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Leather DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project for Bullet Journaling

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook

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.

Millie Marotta's Tropical World Journals

Millie Marotta’s Tropical World Journals

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.

BUJO DIY Travelers Notebook Project Supplies

BUJO DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project Supplies

Supplies needed to make a very simple DIY traveler’s notebook:

  • leather (large enough to cover the journals)
  • 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
  • Scissors;
  • Pencil or marker;

Step 1:

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.

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project - Step 1

DIY Leather BUJO Traveler’s Notebook Project – Step 1

Step 2:

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).

eather Travelers Journal - Step 2

Leather DIY Traveler’s Journal – Step 2

Step 3:

Then find the center of the spine and mark one hole. Using the leather punch, punch out the hole.

Step 4:

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.

Leather Travelers Notebook - Step 4

Leather DIY Traveler’s Notebook – Step 4

Step 5:

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.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

DIY Leather Journal Project - Steps 4and 7

DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project – Steps 4 and 7

Step 8:

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.

Step 8

Step 8

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.

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project

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!

SMASH Portfolio and Accessories by K & Company

Reported by Julie Tiu

Picture courtesy of www.eksuccessbrands.com/kandcompany/smash/

SMASH. “Your Life. Your stuff. Your book.” The SMASH line of products by EK Success is HUGELY popular in the crafting world. How else would you describe an item that has people putting their names on a waiting list for journals at their local scrapbooking store? It happened to me.

Craft Critique wrote about SMASH in January – and fans were eager for it to hit the stores.  K & Company promised more supplies this summer, and they delivered.

  • SMASHpad: 30 sheets of inspiration for writing down random thoughts
  • SMASHpockets: for stashing clipped pieces and other doo-dads
  • Captions, Tabs and Flags: for embellishing your journal
Pages from Travel SMASHpad, my favorite product in the line

The line contains 34 products in total, including mini journals, calendars and the original journal (7.75″ x 10.25″).

Here’s my brand new Retro Blue SMASH Folio
Folios come with a SMASHstick – the glue works great!

What is the allure of this journaling system when so many people like DIY-journals? It saves some time. The ready-made pads, captions and tags can guide your journal entries. SMASH Folios are handy: they come with a SMASHstick (a fine-tipped, acid-free pen and glue stick), they’re portable, and the pages are pre-printed with kitschy graphics.

Hello, there!


“Live it UP. Glue it down & SMASH it in.” It can’t get any easier than this. For the veteran scrapbooker who enjoys precise layouts and design, this might be a way to unleash the not-so-organized, wild-child within. For the non-scrapbook or journaling person, consider this another medium to play with. Maybe you’ll be able to start that “one page” you’ve been wanting to, but haven’t figure out how. SMASH is liberating!

From something utilitarian like home decorating…

…  to some documenting from a long time ago (1999, for real. I’ve been hanging on to stuff).
Clippings, business cards, maps from a trip to Montreal.

Cool tabs! (Yes, I’m crafting in my car.)
Chocolate candy bar wrappers can be art too.

It’s a work in progress really, and oh so nice to use. I can’t wait to pick up a Date SMASHstamp, more tabs and captions. This product is simply SMASHing!

Pros:

  • Folios are very portable and well-made.
  • The glue stick and pen combination – fantastic. Glue worked well on regular weight paper, light cardstock and all the SMASHpad pages.
  • Themed collections have great graphics.

Cons:

  • Stores may run out of stock due to popularity.
  • DIY-ers could be turned off by SMASH’s “all-in-one” type of system.
  • I only had trouble with the tabs (heavier cardstock) adhering to the page. Used some double stick tape when my glue stick wasn’t working as well.

SMASH Folios cost approximately $12.99 (MSRP) and accessories start at $1.99.

How do you SMASH? If you’re new to the product, what would you use it for? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Event Review: Arty Gras Celebration

Reported by Maria Del Pinto
The weekend of March 18-20, my children and I attend a fun event at our favorite art supply store in Westminster, CA. The event is the annual “Arty Gras” celebration at the Art Supply Warehouse.  People of all ages look forward this fabulous event and all the interesting schedule of workshops and demonstrations that they present each year.
This is a free event put on by the store to educate, encourage, and expose members of the local community to widen their artistic horizons.  It is a lot of fun and folks come from as far as San Diego to attend this event.  This year they had a painting competition with some pretty amazing artists who created large wall murals in a limited amount of time.
The Official Schedule of Events and Workshops

My children were amazed at the incredible things people were making with the simplest of tools.   Our 

first stop was the “Amazing Human Powered Art Machine” which is a bicycle that has been remade into a human powered spin art machine.

