Step-by-step instructions with pictures to make a DIY traveler’s journal cover with pockets and bands for three to five notebooks!
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I have kept a bullet journal for years, but this is the first year that I am trying a traveler’s journal. I am excited to try out a new style– which is basically just an expansion of what the routines I’ve already had in place.
In short, a traveler’s journal is a way to keep multiple notebooks together in the same journal. It’s excellent especially if you (bullet) journal about different topics.
For me, I have four notebooks in my traveler’s journal– one for HOME, one for HOMESCHOOL & FAMILY, one for WORK, and one for PERSONAL & COMMONPLACE.
Today I’m showing you how to make a traveler’s journal cover with a leather/suede exterior and an interior with pockets. There are simpler tutorials to only use leather, but I wanted a little color inside as well as a couple easy places to tuck scraps of paper and a few pens.
DIY Traveler’s Journal
In this post I’m focusing just on how to make a traveler’s journal. Next post, I will walk you through how I plan to use mine, my bullet journaling style, my favorite pens and accessories, and ways to personalize the system and make it your own!
How to Make A Traveler’s Journal Cover
Cut the pieces. You will need:
- One 9″ x 15″ piece of leather/suede/vinyl
- One 10″ x 16″ piece of home decor weight fabric
- One 5″ x 10″ piece of fabric for the pen pocket
- One 6.5″ square for the triangle pocket
- One 11″ piece of elastic for securing the cover
- Four 15″ pieces of thin rope elastic to secure the notebooks
- Fold the 4 sides of the interior fabric 1/2″ towards the wrong side and press. (If you lay the interior piece on top the exterior, it should be slightly smaller).
- Make the pockets:
- For the triangle pocket, fold the square piece of fabric right sides together and sew the cut sides, leaving a small opening for turning. Clip the corners, then turn the pocket right side out and press.
- For the pen pocket, fold the piece of fabric in half right sides together (short side down to short side) and press. Sew around the cut sides, leaving a small opening for turning. Clip the corners, then turn the pocket right side out and press.
- Pin the pockets in place on the interior fabric. (See picture below for an idea of pocket placement). The triangle pocket should align with the bottom left corner, and the left side of the pen pocket should be 7″ from the left side of the interior piece.
- Sew the pockets in place. Backstitching a couple of times at the top of the pen pocket to make it more secure.
- Pin the interior piece in place on the wrong side of the exterior piece.
- Add the closing elastic. Tuck the 1/2″ of the ends of the 11″ piece of elastic in between the interior and exterior pieces, 3.5″ from the right side. Pin in place.
- Sew around the entire perimeter of the cover, securing the interior to the exterior. Backstitch over the elastic when you go over it. (This elastic will be what holds the flap down when the journal is closed).
- Attach the grommets. Use grommet pliers or setting tools to add four holes to your traveler’s journal. (These holes will be what you feed your elastic through to hold in your notebooks). See picture below for where to place your grommets. (Disregard the middle grommet. I had that there before I decided to go with the elastic band to hold the cover closed).
- Add the elastic bands to hold in notebooks.
- Take one of your 15″ pieces of elastic and feed them through the holes in this order: IN the lower of the top holes, OUT the upper of the top holes. Down to the bottom pair, then IN the bottom and OUT the top. Tie the ends together so the elastic is tight without making the cover pull or bunch. (See picture below for order).
- Repeat 3-5 times, depending on how many notebooks you want to add to your traveler’s journal.
- Optional: Wrap the knotted portion of the elastic together with washi tape. (See picture below).
Add your notebooks by slipping one elastic band across the middle pages of each notebook.
And that’s it! You’re done!
Go forth and be organized! (If only it were that easy, right?!)
SHOP THIS POST ::
- Moleskin cashier journals — lined
- Moleskin cashier journals — blank
- washi tape
- braided elastic
- Grommet Eyelet Plier Set
- Grommet Tool Kit
- Leather journal cover (I just figured I would add this one if you wanted to completely skip sewing and buy a cover. Ha!)
FINAL THOUGHTS ::
I will share more in detail how I personally use my traveler’s journal and how I bullet journal in a separate post, but I wanted to share one tip here.
Putting the first marks on the pages can seem really overwhelming, so I have found that making a plan on loose paper or post-its helps me to figure out exactly what I want to use each notebook for, what specific pages I want in each notebook, and then of course, the order that they are included.
After I get the page numbers in, I can use my notes to create a table of contents for each notebook.
I hope that this tutorial has been helpful! Remember that even though there are some incredibly beautiful traveler’s journals and bullet journals online, ultimately the purpose is that your journal will add value to YOUR life. In other words, as long as it works for you and helps you, it doesn’t have to look any certain way. (My cover isn’t perfect, but that’s okay. I love it just as it is!)
Sharing is caring! Don’t forget to pin and share. Thank you!
Sally Faulkner says
Where do you source your cover leather?
A Valentine says
Hello! I have used multiple moleskin notebooks to keep life organized for many years and never thought of keeping them all together in one binder. What a great idea!! Did you write the post about how you set up your bullet journal and your favorite tools? I would really like to read that!
I shared a video tour on Instagram. You can find the video on my saved IGTV videos (@thispilgrimlife)
Oh my, this is sooo awesome, Lisa! I love it!! It looks fabulous to me, but I love that you say that things don’t have to be perfect all the time to do their job, I feel the same! If everything I did had to look perfect, I would definitely make nothing. Haha!