Friday, 20 April 2018

Leather Journal

I have been making leather journals for many months now but rarely show them on my blog because they are generally gifts to family and friends.  In Eileen Hull's Fan Club on Facebook there have been quite a few questions about using leather to make journals.  I thought I would try and answer some of those questions with this short tutorial on how I create a leather journal.

If you visit and read this tutorial and you still have questions, please leave your questions in the comments, along with a way that I can get in touch with you and I will do my best to answer them.
Here is my latest embossed leather journal.
I gathered together the items that I wanted to use to make the journal, these are:

  Eileen Hull's Passport die by Sizzix (660331)
 Eileen Hull's Embossing Folder by Sizzix - Waffle (659879)
A piece of good quality red leather
  Red cardstock to match the leather - for lining the journal and also for signatures
 A Premium Crease Pad (by Sizzix) - I only use my Crease Pad for leather as there is less tendency for the die to cut completely through the leather on the score lines
Leathercraft Glue


1.  You do not need to buy expensive leather, I use between 1.5 and 2mm where possible.  If you are based in the UK, you can buy excellent quality leather from - An A4 (8.1/2" x 11.1/4" approx) piece of leather will make one Passport sized journal, with a little left over.

2.   I glue cardstock to the 'fuzzy' side of the leather, this gives the leather a little more stability.  I found that if I did not glue cardstock to the leather, it 'stretched' when die cut.

3.  It is not essential but I always use a Premium Crease Pad when cutting leather as there is less tendency for the die to cut completely through the leather on the score lines.  If you do not have or don't want to invest in a Crease Pad, and the die cuts right through the spine, you can add some Washi tape, or regular cardstock to the inside of the spine to hold it together.

4.  I strongly recommend that you use a good quality leather glue and that you follow the instructions carefully.  I always leave the glued elements overnight to ensure good adhesion.

Top left - die cut the leather pieces (in my case, backed with cardstock)
Top right - leather embosses beautifully with standard embossing folders
Bottom left - the embossed leather
Bottom right - embossed front and back but no embossing to the spine


5.  Embossed leather is very beautiful but it can be tricky!  It is a good idea to 'practice' on an off-cut of leather before committing to embossing your die cut leather pieces.

In the above example I used a Big Shot to cut my leather, using the base plate and also the A plate, and passed the embossing folder through without the two cutting plates.  It embossed beautifully and quite deeply.

For thicker leather you may need to adjust the plates that you use, it really is trial and error, but be careful - if it doesn't go through your machine, stop and try a different configuration of plates.

6.  When gluing the spine to the front and back of the journal, especially if you have embossed it, it is a good idea to leave it to set, overnight if possible.
Once you are satisfied that the glue is completely dry, go ahead and add bindings of your choice. A view from the outside.
A view from the inside, ready for the signatures.  I usually add a pocket to the inside back cover to hide the elastic closure.

I created three signatures, using the Passport die to cut the inserts for each signature and then made covers from red cardstock, slightly larger than the inserts.  The beautiful images on the signatures are from Alexandra Renke's gorgeous design papers and Washi tape range.
One final look - I always add charms to the side of my journals, using hinge clips.  You can also create a loop to hold a pen, which is always useful when you want to keep notes!

Thanks for looking, I hope you picked up a tip or two.  Hope to see you
again soon.  Hugs, Anne xx


  1. Hi Anne this is brilliant. However I am feeling guilty as I have had this die for longer than I can remember and not used it, maybe I should get it out! Have a great crafty weekend or whatever you choose to do. Sending hugs, Angela xXx

  2. Your leather passport journal is gorgeous , Anne. Love how the leather embosses so well . Thanks for sharing such a terrific post offering lots of very useful hints and tips when working with leather .
    Hope you have doing ok . Have a lovely weekend
    Hugs x

  3. Love your leather journals Anne and I am absolutely delighted to be a recipient of one, I adore mine. Wonderful step by steps. Thank you . The red on this one is fantastic and I adore the embossing. Tracy xxx

  4. Love the leather journal's and the embossing makes them look so classic! I ca just picture a shelf filled with them in a library...the classic kind where you settle in to a wing back chair to read. 😍

  5. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your tips on this. Crease pad added to my wish list 👍

  6. This is so amazing, Anne!! What a perfect tutorial!! I love how you embossed the leather!! It looks so stunning!! As always, you inspire me so much, my friend!! Love this!! Have a great weekend!! Big hugs :)

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  7. This is fabulous Anne, I would never have guessed that you could emboss leather. You've created a real beauty here! Have a very happy weekend, Sue xx

  8. Great tips Anne - this is beautiful - just a gorgeous shade of red! I am waiting patiently for the Alexandra Renke Washi to arrive at our LSS. Love that line...

