Earlier this week I showed you how to make craft foam look like leather, and offered up some free Adventure Journal Pages to download and print. Well for this Weekend Project, we’re going to combine those to make your own handy-dandy Adventure Journal! Useful for LARP, for tabletop gaming, or just for the heck of it, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to make your own. Let’s get started!

 

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For this project, you’ll need:

  • 1 large sheet of leather OR craft foam faux leather, at least 8 1.2″ by 14″ (the one in the picture was 12″ x 18″, cut down to 9″ x 14″
  • At least 12* sheets of letter-size (8 1/2″x11″) paper (You might choose to pre-print them, as I did)
  • A fully armed and operational sewing machine**
  • A ruler and pencil
  • Hammer, small nail, and scrap board
  • Embroidery thread, your choice of color
  • Decoration as desired: paint, markers, buttons, brands, etc.
  • about 18″ ribbon, twine, string, or leather cord

* – Any multiple of 4 (4, 8, 12, 16, etc.)
**-You can do this by hand, but it takes a LOT longer and is more difficult.

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Take your pages, fold them in half, and smooth the edges using your thumb or a wooden stick (like a ruler, or popsicle stick).

Stack your pages in groups of 4 sheets. Each group of 4 sheets is called a signature, just in case you were curious.

Stitch your signatures together at the center of the pages. This is where it’s a real advantage to use a machine!

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Stack your signatures on top of each other.

Measure with a ruler and mark out with a pencil where you’re going to pierce with a nail (for the next step). For this tutorial, I made three marks 1/2 inch apart, starting 1/2 inch from each edge. Then I made 3 more marks, 1/2 inch apart, right in the center.

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Using your nail and a hammer, carefully puncture where you marked over an old board. These holes are going to be how the pages are stitched to the cover. For best results, puncture one signature at a time.

Take your piece of leather (real or faux; for this tutorial I used faux), and line it up with one of your signatures so that it wraps around your book like an envelope. Cut to fit if desired. Mark with a pencil or tailor’s chalk where the spine of your book will be, and where it folds over in the front.

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Puncture the leather with the hammer and nail so that its holes align with the holes in your page signatures.

Using your embroidery floss and a needle, bind the cover and pages together. You might do a simple loop stitch, or cris-cross stitches, or any combination of stitches. It’s up to you! When you’re done, tie off your thread and hide the ends in the spine between the pages and the cover. A little bit of glue can help to keep the ends neat.

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Stitch or tie or glue your cording (whatever you choose to use) under the overlapping flap of the cover.

Add whatever embellishments you like. After all, this is your adventure journal, it should be uniquely yours!

And you’re done! Throw it in your satchel on your next epic adventure, and may it serve you well!

Variations: You can alter the page size (and thus your journal size), you could use watercolor paper and make it a sketch/painting book, you could stamp or tool the leather, you could add buttons or clasps… show us what you made in the comments!

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