How to Make a Padfolio

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Add style to your note taking with a leather padfolio.
Add style to your note taking with a leather padfolio. (Image: legal pad and mechanical pencil image by alpy7 from Fotolia.com)

Carrying a writing pad around lets you jot down notes and ideas at any time. However, while convenient, a bare writing pad can look distinctly unstylish. You could certainly purchase a commercially-made padfolio to carry your writing pad, but if you want an original padfolio, you can craft a simple handmade one from a few pieces of leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium leather (5 to 6 ounces thickness)
  • Thin leather (2 to 3 ounces thickness)
  • Ruler
  • White grease pencil
  • Strong scissors
  • 1/4-inch brush
  • Contact cement
  • Sewing machine with leather needle
  • Thick cotton thread
  • Utility knife
  • Junior legal pad

Draw a rectangle measuring 15 by 8 1/2-inches on the medium leather. This piece will form the cover for your padfolio.

Draw a rectangle measuring 12 by 4 1/2-inches on the thin leather. This piece will form the pockets for your padfolio.

Cut the two pieces of leather out with the scissors.

Cut a narrow, long strip of leather from the thin leather. The strip should be 1/2-inch wide and at least 45-inches long. If you do not have a piece of thin leather long enough, you can make the strip from an oval scrap. Cut in a continuous spiral, beginning from the outside edge and working inwards until you reach the center.

Place the two leather rectangles on a flat surface, suede side up and with the longer side facing towards you.

Measure the top and bottom edges of the cover piece and mark with the grease pencil at 6 and 12-inches. Connect each pair of matching marks with a vertical line.

Measure the left edge of the cover piece and mark at 3 1/2-inches. Repeat the process with the two vertical lines you drew in the previous step.

Measure the top and bottom edge of the pocket piece and mark at 6-inches. Connect the pair of marks with a vertical line.

Coat the two leather pieces with a narrow line of contact cement using the brush, following the lines and marks you drew.

On the cover piece, coat along the bottom edge, stopping at the second vertical line; coat along the left edge, starting from the bottom and stopping at the mark; coat on both of the first vertical lines, starting from the bottom and stopping at the mark; and coat on the left side of the second vertical line, stopping at the mark.

On the pocket piece, coat on either side of the vertical line and along the entire bottom, left and right edges.

Let the pieces stand until the contact cement is dry then carefully press them together, suede sides facing each other, aligning the bottom and left edges of the two pieces.

Stitch the padfolio with the sewing machine. Make a straight stitch along all four sides, staying a 1/4-inch distance from the edges. Then stitch a vertical line on the right side of each pocket, using what remains of the lines you drew with the grease pencil as a guide. Rub off any remaining grease pencil marks.

Make two vertical cuts in the padfolio, parallel to and at a 1/2-inch distance from the right edge. The cuts should be 1/2-inch long and 1/2-inch apart, and begin approximately at 4-inches from the top edge of the padfolio.

Flip the padfolio over. Thread a small portion of the thin leather strip through the cuts, beginning and ending on the outside of the cover. Knot the short end to secure the strip in place.

Insert the back of the junior legal pad inside the second pocket of the padfolio. Fold the padfolio closed, wrap the leather strip around it a few times and tuck it under itself in the back.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can adapt this project to any other size of writing pad by changing the dimensions.
  • If the leather does not flow easily through the sewing machine, coat it with a small amount of baby powder.

References

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