  9. What a terrific tutorial with fabulous tips! It's been awhile since I embossed and die cut leather, so I needed the refresher. The red leather journal is gorgeous, just gorgeous! You should show more. ;0)

  10. I seriously love that embossed leather. You're doing a brilliant job at promoting goodies as I definitely feel I need some leather to make a journal now!! Elaine xx

  11. wow Anne !!! Such a stunning leader journal and so kind of you to share the details and tips x Love the signatures too x A fantastic post and you should show more of them

    Have a lovely weekend
    Huge hugs to you both
    Annie xx

  12. and absolutely stunning piece!! i must find me some leather! (and look up how to use a crease pad!!) thank you so much for sharing this with us!! xo

  13. That is absolutely gorgeous Anne, I need to learn more about the crease pad. That embossing folder is gorgeous both ways round. I will be back here for tips!!! xxxxx

  14. Wow! Wow! Wow! This is absolutely stunning Anne! I looove the colour! So gorgeous, and the embossing looks amazing. Had no idea that leather would emboss so well! Brilliant tutorial too .. thank you for sharing. You have blown me away again with your amazing talent. Bookmarking this for future reference for sure! Have a wonderful day! hugs x

  15. I'm so glad you are showing more of your stunning journal makes, Annie! I know first-hand how amazing your workmanship is! This one is fabulous in red with the embossing, super cool insert pages, and charms!! Hugs, Darnell

  16. Oh my Anne, how did I miss this beauty..?? You have mastered the art of embossing leather as I know how difficult it can be. There really has an air of high end, so classy in design and would suit any executive. Your matching signatures are divine. Makes me want to get the die out and start creating!!
    Happy Sunday, hope the sun is shining for you today??
    Hugs Tracey xx

  17. Wow! This is a stunning journal! I love the embossed leather--you did a perfect job! Your tutorial is so well done, and easy to follow. Bookmarking it for future reference. You are such an inspiration to me! Sending hugs!

  18. What a superb journal - so smart in red leather, and the embossed texture takes it to the next level. Such fabulous work as always.
    Alison x

  19. What a wonderful tutorial anne - so full of hints and tips - I love your finished leather journal too - beautiful colour and the embossing looks so fabulous. I need to try this out with the passport die! Off to checkout the leather you recommended! Big hugs Rachel x

  20. I think this is a wonderful way of taking a great die to a beautiful piece of art.. A brilliant project.. I also have found that I am loving Eileen Hull's dies and hope to get more in the future.. You have creatively inspired me with this art work xx

  21. This looks like such an expensive & carefully chosen gift! Anyone would be so proud to receive something of this quality. You always do such great tutorials, with lots of pictures to explain the process. Another terrific project from Miss Anne! (Red is probably my favorite color and the embossing you've done on this piece of leather is just awesome!) TFS & Have a great week. Hugs too.

  22. This is gorgeous Anne! I had no idea that you could emboss leather, what a genius idea for a book cover, and I love the pattern that you used. The deep red tones are fantastic, and your signature covers are brilliant with the red frames! An amazing project idea and so well put together!

    Been keeping busy this past week doing all of the nasty spring cleaning. I love how the house looks and smells when I'm all done, but getting there is such a pain! lol. Hopefully by the time the every corner of the house looks shiny and new, the weather outside will be back to warm and sunny! In a month or so, the local nurseries will start opening and I will be choosing my first flowers for the patio. I'm super excited for that!! Hope you've had a good week my friend. Sending hugs :)

  23. You are so generous with your ideas and tips from your experiments. We have a massive leather sofa that has seen better days and I intend on cutting it down to salvage the leather when we get a new sofa (maybe within the year - fingers crosssed!) I hope to use it to make lots of leather journals. Remya, a bloggy friend in India, sent me a handmade leather journal and I've been dying to do this ever since! You are such an inspiration and the embossing here is brilliant and gives the journal such a "fine" quality! Wow Anne, I'm amazed! Hugs, Autumn

  24. Wow! What a great tutorial. Excellent teaching about using leather. The journal looks so rich. Excellent in every way!

  25. Absolute perfection Anne! Sooo professionally made and explained. I especially love the red and the embossing works a treat. I do hope all is well with you, I feel badly about being so absent. Nicola x

  26. Beautiful - I love the embossed leather. And red and black is perfect for this project!
    Sandy xx

  27. I love your journals, and this one is stunning. The red is so rich and the texture looks amazing. Thanks for the detailed hints and tips, I really should give one of these a go xx

  28. Wow Anne! A really professional look to this - your colour choice looks so smart and I love that you have embossed it! Hugs, Chrisx

  29. My goodness, Anne! this looks like a high end stationary shop leather journal - so elegant in the red (!) and your wonderful embossing - thanks for sharing all of your creation tips! Julia xx

  30. I have saved this to refer back to!
    sandy xx

  31. As always Anne, a wonderful creation. Thanks for the tips.
    Toni xx


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