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The Midori Traveler’s Notebook┬áis a fantastic thing. It’s essentially a leather jacket with some metal rods that allow you to slip in various notebooks, planners, envelopes, pouches — whatever you can dream up. It also comes with a pretty pricetag — roughly $50 here in the states. $50 for a piece of leather with some metal rods. Now, you can vouch for all the refills and trinkets to customise your MTN all you want, but that’s a little too much for my pocketbook.

There’s a ton of tutorials online to make a MTN, and they usually start with “purchase a nice piece of leather”. Well, I have no local leather shops (that I know of anyway) and I’m too impatient to order something online. So yesterday evening I took a trip down to my local Barnes & Noble to check out their leather journal section. They have a number of lovely handmade Italian leather journals that would be perfect for my MTN.

I didn’t think to take photos until I was done, but the process I used was fairly simple: I used an exact-o knife to carefully cut the ligatures out of the notebook (the ligatures are the individual sections of paper that are sewn together. Look closely at any bound book you have — a book is made up of multiple ligatures and you can see them if you try!). There ended up being 12 ligatures in all – I separated these into four sets of three, so I could reuse the paper.

Then, I punched holes in the spine of the leather and ran some clear plastic bead cord; I may eventually swap this out with elastic cord, but the bead cord has some elasticity to it. I added some trinkets for decoration and slipped my notebook in and now I have a pretty nice knockoff MTN.

DSC_0002 This is after I cut the ligatures out of the notebook and split them into sections of three. The one on the left is un-covered, while I covered the ligatures on the right with some scrapbook specialty paper to make a faux-notebook.

DSC_0005 These are the four notebooks I’m putting into my DIY MTN. Two are from the original notebook, one is my Lechtturm 1917 Softcover unlined, and the other is my Field Notes Pitch Black Dot-Grid.

DSC_0009 The inside of the journal after I’ve removed the ligatures and added in the stretchy bead cord. I could have covered the leather that now shows along the spine, but I didn’t really feel a need to. You can also see the eyelets I punched into the leather for the beadcord.

DSC_0010 All four notebooks inside.

DSC_0012 Closed DIY MTN, with some added beading and charms. The charm on the closing tie is attached with tiny metal brads.

DSC_0015 Close-up of beading and eyelets along the top.

My DIY MTN came out to be roughly 15$ cheaper than an actual MTN. I was able to embellish my DIY MTN with little additional cost, since I already had the supplies on hand, whereas I would have bought some if I purchased a real MTN. And my notebook has a design that suits me more than a plain colour. Overall, I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out!


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March 2014

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