In this tutorial, I will show you how to make your own journal cover with this super simple notebook cover design for handmade leather or fabric covers.
I love having a handy notebook around for all my random thoughts and to do items. I find writing things down makes it much easier to get through the day so I don’t constantly feel like I’m holding onto things in my head.
Between doctors appointments for everyone in the family and grocery items, sometimes it just gets to be too much.
I love this cute little customized notebook, it’s a perfect size and can fit into most purses. The attachment mechanism requires a pen so you always have one handy with the notebook. The best part is you can refill the sheets as needed with regular copy paper.
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Materials for how to make a journal from scratch
Leather, Faux Leather or Fabric – I made mine from faux leather in the photo above. I like faux leather because it is much more affordable and super easy to work with. It also comes in all these cute colors. Here is the exact assorted set I bought from Amazon that contains pastel faux leather sheets in both matte and pearled metallic versions.
Copy Paper – You can always use a pre-made notepad but you will have to resize the template or find a notepad that fits the existing dimensions of the template. I sized the template so that it works with regular copy paper. Each sheet of letter sized paper makes 4 pages (or 2 sheets).
Scissors or Cutting Machine – I made mine using my Cricut Maker. I would highly recommend using a cutting machine for this project as it will make some of the binding elements easier. Check out my article on which Cricut and accessories make sense for beginners.
String, Ribbon or Elastic band – I used a gift wrapping elastic band I had around but anything works. Alternatively, if you are using a pre-made notebook, I would consider using a hot glue gun to attach it to the cover.
Template – My DIY notebook cover and pages templates are free and available in my resource library.
How to make journal covers
Step 1: Cut all the materials with the journal cover and page templates
You could cut the leather with scissors or an Exacto knife. I used my Cricut cutting machine.
If you have a Cricut Maker, I would recommend using a rotary blade for cutting soft faux leather. Most of the full faux leather sheets (letter size and bigger) I’ve encountered are soft and stretchy and tend to snag with a blade. I use a blue mat (smooth side down) with a rotary blade with this faux leather.
If you only have a Cricut Explorer, I would recommend placing the material fuzzy size on a piece of transfer tape and place the transfer tape side down on a standard grip (or more) mat. The Cricut Brand Faux Leather cuts easily with a blade. I would not recommend cutting the faux leather I used with the Cricut Explorer.
Step 2: Fold the journal pages in the middle
Step 3: Align the binding holes and feed the string through
You can either tie the knot on the inside or the outside. I decided it looked cleaner with the knot on the inside.
Trim the string as necessary.
Step 4: Insert pen and decorate the journal cover
I added a little iron on monogram but this step is totally optional.