Category Archives: DIY

Leather Notebook Cover

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse

Since spying the Hermès Ulysse notebook cover a little while ago, I’ve not been able to get it out of my mind! My only issue with it was the price, I know I’m paying for the superb quality that Hermès is known for, but it’s really not justifiable to me at the moment. Honestly though, even if I had all the money in the world I don’t think I’d be able to bring myself to spend £150-£300+ for what is basically a very nice piece of leather with a few press-studs attached & a Hermès logo. Especially not when it’s so easy to DIY!

My notebook comes with me everywhere, so I thought I’d take inspiration from this & make myself something similar. As I’m making it from scratch I wanted to make it a bit more in keeping with my own aesthetics. I love the clean lines & minimalist look the Hermès has, but I’m a sucker for leather items that look battered & distressed, plus I had the perfect bit of scrap leather for the job! This took literally 20 minutes & there’s no sewing required!

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse
Supplies : Leather (at least enough for you’re notebook) / Notebook / White pencil or chalk / Shears / Hole punch

If you don’t have shears, make sure you have either a rotary cutter, or a good pair of scissors that will slice through the leather & not just tear it. The hole punch is optional, depending how you want to fasten it, though if you don’t have one, anything sharp that will stab through the leather will work.

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse

Take your closed notebook & draw around one side with the pencil. When you come to do the other side, this is really important, don’t simply flip it over. You need to ‘roll’ it on its spine over to the other side, this way you’re accounting for the fabric needed to cover it when it’s closed. Notice how the rings on mine don’t match up to where I stopped drawing & there is quite a gap. You’ll know it’s right if when you open the book out flat & place it on top, it looks as though the leather is a bit wider than it should be.

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse

Once you’ve traced around the whole book, add a little allowance around the edges. I added 0.5cm, just so that the leather would hang over & the book would be totally covered. If you want to add a tab to fasten it like I have, draw that on too. Don’t worry about being neat! I wanted a distressed look to mine, so I did the seam allowance by hand so that it wasn’t perfectly straight & even all over, but if you want a super neat finish like the Hermès one, use a ruler.

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse

Cut it out & wipe off the pencil. You can fasten it however you like, press-studs, buttons, clips, buckles, studs, the options are endless. I used a spike stud for mine, purely as it was lying around! For this type of fastening, punch (or skewer) a hole in the tab as wide as the stem underneath the spike. Make a small slit, about a few millimeters in length, out from the hole. This allows the bigger part of the spike to fit through the hole. Fold the tab over to where it would be when the books fastened & mark. Then punch another hole & attach the spike.

Leather, Notebook, Cover, Book, DIY, No Sew, Hermes, Ulysse

Wrap it around your notebook & you’re done! I chose to wrap some leather lace around mine too (first image), as the leather was very thin & floppy, just to keep the notebook from slipping out when it’s in my bag & I think it adds nicely to the old & distressed look too. There’s lots of other ways you can do this if you want a more secure cover also, or you could glue it on & make it permanent!

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Shoe Dying

DIY, Wedges, Topshop, Dye, Dying, Colour Change, Buckles, GladiatorDIY, Wedges, Topshop, Dye, Dying, Colour Change, Buckles, GladiatorDIY, Wedges, Topshop, Dye, Dying, Colour Change, Buckles, Gladiator

One of my favourite things to do & possibly one of my worst habits is dying coloured shoes black. These chocolate Topshop wedges were another eBay buy, another attempt to integrate more non-black shoes into my wardrobe. They’re dark I thought, not far off black, I’ll definitely wear those. They’ve been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for months, so it was time I gave in & just dyed them!

I also have a strange habit of ‘rescuing’ ugly coloured shoes from the sale section & turning them black. It probably has something to do with them always being cheaper too, but, yes, I am one of those people who treats inanimate objects as if they have feelings… ‘Don’t worry poor shoes, I will take you home & give you a makeover, then you’ll be beautiful!’…

Whenever I mention that a pair I’m wearing are dyed, I always get the ‘Oh, I daren’t do that’ ‘What if you ruined them?!’ kind of remarks. Honestly, it’s one of the easiest things you can do & you can’t really go wrong at all. Get a cheap pair from eBay & have a go, I promise you’ll soon be addicted when you see how easy it is! It’d be pointless me doing a step by step tutorial, it’s literally : clean, apply dye, wait, second coat, condition… so I thought I’d just share some tips / advice I’ve picked up along the way.

Tips for dying leather shoes…

#1 : Don’t try to dye synthetic shoes. Just don’t, it’s not worth it. I know there are dyes specifically for this type of shoe, but they are basically paint – it will peel & flake. Same applies to using a dye that promises to dye shoes to a lighter colour then they were originally, these are also paint.

#2 : Get the right kind of dye. There are types for normal leather, suede, nubuck. You can use a normal leather dye on suede, but sometimes it can make it a bit ‘crunchy’.

#3 : Always clean the shoe first. If you have deglazer or a dye prep use this, if not, just give them a really good scrub with a toothbrush, lots of water & a little washing up liquid. Your aim is to strip off any coating the leather may have had applied & to make sure there’s no muck or oils on it. Make sure to thoroughly wash the washing up liquid off if you use this, your shoes should be soaking wet.

#4 : If you can see any glue residue, usually around the edges of the sole, the dye won’t be able to penetrate the glue, so you need to clean it off. A cotton swab & some nail polish remover will usually do the trick.

#5 : Some dyes will dye the stitching, others wont. I usually use ‘Punch Leather Dye’ & this will dye stitching too, the suede version doesn’t though, so always test this on a hidden part inside the shoe to be sure.

#6 : You won’t be able to change the colour of any zips, though you can get these replaced by a cobbler.

#7 : If the shoe has a wooden, plastic or similar heel, the dye will stain this, so always use a few layers of masking tape to cover it.

#8 : Be realistic! Dye is very runny & really messy. I would have liked to have kept the inside of these that lovely tan colour, but even if I’d been super careful using a tiny little brush, it would never have been neat enough to look decent, so I just dyed everything.

#9 : Even if the box says one coat is enough, always do at least 2 for a really nice even colour.

#10 : ALWAYS use a leather conditioner or cream after letting the shoes dry for 24-48 hours. The chemicals in the cleaner & dye are really drying on the leather & you don’t want to end up with cracked & hardened leather after all the time spent dying them.

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