Leather Bookmarks for a New Year’s Resolution to Read

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Last year I didn’t finish reading a single book. (Gasp! Shock! Horror!) I started several and either lost interest, lost the book or lost the battle with sleep after everyone else in the house was finally tucked in bed and my uninterrupted time had begun. 2015 will be different. I can feel it. I already have a stack of books that I cannot wait to tear into. So naturally, I needed a new bookmark to keep me on track with my New Year’s resolution to read (and finish!) more books in 2015. This project is quick and simple, and it makes an excellent gift for your favorite bookworm. It’s so straightforward that kids age 8-plus can make their own.
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Things You’ll Need

  • Leather scraps (available at craft supply stores or from upcycled thrift store purses or coats)
  • Mini iron
  • Ruler
  • Non-permanent marker (dry-erase or washable markers work best)
  • X-Acto knife and cutting mat
  • Heavy-duty glue (I used E6000)
  • Awl
  • Upholstery thread, embroidery floss or other decorative heavy-duty thread
  • Assorted beads
  • Damp washcloth or paper towel

 

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From your leather scraps, measure at least two 8-by-3-inch rectangles. Lay your leather on the cutting mat, and use your ruler and X-Acto knife to cut out clean, straight rectangles. If available, use different colors of leather for your two rectangles. I decided to use a light green and a dark green leather for my bookmark.

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Turn the leather rectangles over and iron the backs with your mini iron (required only if your leather doesn’t already lay flat).

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Use a non-permanent marker to sketch the numbers “2015” onto one of your leather rectangles. Connected, chunky numbers are the easiest to cut. You could also use number stencils if you prefer not to freehand.

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Place the leather rectangle on the cutting mat and use the X-Acto knife to carefully cut around the numbers.

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When the numbers are completely cut out, use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining marker lines.

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Use the mini iron on the raw cut leather to flatten any frayed or slightly uneven edges.

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Gather your glue and the remaining leather rectangle that will be the base of the bookmark.

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Run a thin ribbon of glue along the back of your leather numbers, and position them toward the right edge of the base piece (what will be the bottom of the bookmark when it’s in a book). Press them directly onto the base piece, and allow the glue to dry for a few minutes.

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Taper the top right corner of the bookmark slightly by using a ruler to guide your X-Acto knife in making a short diagonal cut along the side. Use the triangular scrap as a guide to make a diagonal cut on the left side so you’ll have matching tapered corners.

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Gather your awl, thread and beads.

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To add a decorative threaded and beaded top to your bookmark, fold the top 1/2 inch of leather (at the tapered end) over to the back. Pierce through the folded leader with the awl, making three evenly spaced holes. Make your puncture holes about 1/4 inch below the fold, and center them on the bookmark.

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Thread your awl with approximately 8 to 10 inches of heavy-duty thread. Run the thread through the first set of holes. Tie a double knot to secure the thread to the leather and leave two equal-length strands of thread hanging below the knot.

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Run the thread through the second set of holes and double knot that as well. Repeat with the third set of holes.

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Select beads that will fit on the double-stranded thread and string them in whatever pattern you’d like. Tie a knot in the threads just above and below each bead to prevent the bead from traveling.

Alternatively, you could leave the beads off for now, and add a bead to your threads for each book you complete this year. (Tracking your progress can be such a handy way to stay on track with goals.)

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When all of the strands are beaded and knotted to your liking, cut away the excess thread.

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As soon as the glue has fully set, you and your bookmark are ready to take on 2015. What are you looking forward to reading this year? 

All photos by: Megan Andersen

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