The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is 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. $50 for a piece of leather with some metal rods. Now, you can vouch for all the refills and trinkets to customise your MTN all you want, but that’s a little too much for my pocketbook.
There’s a ton of tutorials online to make a MTN, and they usually start with “purchase a nice piece of leather”. Well, I have no local leather shops (that I know of anyway) and I’m too impatient to order something online. So yesterday evening I took a trip down to my local Barnes & Noble to check out their leather journal section. They have a number of lovely handmade Italian leather journals that would be perfect for my MTN.
I didn’t think to take photos until I was done, but the process I used was fairly simple: I used an exact-o knife to carefully cut the ligatures out of the notebook (the ligatures are the individual sections of paper that are sewn together. Look closely at any bound book you have — a book is made up of multiple ligatures and you can see them if you try!). There ended up being 12 ligatures in all – I separated these into four sets of three, so I could reuse the paper.
Then, I punched holes in the spine of the leather and ran some clear plastic bead cord; I may eventually swap this out with elastic cord, but the bead cord has some elasticity to it. I added some trinkets for decoration and slipped my notebook in and now I have a pretty nice knockoff MTN.
My DIY MTN came out to be roughly 15$ 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!