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How to Make a Miniature Leather Journal

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Hello, leather journal lovers! This tutorial is for you.  Since my daughter's fascination with Japanese miniature toys, I had come to appreciate well-crafted super tiny items. I had been on the lookout though particularly for stationery ones. What I really wanted was a miniature journal that is not just for display, but is something that I can actually use.

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I saw some similar items to what I'm looking for on handmade shops but since I'm committed to my "No Spend Month" (the struggle is real!), I took out my leather stash and just made my own. Please take note that I'm not a professional bookbinder so my procedure for this project is very simplified and is based on the tools that I currently have.

So, let's get started:

Materials:

  • leather scrap - 6.5cm x 4cm size
  • leather puncher - set to smallest hole option
  • 2 pcs. leather string
  • scissors
  • big needle
  • linen thread (waxed with beeswax)
  • double adhesive tape or bookbinding tape
  • glue
  • cover paper (2 sheets) - preferably colorful or with small pattern, 4.6cm x 3.6cm size, folded lengthwise
  • 80 gsm paper (28 sheets) - 4.6cm x 3.6cm size, grouped into 4 sheets & folded lengthwise

For the cover and inner sheets, I prefer hand torn edges instead of neatly cut ones. I achieve the hand-torn look by ripping the paper freehand against a steel ruler as my guide. See how the distressed pages look like at the bottom of this post.

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Procedure:

  1. Group the 80gsm sheets into 4 to make 1 book signature. You should have a total of 7 signatures for this project to yield 112 back to back pages. Punch 3 holes (let's call each hole location a station) in each signature using a big needle or awl.
  2. Wax you thread with a beeswax stick. I merged some beeswax beads for this purpose and it worked just fine. Start sewing saddle stitch style and make a knotted loop on each station as you proceed sewing the 2nd signature's saddle stitch to the 1st one and so on.
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3. Punch a hole near the center of the edges of the leather scrap.

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4. Insert 1 leather string on each of the holes and secure with glue.

5. Glue the cover pages to the 1st and 7th signature. Glue the stitched edge of the signatures and let it dry.

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6. Add double-sided tape or bookbinder's tape to the back of the cover pages & edge of the signatures. Attach to leather cover.

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There you have it, a real mini leather journal that you can actually write on because it lays flat open nicely. Wrap the leather string and knot once to close. Once I got the length that I needed, I snipped the edge of the string diagonally for a cleaner cut.

This is great gift idea for book lovers. It also has just the right size to be a pendant for a necklace. Just add your favorite chain and enjoy!

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The pink paper on the upper miniature journal was cut using a cutter...

but I prefer this hand torn edges look on my projects. Love the vintage feel of this one!

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