Today I'm sharing a slightly more sophisticated craft project. This project isn't that hard to make, but it looks very elegant and has a nice wow factor that I love. What is it? It's How to Make an Easy Faux Leather Journal.
I like this craft because it's simple and yet lovely enough to give to a man, a teenager, or anyone whom you want to bless with something that feels extra-special. In other words, this craft is wasted on my 7-year-old. 🙂
I have seen lots of beautiful faux leather fabrics at my local Wal-mart and realized they would be perfect for a project like this! So I gathered up some favorites and brought them home to play with.
Of course, you can also use real leather and other materials that you may have on-hand, but it's nice to know that you can make this with some other more unusual materials you might have lying about in your craft stash.
I'm going to share TWO WAYS for you to make this. Method #1 is with a Cricut or other paper cutting machine.
Don't have a Cricut? No problem! If you make this without a machine, then you can do step 1 below, print out your pattern, cut your materials with scissors and then jump back into step 4 below!
I’m excited to show you how to make this! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Supplies to Make a Faux Leather Journal with a Cricut
The supplies that you need to make this journal include:
- Faux Leather Journal pattern – available to email subscribers in my FREE Resource Library
- Cricut cutting machine, or another cutting machine
- Cricut Design Space software (if using your Cricut)
- Deep cut blade for your Cricut (depending on the thickness of your material)
- Scoring tool for your Cricut
- Material for the journal – I used faux leather from Wal-Mart
- Cardstock for journal backing
- Cardstock for optional nameplate
- Paper for journal pages, I used watercolor paper
- Strong adhesive, I used this and loved it
- Boning tool (hand-held scoring tool)
- Paper cutter or scissors
- Thumb tack or other tool to poke a tiny hole in your paper
- Craft needle & embroidery thread
How to Make a Faux Leather Journal with a Cricut
[dropcaps]1[/dropcaps] Download the Faux Leather Journal pattern
First, you need to download the faux leather journal pattern from my blog’s Free Resource Library. If you are already a subscriber you may go here to download it. If you need to sign up, please click here.
When you sign up to receive my email newsletter you are automatically sent a password to access the library. You’ll also receive my weekly newsletter with behind the scenes details, notes from me, and links to the latest happenings on my blog.
Once you’ve logged in, the file you need is called Faux Leather Journal. There are TWO VERSIONS of this file. Make sure you select the Print Then Cut version and not the PDF.
[dropcaps]2[/dropcaps] Upload the Pattern to Cricut Design Space
Next, you need to unzip the file and upload the PNG and the SVG files to Cricut Design Space.
Once you have the files on your canvas there are a couple of quick steps you need to do.
- Ungroup the Journal Cover and the Journal Backing Card.
- CHANGE the two vertical lines which are laying over the backing card from cut to SCORE.
- Attach the score lines and the journal backing card.
- Make sure your measurements are correct.
Here are the measurements that I used:
- Backing is sized at: 8.25″ wide x 6.186″ tall
- Cover is sized at 6.75″ wide x 11.472″ tall
- Nameplate is 3.5″ wide x 4.613″
[dropcaps]3[/dropcaps] Cut Your Materials
Now you're ready to print and cut!
First, I printed the nameplate and then had the cricut cut it for me.
While that is printing and cutting you need to cut your faux leather to a little larger than your finished size. I cut mine 8″ wide x 12″. This gave my machine plenty of material to work with.
Load it on a strong grip mat and cut once you're ready.
Make sure you're using the correct blade for your material. I used a deep cut blade for mine. This turned out to be more than enough. I recommend you allow yourself some extra material when trying a new project like this.
Next, cut and score your journal backing card.
The last bit of cutting you need to do is your interior journal paper. I used watercolor paper for the nice texture. It feels a little more luxe.
I was able to get two pieces from a regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper when I cut it to 8″ x 5.75″.
Let's put it all together!
First, gently fold your backing along the two score lines.
Now, add a strong glue to the back of this card.
Line this up near the left edge of the journal and make sure your spine is centered with the thin lines cut into the journal cover. These are going to be important when we connect the paper to the cover.
Next, add some glue to the back of the nameplate card and attach it to the inside of the journal backing.
It is sized to fit nicely and be a pretty way for you to personalize this gift.
ADD INTERIOR PAPER
Now we're ready to begin adding the inside paper. With your pages cut to the correct size, now you need to fold them in half. A boning tool is quite handy to help you get a good crease.
This was my first time attempting any kind of bookbinding and there are several methods out there. I wanted this part done quickly so I decided to group all of my pages together and then stitch it at once.
The only problem is that when you fold all the pages together, they are going to stick out past each other as you can see here.
To combat this, I clipped the pages together with clothespins and just trimmed those edges to be the same. You can use a paper cutter or a pair of scissors. This was a simple fix for me.
Now we're ready to begin binding!
BINDING THE JOURNAL TOGETHER – MAKING YOUR GUIDE HOLES
You want to mark where the holes are in your cut journal cover to synch up all the holes.
First, I flipped the cover over and using a sharp tool (like a thumb-tack or weeding tool) find the slices in the spine of your cover and gently press through. You don't need to press too hard, you're just trying to get an impression of where the hole should be.
Do this for all four holes.
Flip your cover over and now that you can see clearly, make your holes a bit more prominent, making sure you're in the center of the spine.
Now you want to match these holes up with your paper and your cover. I lined my paper up over my journal and flipped the entire thing over (carefully). Then I poked through as I had done the first time, but this time I had those “guide” holes in the spine to use, so I pushed harder but not too hard to make an impression.
Then I flipped it all over, made sure I was lined up correctly and finished the holes. It was actually easy, but there was a bit of checking and double checking to make sure I was on the right track.
BINDING THE JOURNAL TOGETHER – STITCHING IT ALL TOGETHER
And finally, we're ready to begin sewing the paper to the cover. Here's how I did this. Imagine each hole has a number. 1 is the top and 4 is the bottom.
- Go down through hole #2; tie a knot to hold the thread in place.
- Come up through hole #1.
- Go down through hole #4.
- Come up through hole #3; tie a knot to hold the thread in place.
Here's how it will look once you come back up through hole #3.
Tie off your thread and trim the ends.
Here's a look at the outside of the spine.
Ta-da!! You have a beautiful, hand-made journal!
To close it, fold the flap over the cover and then just slide a pretty pen or pencil through the slit and it will hold itself closed. Nifty, right?!
It was truly surprising to me how straight-forward this craft was once I started making it. I definitely have plans to make several more of these. I'm also going to play with the idea of making covers for exisiting journals to “dress them up.”
Please let me know if you'd like to see that project!
What do you think? Do you feel inspired to give this a try? I hope so!
I hope you will pin this to save it and share it with your friends. Sharing this on Pinterest is a REAL blessing to me, so thank you in advance!
Want More Inspiration?
Check out these other fun posts!
How to Make an Easy Paper Daisy
How to Make an Easy THANK YOU card
How to Make an Easy Mail Organizer from a Box
What Can I Create For You?
Is there a craft, decorating DIY, entertaining tip, or something else that you’d like to learn more about? Please leave a comment and let me know! I love hearing from you so that I can make more videos and tutorials that help you!
If you make some, please share your photos with me over on my Facebook page. I'd love to see your creations!