February 28, 2021
Covering a Bible, book, or journal in leather creates a beautiful gift for someone. If it is for yourself, it offers a durable, classic, and earthy treasure.
The first gift my husband ever gave me was a Bible. We were dating and in college at the time. It’s called The Answer Bible and I loved it with my whole heart. He underlined verses, made some notes, and inscribed the front.
I loved it so much I even took it to Costa Rica with me for a year when I went to teach in a rural mountain village in my twenties. It was stuffed in a backpack over and over again as I traveled and explored. I duct taped the spine until the duct tape was falling off too. By the time returned from that year abroad it was tattered, torn, and falling apart.
I kept that Bible, for sentimental reasons, but it was too compromised to keep taking places or use on a daily basis. I was brokenhearted to have to put it on the shelf.
Years later, after perusing Etsy on a Saturday afternoon, I found a solution to my problem. I could recover that precious Bible myself in leather and it would be usable again. It was a perfect solution.
I decided it would also be my homemade gift for my extended family that year as well (it is a tradition to make homemade gifts instead of buying them).
I researched how to cover books, Bibles, and journals with leather, but didn’t come across many resources that helped very much. In the end, I bought some thrift store Bibles to practice on and learned how to do it from trial and error.
How to Recover a Bible, Book, or Journal in Leather
- a Bible, Book, or Journal
- Leather / Suede Glue
- Sharp Scissors
- A Leather Hole Punch
- Leather String
- Sharpe Pen
Step 1: Remove the old cover completely
Take off the cover of the Bible and cut the extra paper as well. Leave the inside “thick” page in tact, as that is what you will glue the leather piece to and it will hold it better than the inner “thin” pages.
Step 2: Create a paper template and trace it onto the backside of the leather
My Bibles were different sizes, so I created multiple paper templates (see video below). I started by taping pieces of 8×11 paper together. I then measured the bible from end to end, including the width of the spine. I then added a measurement for the front flap. Leave only about a 1/4 inch of overhang or else it will be too much lip and not close well.
width of both sides of the Bible + spine + desired width of front flap
I then traced the template onto the BACK side of the leather with a Sharpe pen and cut it out with sharp scissors. I cut the leather just inside of the Sharpe mark so the black is no longer there. Dull scissors will have trouble cutting through the leather.
Notice the small overhang. It hugs the Bible pretty tight and this is helpful when you are using it!
Step 3: Glue the cut out leather onto the Bible
Place the leather and suede glue onto the outside of the Bible and wrap the leather around it. Press out any wrinkles and pull off and re-apply if needed before it dries.
I put a heavy book on top after I press the leather on so it dries under a weight.
Step 4: Punch two holes in the front flap & string the leather cord
Cut a desired length of leather thread. Punch two holes into the front flap. I made my holes a little over a quarter inch apart. Thread the leather string down through the holes on both sides, then pull the string back up through the opposite holes.
Step 5: Wrap the Bible as many times as you would like and tie off.
These make such beautiful gifts! I can see countless ways of blessing people with this idea.
This would make a unique gift for:
- for someone headed on an important journey
- when a loved one dies
- a journal of marking moments