In this blog post, I am going to show you the steps on how to create this gorgeous and easy DIY refillable leather planner. Whether you have a Cricut machine or not, it is something a beginner can certainly make. With leather, a material that gets better over time, you will find it to be a creation that could last for many years.
Whether a part of your resolution or not, we all have schedules, goals and desires we want to achieve. Therefore, when juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities, it takes a certain degree of planning to fully accomplish them. Hopefully, this DIY refillable leather planner will help.
Why use paper planner?
Capturing open tasks and ideas help you set priorities, organize , and reflect on the work entailed to complete such tasks. To begin, we need a trusted tool – enters this easy DIY refillable leather planner, a good ole pen and paper. While some of us may find this rather “old school”, and although a fan of technology, unplugging seems to boost my ability to focus. As a result, I find this method to be more effective. Having to perform mostly already complex tasks, the idea of keeping things simple sounds more enticing.
Check out the tutorial video below and share among friends!
The steps below include dyeing and sealing procedures. You may of course skip this step and buy a finished one, however, there is beauty in dyeing your own leather. Not only will you be able to pick your own custom color, the basic process is relatively simple! So let’s get right to It!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means, if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission but at no cost to you)!
What do I need to make this leather planner?
- 12 x 16 semi-firm veg tan leather 3-5 Oz thickness (amazon Tandy Leather or your local Tandy store has it)
- leather dye : Feibings Pro Dye (I used saddle tan color)
- leather seal : Tandy Leather Eco-flo
- A5 Metal binder spine 6 ring
- rivet and Chicago screws (came with this metal binder)
- A5 paper inserts
- button stud screw back (You may also check Tandy Leather if you just want to buy one set)
- Cricut Maker or Any Cutting tool
- strong grip mat (if using Cricut)
- knife blade (if using Cricut)
- Soft hammer
- Flat head screw driver
- Straight edge (or metal ruler)
- Rotary leather punch or use your cricut machine
- Rivet setter (purchase the right size for your rivets. See Tandy Leather)
- Rotary or Xacto knife
- Buttonhole leather punch (for your button stud screw back. See Tandy Leather. You must purchase the right size. I used a 5mm to go with the size of my chosen button stud)
How to make this planner?
S T E P 1 : Download and Cut
Firstly, download my template or create your own to cut the size and shape of your planner. Second, once you have the right template, proceed with cutting.
To access my FREE design library, obtain the password by signing up and it will be sent to you via email.
Important: When using my template, please note that the alignment of the holes are specific to the metal binder on this link. So, if you are using a different kind, you will need to create your own applying the right measurements.
TIPS : Cutting
You must do a test cut before cutting the leather. Since the material is expensive, create a template using paper and test the fit of the metal spine and screws especially when you are cutting with your Cricut Maker.
The Setting of your Cricut Maker (If using it)
3-5oz garment leather knife blade (depends on the weight of your leather)
Furthermore, if you do not have a Cricut maker- not a problem! With some rotary or X-acto knife and metal ruler, you can cut your leather manually. In addition, you may use a pair of sharp scissors but for better precision, previously mentioned cutting tools are preferable.
S T E P 2 : Dye & Seal
Before dyeing the leather, using a soft & dry cloth, wipe off any traces of dirt. Some have advised using a deglazer (see Feibings), although I didn’t use it in this project.
Step 2a : Apply Base Coat.
Using a sponge, apply circular motion for your base coat for the front or smooth side of your leather. This allows you to put even coverage for your leather cut and let dry. For the backside, because it is textured, you may just use dabbing motions.
TIPS : Dyeing
Wear gloves to protect your fingers and nails. Also, do this in a well-ventilated area so you do not inhale the fumes. Furthermore, drying time will depend on the temperature of the room. The warmer it is, the quicker it dries.
Step 2b: Apply 2nd or Final Coat.
Depending on how dark you want the finish to be, you may add another layer or two. I used straight line strokes for my final coat. The more layers you apply, the darker it gets.
Step 2c : Seal
Next is seal and dry. Using a clean sponge, apply straight strokes to add the seal to protect the leather’s finish. You don’t necessarily need to apply it on the other side but if you’re like me, accidentally smeared it – not to worry, just dab it on there!
S T E P 3 : Hole Punching
Punch holes in the corresponding encircled areas (assuming you have already done the rivet holes for your spine in step 1). This was another fun part of the process using the following tools:
- ruler (to measure the size and alignment)
- button hole puncher
- rotary leather puncher
TIPS: Hole Punching
In addition, if you’re doing this the first time, do a test on a leather scrap to ensure the holes fit the sizes of your rivets, button and screws.
S T E P 4 : Assembly
Yes! Time to put the final pieces together of your DIY refillable leather planner. Using the following tools, add your spine, rivets, buttons and screws:
- soft hammer
- rivet setter
- flat head screw driver
TIPS : Putting Screws and Rivets
If you’re like me, new to leather crafting, you don’t have to have all the professional tools and set-up, so just try to be resourceful. For example, use your thick plastic chopping board to protect your surface when pounding on metal screws. Yes, it may have a little bounce but I definitely would not advise that you do it on your marble countertops (please, no) or any expensive stone materials for that matter.
All done! Be on the lookout more craft tutorials here.
Until the next project,
R i c h e l l e
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