Leather Inlays

I am busily preparing my first art and craft fair. It’s going to be in a little more than two weeks. I decided that I needed some more traditional looking books for this pccasion. Bound in leather, and with a generally less DIY look. And so I engaged in some leather works. I already showed you the first book I made just to try things out. Now here comes the real stuff:
Soft Black Leather with Parchment Insets - Both Covers

This has some parchment (real parchment, not just paper) set into the leather for decoration. This is comparably easy to do. You don’t have to remove material – or at least not much. Only the little circles are punched out. The main difficulty lies in getting the leather on the cover without distorting the pattern too much.

Encouraged by the successs, I decided to try leather inlays. That means you cut away a piece of the covering leather and replace it with a different colored leather. All has to have the same height, so that it smoothly fits together.

keltische SchriftLeder Mini Coptic mit Etikett


Initially I wanted it to be a knot design. In this scan it doesn’t look too bad, but you can see that the upper left corner is far from square, and in reality it is even more wonky with gaps between the leathers, and not nice at all.

So, I decided, next I’ll try something less curvy (the rounded bits seem to work worst), and made it look like some Tolkien-ish Celtic script. – And again it turned out out so odd and sloped that I decided to go for this really simple design you can now see on the book.

The nice thing about the final design is that now it has a real label of paper where the user can jot down her or his name or the content – a real novel concept that is. You’ll find it works really well.

For my next trial I gathered all bravado that was left, and managed to make this: leaf inlay

This time the inlay worked well enough.
But just when I was done I got some paste on the suede pieces which now look dirty, and I don’t know how to fix this or whether it is possible at all. All my scratching only gave it a raggedness in addition to the dirty look. Something like that always annoys me: As a book it will work just fine. Probably it would have looked like that after a year in a rucksack anyway. But can I really try to sell it like that?

And I have not made up my mind about this latest work, whether I like it myself. I am surprised that this book came off from my hands, and I like and dislike it at the same time. Maybe it is just too nice, and smooth: I always think of prayer books when I hold it. – And this is not really what I was headed for. The black smooth leather, the thickness of the boards and the spine, the size of the book – it all fits.

I think I like the black book with parchment best so far, and I am planning to make another, bigger one with the same design. Or what do you think? Maybe try another inlay? I am considering to do the leaf inlay book over again. What kind of book could appeal to middle aged small-town people?

(You can click on the images of the books to get to their Flickr page where I provided some more description and data about the books.)