Tired of people mistaking your Moleskine for theirs?
Sick of being accused of stealing when you carry yours proudly from the local office supply store?
Or just want to express yourself on every modifiable surface of everything you own?
I have your solution!
Inspired by the notebook embossing leather instructables by DemolisionWolf and randofo, this technique has the flexibility of imprinting your desired designs without a 3D printer or laser cutter, and when the bent-wire method doesn’t quite float your boat.
Join me on an epic journey to make your notebook… your notebook.
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Step 1: Gather Stuff
– hobby knife
– small files and/or fine sandpaper
– hair dryer
– stiff sheet material
– an acetate sheet of reasonable thickness (mine was about 0.75-1 millimetre thick)
– masking tape
– Moleskine-style notebook (I’ve only tried it on the leather-backed ones, so I’m not sure about the effects on notebooks with other cover materials. If in doubt, don’t try it on your favourite notebook just yet.)
– print-out or drawing of your desired icon
You can search for logos and emblems online, or draw your own.
Make sure your image is the right size: try cutting one out and placing it on your notebook to get an idea of the positioning you want.
Print multiple icons on the same sheet of paper in case you stuff it up.
Step 2: Prepare the Acetate
Cut loosely around the icon and tape it to the back of the acetate sheet, face up.
Score, on the acetate, around the icon.
This will make it easier to cut the right shape out.
You can remove the paper at this stage.
Step 3: Rough Cutting
Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut out the shape.
I find it better to start cutting at a corner or point.
At this point, the paper is unnecessary and can be thrown out.
“Whenever cutting, be a doctor. You must have lots of patients.
Be a doctor, my friend.”
– Serious Lee
Use a hobby knife to carefully slice of small amounts until you reach the scored line.
Continuously compare the shape to a printed icon to keep on track.
Don’t worry if any curves appear like a series of flat edges – filing/sanding will take care of that.
Step 4: Perfecting
Using your files or sandpaper, smooth down every edge.
You want the edges to be as flat as possible to avoid random shapes forming when you emboss leather.
Do this part as well as you can; it’s important and will really affect the end product.
Step 5: Prepare the Notebook
Remove as much loose material from your notebook as you can, so it is flat as possible.
Position your acetate die on the notebook.
You can use a ruler to work out your positioning, and trace around it in pencil.
Remove the die.
Using a hair dryer, heat the area liberally.
Step 6: Begin Embossing Process
Tape the acetate die in the right place.
It doesn’t have to be an intense tape job as the clamps will hold it in place.
Place the stiff sheet material (I chose acrylic) on either side of the notebook and clamp the whole lot.
Try to position your clamp(s) directly on top of the die.
(Tip: stick those felt furniture pads on the clamping “foot” of your G clamp so it doesn’t damage the surface.)
Put the whole thing somewhere safe.
Step 7: Wait a Day and Unclamp
I generally wait more than 24 hours so it really sinks in.
When the time is up, unclamp your notebook. take off the acetate and remove any pencil marks.
If all goes well, it should’ve worked.
(Due to the shallowness of my G clamps, I couldn’t reach the centre of the icon. This resulted in a deeper left side.
The edges weren’t cleaned up enough in the perfecting process. This left slight cuts in the edges of the icon.
Also, the protective paper on the perspex I used for the top of the book was damaged. Small, random depressions in the notebook resulted.)
Happy customisation, everyone!