My non-leather “fauxdori”

If you haven’t already heard of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, I suggest you watch this for an idea of how it works, because that is what I am basing my creation off of. I really love the concept and design of these notebooks, particularly the ease in which they allow for customization.

There are many examples of people making their own versions, which is commonly referred to as a “fauxdori” – like this one, which is the one I primarily based my design on, with some modifications. However, as you’ll likely notice if you start googling for how-to’s, they are usually made from leather just like the original. I know that there are many that prefer leather, due to the way that it ages, but that wasn’t what I wanted. Scouring the internet did not lead to much in the way of leather alternatives that would be appropriate for this project, which I found surprising, especially given how popular these “fauxdori” projects seem to be. So I went to my local crafts stores and wandered around to see if I could come up with an idea. And I did! So here is how I made my non-leather “fauxdori”…

First of all, I needed something that could give the cover some structure, preferably 2-3mm thick so that it would be comparable to the thickness of the leather that most people seemed to recommend. I found a sheet of EVA foam which seemed to meet the requirements, except I didn’t want just a foam cover. It needed something else to go over it, for both aesthetic and practical reasons (the foam seemed like there was a chance it could rip easily if not properly reinforced). And then, as I was standing in the checkout line – I saw it. Polyprolylene resuable shopping bags! And they were only 99 cents! After that, I saw more bag options at other stores and grabbed a few of those, too.


a few of the bags that I found…


some of the other supplies needed, along with a ruler/straightedge and a knife or exacto blade

My idea was to join the two items together into one durable cover, then proceed as if using leather. My current solution involves double-sided tape, which so far is holding together fairly well, but I may look for another solution (ha!) because my prototype isn’t totally perfect in that regard. I am still going to present for you how I built the prototype I’m using now, but please feel free to adapt as you see fit – and please do leave a message if you have any suggestions on how to improve it!

The following are some pictures showing my process of measuring, cutting and pasting together the two parts of the cover:





getting my edges nice and straight


this is the foam that I used



here is the double sided tape – it’s not red, that is just the film on the side that hasn’t been removed yet


…and the two pieces become one


I used a dime to create rounded corners, as recommended in the video (see below for link)


Once that was done, I basically followed the rest of the steps that Ray Blake explains in his video. I suggest you watch it, if you are planning to make one of your own. It will explain what is happening in the next set of pictures, although you can see how I deviated slightly by making the elastic thread longer and using the excess from the knot for my bookmarks (which necessitated tying the knot at a different place than shown in the video, but I am sure you can figure that out):


you can see where I punched the holes for the cords (the awl is pointing at what looks like a hole but isn’t – I just want to be clear so I don’t mess anyone up!)


after stringing the cord and creating the bookmarks


another view (to illustrate the way it’s strung)


closed, with the outer strap showing


fully closed, with the strap around it



with my new TSWBI Mini pen and ink bottle

And there you have it! I am currently using a 3″ x 4.5″ Rhodia notebook because that is what I had lying around, but I plan to use 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks. My ideal setup will be three notebooks: one blank for sketching, one graph or dot grid for miscellaneous notes, and one lined one for my journal. But, of course, it might end up being something completely different in the end! I may try making a larger one eventually, but right now I am finding that the smaller book size is actually quite good for fitting into my purse. I am really happy with how this came out!


4 responses to “My non-leather “fauxdori”

  1. Sweet, Kara!

  2. That looks really good! I’m working on my own version of a fauxdori at the moment. I have decided to go with fabric that I’m reinforcing, mine will be reversible with a pattern fabric on one side and a kinds sorta leathery fabric on the other, well if i’m succeful that is….
    After reading this post I think I will try to do someting similar to the way you created your bookmarks – thank you for the inspiriation!

    • Cool! Glad I could help 🙂 How did yours turn out??

      • It workes really well. I recently made a second one with canvas glued to the back of fabric I took from an old purse. The canvas made it sturdier and I could paint on it. I’m really liking how it turned out. So much fun to create these 🙂

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