This is my “Fauxdori” – a home made version of the Midori travellers journal. I really like the look and flexibility of the Japanese Midori travel journals but the two sizes that they offer don’t really meet my needs, plus they are really expensive to buy and fill with their books……So I made my own – really quite easy to do. There are lots of videos on youtube of people showing how to make your own, so I did but made it a little different for my needs…
I bought a piece of 2mm “tooling” leather from a local leather supply shop in North Perth and a leather punch kit plus some “millinery” elastic from Spotlight (total cost around $40). I’ve made mine in A6 size as this is convenient if you’re buying paper to make books fit inside – it’s exactly half A5 size paper (which of course is half A4 size – the most common size of paper). Also it’s small enough to fit in my bag with out taking up too much space and when I sketch on location I can use it without drawing too much attention (pun intended).
Method…Using a sharp knife cut the leather to size ensuring that there’s enough leather around the edges to wrap around the booklets inside (this will depend a little on how thick you’re going to fill it). Then punch 3 holes along the middle of the spine – one in the centre for the wrap around band (Midori have their band in the middle of the back cover but I think that leaves a lump in the paper – better to have it in the spine where it’s hidden away). Two other holes top and bottom for the book holding elastic. See picture above. Now the clever part is to use a button with a shank on it and thread the elastic through the hole in the shank and tie a loop long enough to pass through from the outside of the cover, run down the inside of the cover then exit the bottom hole, run up the outside of the cover then loop OVER the button (see pic above). The advantage of using a button is that it also allows you to insert spiral bound books if you wish – just push the loop down through the rings then out the bottom and loop over the button.
I have two elastic loops which allows 4 separate books to be held in place (could add more if necessary) then the shank of the button sits in the hole of the cover nice and flush holding it all in place. I also have another piece of elastic for two book marks that just loops around the button a couple of times.
I also rounded the corners for a more elegant look and rubbed the leather with olive oil to soften and protect the leather (do this before you thread the elastics through and let the oil be thoroughly absorbed before you fill it with paper)
Now for the fun part – filling with what ever you want.
I have made………
Sketchbook – from heavy weight cartridge paper
Notebook – with lined and blank pages (created using excel spreadsheet then copied duplex onto regular copy paper)
Diary – again created on a spreadsheet and printed on copy paper
Each book is stitched using ordinary sewing thread doubled over (supposed to used waxed cotton bookbinding thread but I don’t have any and this seems fine for my purpose of making relatively thin booklets). Just use an awl or any sharp point to punch five holes along the mid line where they will fold for the spine then using a long sewing needle weave the thread in and out (see youtube for bookbinding tutorials especially “SeaLemon”).
I also have a couple of plastic pockets made from plastic zip folders bought from officeworks (cut the zip part off and rounded the corners)
Making my own books is really quick and easy and is heaps cheaper than buying special books to fit a special size. Plus I have complete choice over what paper I put in – watercolour, cartridge, toned or my own printed up copy paper or a combination of any of these. I especially like to use old cinema flyers for the covers – at my local they print up beautiful thick glossy flyers in A5 size – perfect when folded in half to make A6 book covers (see the Banksy cover above, the other covers are cuttings from a magazine – I just liked the pics so glued them on to the first and last pages.)
A charm or other ornament can be looped through the closure loop for added adornment and ease of opening (I have few earrings that are missing their partner that I could use).