"Leather" Bound Journals

While the Chinese invented paper, and many cultures created manuscripts on scrolls, our "modern" form of codex books may have first appeared in northern Africa by the 3rd century A.D. After a brief introduction to the history of bookbinding, note-taking for "A World Tour of Art" was made a bit more fun when students created their own "leather" journals!

(See note below pictures)

1. Cut two 9" x 12" pieces of matboard and three 12" x 3" pieces of posterboard for each journal.

2. Fold each strip of posterboard in half (to make tall, thin rectangles).

3. Punch holes along one side of two of the 12" x 3" posterboard strips with 3-hole punch.

4. Place one 12" x 3" strip over the long edge of the 9" x 12" matboard (front cover), with the punched half on the inside of the cover and the unpunched half on the outside of the cover. Repeat for the back cover.

5. Before proceeding, make sure that the holes line up when the journal is closed!

6. Glue the unpunched side of each strip to the outside of each cover. Do not glue the strip on the inside.

7. When glue is dry, close the journal by placing the front and back covers together. (Again, the holes should line up. Paper fasteners will be used to hold notebook paper in the journal.)

8. To make the "spine" of the book, place the remaining 12" x 3" piece of posterboard over the edge of the front and back outer covers of the journal and glue in place.

9. When dry, begin taping and polishing.

Small pieces of masking tape were overlapped on the outer covers of the journals

Students applied brown shoe polish to the tape-covered matboard to simulate leather.

A final coat of polish, a bit of buffing, and students had created a "leather" journal cover!

* NOTE: The pictures show tape and polish being applied to unassembled journal covers. Just after these pictures were taken, we discovered that it was FAR easier to assemble the covers, first, THEN apply tape and polish. Notebook paper was added as a final step.


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