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Embossed and Painted Leather Travelers Notebook Advanced Techniques Class Review

I had such a great time at the Planner Friends Event Advanced Embossed Leather and Alcohol Ink Techniques Travelers Notebook class on September 3, 2017.  It was held at the new Michaels Store in Irvine, California.  Tammy Santana and her crew taught us how to emboss leather, then paint the leather using alcohol inks.  She shared with us various tips on applying and layering the inks to create various effects on the leather.  She also showed us how easy it is to bead our travelers notebooks with seed beads to add some decorative details to our travelers journals (notebooks) in order to create one of a kind pieces.

During the last half of the class, we learned how to make some beautiful decorative leather spines that attach to the reinforced spine of the Travelers Notebooks. This actually adds two more elastics to our leather travelers notebooks, while at the same time changing the look of it.  It is easily removable but ultra handy to know how to make.

The first thing Tammy did was to show us how to Emboss Leather using our Sizzix Big Shot machine and an embossing folder.  The results you achieve depends on the thickness of the leather, how wet you get the leather and which embossing pattern you choose.  Then we used our kit from the last leather class that Tammy taught to mark our patterns for the hole.  In case you are interested in getting your own leather kit, Tammy bought ours on Amazon for around $40.

The kit has everything you need to get started working on leather.  First we marked our leather with the Edger Beveler.

Then we used the lacing chisels to mark our holes.

The spacing and size of the holes is completely dependent upon which chisel you decided to use. I decided on the black one (this one is not included in kit but can be purchased at Hobby Lobby) because I knew I was going to use larger beads and that size matched them better.

After the entire leather travelers notebook was marked, we painted our leather using the alcohol inks that Tammy provided.  The photo above shows how beautifully Tammy painted the leather with her alcohol inks and used them to emphasize the paisley style pattern she used for this travelers notebook.
Once we were finished painting the leather with the alcohol inks and had allowed them to dry, we started to sew the spine pieces together.  Before we got started, we had to decided where and what beads we wanted to use for beading the leather travelers notebook.  Tammy is a very easy going teacher and while she is happy to teach techniques, she loves to encourage everyone to do their own thing.  That being said, I decided to do my own thing and only bead the spine of the travelers notebook.

I beaded the entire travelers journal first using the wax linen thread that Tammy provided.  Then I beaded my spine using some very small turtle beads, crystals and fire wire.  I wanted to be sure that the beads were not going to fall off with use.

The smaller beads close to the quarter are the ones I decided to use.  I bought these on sale at Michaels and they are really cool to bead with.

The crystals that I choose matched the removable spine that I made in class.

Since we were not required to bead our travelers notebook, each book was unique.  Some of the students beaded their entire book with the silver seed beads provided and even finished them in class (they were super focused on the project).

Jessica Lam (who is known for her stunning Green & Lyme A5 Planners) choose not to bead her travelers notebook at all. She went with a simple elegant look.  She purposely applied the inks so that they blended beautifully to create the effect below.  It looked even better in person.
Jessica, also simplified the decorative removable leather spine so that it complimented the travelers notebook that she made.  You can see more of Jessica's planners (and upcoming events) on her website or follow her on the  Green & Lyme Facebook page.

Keely (known for her handmade dolls on and handmade travelers notebooks on Etsy) decided to blanket stitch her leather travelers notebook instead of using the traditional stitch.  Her book has a green sheen to it but for some reason my camera did not really pick it up.  There is a better picture of it on her instagram at @oddgirljournals.

Another class member made one out of suede that looks stunning. If I can find out who made this one, I will list her instagram later.

Some people embossed their leather travelers notebooks. Some just painted the leather with alcohol inks.  Some beaded their travelers notebook and some did not.  However,  all of them came out beautiful and each reflected the vision of the person who made it.  You can see more examples of the various travelers notebooks that we all created on Instagram at the @plannerfriendsevents pages.

Personally, I found that this beading process took a long time for me to finish beading my field note sized travelers notebook. In the end,  it was well worth the effort.  I know have extreme respect for those vendors who make these type of travelers journals.  I also will not feel guilty to pay a little more for them to personalize my books for me.  If you want to learn to make your own travelers notebook or learn some leather techniques, I recommend taking a class.  Tammy Santana's beaded travelers notebook class was so easy and fun to do.  It was also a fun social occasion where I got to meet some really talented ladies.   I know that I can not wait to see what Tammy will be teaching at her next class.  You can find her on Facebook and/or her blog.  For those of us who do not have enough free time to make up our own removable spine, we are trying to convince Tammy to sell a few on Instagram.  I will let you know if she decides to make a few to sell.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I paid for my class with my own funds.