Traveler’s notebooks have gained a lot of popularity lately, because they are so versatile and can be used for bullet journaling, personal planning, art journaling, and so much more. They come in a variety of sizes, and for those who enjoy making their own journals, it is easy to make a DIY traveler’s notebook from a variety of materials.
For those who are not familiar with traveler’s notebooks, they are leather covers with elastic bands that hold one or more journals inside them. The journals may be purchased in a vast selection of papers that include watercolor papers, multi-media papers, grid papers, Tome River Papers and Moleskin Cahiers. The purpose of the traveler’s notebook depends entirely on the user. I use mine for bullet journaling, so I find one with lined paper works really well for me.
I got these really cool journals (Millie Marotta’s Tropical World Journals) that feature a really fun cover with designs for coloring from Michaels. The insides of the journals feature 64 lined pages.
I have a fun collection of traveler’s journals but none of them seem to fit this odd sized set of journals. Since I purchased quite a lot of them (they were on sale and super cute), I decided this would be a great “make it yourself” BUJO traveler’s notebook project. So this DIY traveler’s notebook has been created to fit these odd sized bullet journals.
My leather was purchased very affordably in a grab bag at a chain craft store. With a 40% off coupon it cost me less than $10.
Supplies needed to make a very simple DIY traveler’s notebook:
- leather (large enough to cover the journals)
- Charms or buttons (to use as accents)
- 2mm elastic cording (color of your choice)
Tools Used for This Project:
- Steel Leather Hole Punch (size appropriate to the elastic cording)
- Cutting Mat
- Pencil or marker;
Lay the piece of leather right side down on the cutting mat and measure the piece to fit two journals. Depending on the capacity and size of the journals you are going to use in this leather travelers notebook project, you will need to measure your journals and then cut the leather with a few added inches so it will be a bit wider to compensate for the extra width of these journals.
Find the center of the leather and mark where you want the top and bottom holes to be. I made mine slightly off set because I find that it seems to work better for me. Then using the leather punch, punch out the four holes (you can make more holes if you decided you want more than two elastics inside of the travelers notebook).
Then find the center of the spine and mark one hole. Using the leather punch, punch out the hole.
Take the elastic and measure three times the length of the spine of the leather piece. Cut it and begin to thread it through the top two holes and then down through the bottom holes. The two ends should meet at the center of the interior of the leather piece where you can tie a knot. Don’t worry; once you load the journals, you won’t really see the knot.
Since this is fairly thin leather, I decided it needed a small piece of leather for the elastic tie to give the book a little more structure. To make this, just take a left over piece of leather and cut a 2” by 1” piece of the leather. Using the leather punch, punch out a hole at each end.
Take another piece of elastic and measure the width of the folded piece of leather (or use the journal for sizing). The piece of elastic should be one and a half times the width of the journal.
Using the piece of elastic, load the piece of leather you cut in step 6 onto the elastic, then add some buttons or charms. Thread both ends into the center hole of the spine of the travelers notebook, and then tie a knot. I found that I needed to tie a double knot to keep the elastic from slipping through the hole.
To finish the journal, just open the journal up to the center of the journal and slipping it through the elastic. If you like the look of rounded corners, you can use a nickel to trace a rounded corner (or a corner punch) to cut it out.
I like how rustic this project looks with all of its imperfections. My DIY leather traveler’s notebook project piece will work well for my current needs. Later on, I may add some metal eyelets to the holes to strengthen them.
One final tip: Depending on the quality and thickness of your leather, you may need to reinforce the piece of leather if it is too thin. My piece seemed to fit just fine but after a lot of use, I may have to reinforce it with fabric to strengthen it.
If you have made your own DIY traveler’s notebook, we would love to know what materials you used. Tell us in the comments below!