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Gift Idea: Leather Journal with The Farmstead Ministries

Gift Idea: Leather Journal with The Farmstead Ministries

Steven Dawson, founder of The Farmstead Ministries, made and designed a custom Leather Journal. Follow his step-by-step tutorial and download the FREE pattern to get started!

Journal Cover

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Part 1

1. Cut Out Journal
    • Print & cut out template
    • Print at 100% scale, tiling the pages
    • Tape all of the template pages together, and cut out the border
    • Trace journal outline & 1/2” oblong punch holes onto leather using a scratch awl
    • At this point, do not mark or punch out binding holes
    • Cut out journal cover, leaving corners at 90 degrees
2. Fold & Wet Form
    • Mark the Fold Lines on the flesh side (inside of journal cover) using a scratch awl
    • Wet form the leather
    • Using a sponge and water, wet both sides of the leather
    • Fold & form the leather on the fold lines, and the flap for the front cover
    • Close the journal, and set aside to dry overnight 

3. Edge Finishing

    • Round the edges of journal cover
    • Use 90 degree punches, or round edges using a round knife
    • Sand the edges using burnishing/sanding machine, or sand by hand with sandpaper
    • Bevel all edges of journal cover, on both sides.
    • Burnish all edges
    • Start by applying gum tragacanth to edge of journal, and burnish with burnishing wheel
    • Note: Use a hand slicker if you don’t have a burnishing machine
    • Next apply bee’s wax to edges, and burnish again with burnishing wheel
4. Heat Imprinting (Optional)
    • Heat imprint name or initials onto cover of the journal
5. Cut Strap & Condition
    • Cut the 1/2” strap at 42”
    • Cut the ends of the strap at an angle using your round knife
    • Cleaning & Conditioning Leather
    • Apply Saddle Soap to the outside of the journal cover & 1/2” strap
    • Apply by using a cotton rag and water, create a lather with the saddle soap, and rub into the leather
    • Remove excess with cotton rag, and buff to polish
    • Set aside until saddle soap has dried
    • Once dry, apply Aussie Leather conditioner to both sides of journal cover and strap
    • Apply using your hands until thoroughly coated
    • Set aside for 10 minutes to allow conditioner to soak into leather
    • Using a cotton rag, remove excess conditioner
    • Continue to buff journal cover and strap until polished
6. Punch Book Binding & Strap Holes
    • Mark and punch the book binding holes in journal cover
    • Mark the holes using the template and a scratch awl
    • Punch out the holes using role hole punches
    • The size of the round hole punch is determined by the size of your stitching needle & thread
    • Punch out 1/2” oblong punch holes in journal cover


Part 2

1. Fold Paper & Make Journal Signatures
    • Fold all journal paper in half using a bone folder
    • 45 pages total: 42 white sheets of paper, 3 cover pages (we used craft paper)
    • Make journal signatures
    • Each journal signature consists of 14 sheets of white paper, and one cover page
    • Create journal signatures by opening each page and inserting them into the cover page
2. Create a Template for Binding Holes
    • Take an additional sheet of paper & fold in half
    • Center the spine of the paper against the binding holes of the journal template
    • Mark the binding holes onto the spine of the paper
    • Unfold & refold the paper, so the binding hole markings are on the inside of the paper
    • Punch a hole in each binding hole location using a scratch awl
    • Repeat this process for all three journal signatures
3. Punch Binding Holes in Journal Signatures
    • Insert the paper template you just created into the center page of one journal signature
    • Make sure all pages are lined up
    • Using an awl, punch a hole in each binding hole location
    • Punch the hole through all sheets of the journal signature at a 45 degree angle
    • Be sure to punch straight through the spine of each journal signature
    • Repeat this process for all three journal signatures
4. Customize the Cover Page (Optional)
    • If you decide to customize the cover page, this is the time to do so
    • We write a verse, note, or quote on the cover page using a typewriter
5. Cut Thread and Thread the Needle
    • Cut your thread to approximately 6 feet & thread a needle onto one end
6. Book Binding
    • Watch video for real-time, full-process instructions for binding the journal
7. Attaching the Strap
    • Insert the strap through both 1/2” oblong holes in the journal cover
    • Tie an overhand knot at the end of the strap
    • Wrap the strap around your journal cover (watch this step in the video for how we wrap our journals)
8: Finished!

The Farmstead Ministries

The Farmstead Ministries is a family-owned company committed to serving as many people as possible. We created The Farmstead in response to the overwhelming number of people who don’t have access to basic human needs for themselves or their families. At The Farmstead, we use our gifts to create hand-crafted products, then use the proceeds to meet people’s needs, empower lives, and spread the Gospel.




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