Human Powered Spin Art Machine
The “Human Powered Art Machine” is a reproduction of the famous retro spin art machine from the seventies.

It is powered by a person sitting on the bike and peddling to create a rpm of 5000 to 10000, which is enough to produce dazzling spirals and streaks as the paint is squirted onto the paper.

Squeeze bottles filled with paint.

The adults and children stood outside a safety shield. Then using squirt bottles filled with different colors of paint, they created their little pieces of spin art.

Some of the Spin Art Results

They came out very different from one another.   As you can guess, it was a challenge to get my kids to leave this fun kids craft workshop.

Lutradur Triptych Postcard
The second workshop was  learning to make a “Lutradur”  Triptych postcard with Peter Overpeck from C&T Publishing.   This is a fun process that uses a variety of papers (Ultra-Light Lutradur, Transfer Artist Paper, Fast 2 Fuse Interfacing), inks, paints, and a hot iron to create really cool effects.
Ultra Light Lutradur, Transfer Artist Paper, Fast 2 Fuse papers
The trick to this project was using silicon release paper which keeps the different papers from sticking to the iron or the ironing surface.
Silicone Release Paper
The project we worked on consisted of printed sheets that had been run through an ink jet printer like the sample below.
Ink Jet Printer Sample
Below are samples of the different results you can get by using a variety of materials and inks.  The one below was heat distressed using a hot iron and a heat gun.
Heat Distressed Sample
The next sample show how it works using an ink rubbing technique.  This is a great kids art project.  You simply put a leaf upside down on some wax paper and then put a bit of paint on the leaf veins.  Gently pick up the leaf without smearing the paint and press the painted area onto some paper.  If you did it right, you have a fun leaf imprint on your paper.
Leaf Ink Rubbing Sample
The kids thought this was a fun workshop and the final postcards were cute. These products would be great for card making, altered books, tote bags, recycling old clothing, and upcycled craft projects. For homeschooling projects and teaching guides, the C&T Publishing web site has some class plans and instructions for various techniques using their product line.
The next workshop we attended was the “Visual Journaling 101” technique class with Kari Foteff  (sponsored by Strathmore).  Once my kids spotted bottles of mod podge and gesso, they were very excited to try this project.
Strathmore Visual Journal
This workshop featured Strathmore’s newest heavy-duty mixed media journaling papers that are not supposed to bleed or buckle easily with the application of various media materials.
Kari Foteff
The journals are made with heavy-duty paper that has a wire binding that makes it easier to have the journal lay flat when open.   First, my daughter used the Mod Podge to adhere different papers to the pages.
Using Mod Podge to adhere asst papers
A water color artist sitting next to her, showed my daughter how to use the Lyra Aqua colors on the page.  She loved that effect and will probably add those colors to her birthday wish list.
Lyra Aqua Colors
The papers were put to the test, using alcohol inks, water colors, mod podge, liquitext fluid medium, and a variety of ephemera to create a special page.
Some of the finished pages
The pages below are done with paint and ordinary ink pens:
Paint & Ink Sample
One thing that I really liked is that the ink did not bleed through to the back of the page when using Pitt Artist Pens (Faber-Castell).
Applying Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen
This was a great project; all the altered pages came out great.  Since this was a fairly new product, there were a variety of different artists sitting in the workshop to test out these journals.  My children learned a lot of great tips from these folks on how to use the various supplies the store had laid out on the table to for everyone to use.  If you want to try your hand at altered art or just get some visual journaling ideas, Strathmore offers free online videos and instructions on their website.
One of the lovely things about the Arty Gras Event is that my children and I could participate in any workshop that we wanted as long as the children had an adult to help them with some of the more challenging tools (like the hot iron).  However, they also had children-orientated activities like face painting by Snazaroo, special beads, fun buttons, and more.

There were quite a few homeschool parents attending the event. They were stocking up on art supplies and gathering new ideas for their own kids homeschool art projects.  It was a weekend filled with great opportunities for everyone to try new products and techniques, as well as stock up on much needed art supplies, crafting supplies and other related products.

We would love for you to share your experiences at any local “Arts & Crafts” shows that you have attended  What was your favorite technique or workshop?

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