How to set up your leather journal cover

How to set up your leather journal cover

Welcome to the wonderful world of personalising a handmade leather journal specifically for you, for your life, and to work with your unique brain.

Setting up your new leather journal

In this blog post I’ll walk you through how I set up my current A5 Journal, and my Pocket Field Journal, both of which I use daily. But with each step I’ll nudge you to consider what would work best for you.

Let’s start with the outside.

The Journal Cover

The leather covers are made of extremely high quality, vegetable tanned Italian leather that has a vintage ‘pull up’ finish. This means as you use the journal, the leather will scuff and look perfectly worn and vintage quickly with use. 

These scuffs can be polished out easily, but personally, this is the look I love. So much so that I only work with this kind of leather.

So if you prefer a more polished look, I might not be the maker for you, and that’s OK!

Your journal will last you a lifetime, so please make sure you invest the one that makes your heart the happiest.

The three elastics

Each journal I make comes with 3 elastics. 

The spine elastic runs down the spine of the journal cover and this holds one notebook (or the central notebook if you choose to have 3 like me).

One runs around the journal holding it shut. This is called the belly band.

And finally the extra elastic comes looped around the supplied notebook.

This is how you can add one, or two, extra notebooks to your journal. Keep reading to find out how…

Changing the elastic

I only use black elastic as I think it looks gorgeous against the grain of the leather, however there are a tonne of different elastic colours out there, so this could be your first alteration. Simply search online for ‘2mm Round Elastic Cord’ if you’d like to swap out the black.

Next measure the 3 cords on your journal (the spine, the belly band and the extra elactic loop), add a little extra length for luck, and go order the elastic of your dreams!

Swapping them out is easy, just undo the knots I’ve already done, and replace with the new cord!

Changing the bead

Whilst you’re performing surgery to the elastic, feel free to swap out the bead I’ve added to the front.

In fact, you don’t need a bead there at all, but I like to hold onto the bead when opening and closing the belly band. On closing I always ensure the bead is on the front of the journal, so when I next pick it up I know at a glance which way up it goes.

If you do keep the bead, be sure to pull it above or below the journal as you’re writing as it’s a lumpy little monkey that’ll seriously interfere with your handwriting!

Inside the journal

The notebooks

Each journal cover comes supplied with a soft kraft cover notebook, and the ability to hold up to 3 in total.

The one included with the A5 journal has lovely smooth paper with a dot grid pattern.

You can replace it with your dream notebook any time you like, and I urge you to think about what you’ll likely be using them for.

Do you want fountain pen friendly paper? Will you be using your journal for watercolours or sketching? Do you want plain pages, lined, dot grid, bright white paper, a more soothing off white or a yellow paper suitable for the neurospicy brain? Or do you just want to stick to cheap generic notebooks?

There’s a heck of a lot of notebook diversity out there, and as I’d rather make things out of leather than run a stationary company, I opted to supply a single type of generic ones from Amazon!

The smaller Pocket Journal was designed to fit a Field Notes notebook. However, to keep the price down I currently include a standard black cover lined notebook, but urge you to look into the 3.5” x 5.5” Field Notes books for a much nicer writing experience.

How do I add more notebooks?

Simply open your journal cover and pull on the extra elastic looped around the original notebook. Open your second notebook at the centre page, and slide it into the loop. Then flip open the back cover and repeat with a third notebook if you choose to carry three. This means that the original notebook is now sandwiched between the 2 new ones.

Want to personalise your journal even more?

Can I add bookmarks?

Yes! I’m sure there are fancier ways of doing this, but I simply use a piece of ribbon that is knotted in the middle, on the top of the spine elastic. I use one side of the ribbon to mark the weekly spread in my first notebook, and the other to mark the current page in my brain dump notebook (which is my middle book).

And in case you were wondering, my third notebook is a sketch book, and it’s a total free for all as to what page I open and start sketching on!

What about a pen loop? 

Yep, you can easily add a pen loop too. I could make pen loops out of leather, but as we all prefer pens with different size barrels, it’d get extremely confusing. It would also hold you back if you changed pens in the future.

So instead, I recommend buying one of these elastic pen loops that comes with a sticky pad that you can attach to one of your notebook covers.

Final thoughts…

As I’m a simple journaling soul, that’s as far as my advice goes, but there is an entire (MASSIVE) community out there that can inspire you to reach Planner Nirvana (yep, that’s apparently a thing! Go search it on YouTube if you don’t believe me!). Pinterest and Instagram are both goldmines of inspiration too. 

Whether you keep your journal exactly the same as when it plopped through your door, or you pimp it beyond all recognition, I truly hope it serves you daily and becomes an analogue extension of your brain, organisation and creativity.

Also, side note, but the more you use it, the more the leather will come to life with the most beautiful patina. It’s going to look, and feel, better every single day. 

Please tag me in any photos you share of your new journal online - I love seeing my creations out living their best life. 

Jane x

@hedgecomber #hedgecomberhandmade #hedgemail

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