: our wedding day, our first house, our sweet puppy, and many others.  Memories to make him smile when he’s far away and missing the comforts of home.

The book itself is surprisingly simple to construct.  You’ll need a piece of leather approximately 8″x20″, several sheets of cardstock paper (depending on how thick you want your book to be), and some heavy duty upholstery thread.  The measurements of the book I made are 4″x6″.  I used a scrap of leather left over from a repair to our couch (long story, but it involved a puppy chewing on something he wasn’t suppossed to… need I say more?). 

First, decide how many pages you’d like your book to have, then cut the paper to size, and fold approximately six sheets in half.  I did four sections of 12 sheets (six 6″x8″ sheets folded in half) for a total of 48 pages. 

Once the pages are folded in sections, use a strong needle to carefully poke two holes in the crease, each 1 inch from the top and bottom.  Punch holes from the inside of the crease out.  Then, carefully measure the leather to determine where the spine will be (varies based on size of book) and use the needle to punch holes in the leather.  To bind the book, sew the pages together using your thick upholstery thread.  Start at either end of the second section of pages. 

Tie a knot in the end of your thread and pull it through, but don’t thread it through the pages yet (you’ll catch these at the end).  Then move to the outside, then down the spine, then back toward the middle, up toward where you started, then over toward the other edge.  You get the idea (the diagram below will help).  You’ll end up sewing the middle twice, but that’s good because it adds extra strength. 

Decorate the pages with pictures, maps, mementos, sketches, words, or just leave it blank as a journal.  Look at that cute little puppy – even my tough Marine can’t help but smile at that!