Leather journals are beloved by writers and hobbyists alike, and today, they’re more accessible and affordable than ever. With so many options, colors, and styles, there’s sure to be one you love.
A leather journal is a bound cover for paper made from either faux or genuine leather. It can be used with a variety of papers, come in many sizes commonly ranging from 4″ x 6″ to 11″ x 14″, and cost around $10 – $300 depending on size, quality, brand, and decoration.
Preference can depend on lifestyle, purpose (writing, sketching, journaling, etc.), and aesthetic preference. Let’s explore which one would be most enjoyable for you to use.
What is a Leather Journal?
A leather journal is a journal bound with either faux or genuine leather. Leather journals may be designed with lined or unlined paper, intended for writing or sketching. Some journals are made with both lined and unlined paper for maximum creative use.
Leather journals may be traditionally book-bound or refillable, depending on the style and needs of the user. Leather journals are a truly personal item, and are available in countless styles, shapes, and colors. They can cost anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars depending on their make, size, and level of decoration.
Leather goods are everywhere. When most people think of leather, they think of clothing and accessories: jackets, bags, shoes, even pants. While the material’s most popular use is in clothing, its historical use has been much more practical.
It’s often used to upholster furniture, but an even more practical use is as a binding material for books and journals. Leather-bound journals are beloved by writers and hobbyists alike, and today, they’re more accessible and affordable than ever.
Also, leather journals are extremely popular for their protective, durable nature. Many professional and amateur writers choose leather journals to protect their ideas and projects in a classic, beautiful way. Today’s leather journals are more practical than ever, able to be personalized, embossed, and embellished; some even include the option to swap out paper for a long-lasting, versatile journaling experience. They’re the perfect gift for anyone introspective or creative!
What to Look for In a Leather Journal
The best journal size for you is determined by how you intend to use it. An extra-large leather journal is best for serious writing or sketching, while pocket journals are ideal for travelers who like to jot down notes and ideas as they go!
The color of a leather journal is entirely a personal preference! Leather journals can be found in any color or finish. Bright colors are a fun, subtle way to showcase personality, while black or brown leather journals look sleek and classic.
Like color, embellishment or embossment comes down to personal preference. For a modern look, an unembossed or minimally embossed leather journal is a great choice. If you love the look of antique books, look for a heavily embossed, beautifully embellished leather journal.
Types of Leather Journals
Personalized Leather Journal
Personalized leather journals are any leather journals made unique for the owner. Many luxury journal retailers give buyers the option to personalize with different leather tones, silhouettes, or cover types. Some even provide personalized embellishment or embossing for a truly personalized journal.
Leather journals can be made even more personal by purchasing handmade from a leather craftsman. Most of these artisans will emboss, embellish, or create a leather journal any way you wish for an entirely one-of-a-kind item. Because journals are often very personal items, purchasing a unique journal is a great way to treat yourself or someone you love.
Refillable Journal Leather
Refillable leather journals are the most versatile type of leather journal. Perfect for those who need a flexible way to write, these journals allow the user to switch out paper or refill as needed. As a result, one journal can serve many purposes and last a lifetime.
It’s important to note that refillable journals are different from leather journal covers, which slip over permanently-bound journals to protect them. Refillable journals are perfect for those with many different projects or prolific creatives who churn out a lot of writing in a short amount of time.
Vintage Leather Journals
Vintage leather journals are either vintage-inspired or truly vintage! Most true vintage journals are refillable, allowing a new writer to make a well-loved vintage journal into a vessel for their own thoughts. Vintage-inspired leather journals are typically embossed, embellished, and pre-worn to appear used, often with a predeveloped patina for a believably aged finish.
Mens Leather Journal
Men’s journals are often either quite rugged or vintage-inspired. Rugged, handmade leather journals are perfect for outdoorsy intellectuals who need to record their thoughts as they pop up. Classic journals inspired by leather-bound books are perfect for bookworms and writers hoping to write the next great American novel.
Men’s leather journals can also be found in sleek, sophisticated varieties. This style is perfect for no-nonsense professionals whose thoughts and information should be wrapped in luxe, bold leather. These journals are impressive and professional-looking, even if they’re only for small notes and ideas.
Leather Journal With Lock
A grown-up version of locking diaries, leather locking journals are often heavy and secure, with a small lock for added privacy. If you live with others who like to pry or travel often with journals, a locking journal may be a good investment. If not, locking leather journals might still be a good choice for those who like an air of mystery surrounding themselves.
Black Leather Journal
A black leather journal is bound in black leather. This color choice is minimalist, sophisticated, and mysterious, perfect for poets, writers, and serious artists. Black is also less likely to show wear or damage, so if you’re someone prone to dropping or tossing around your notebooks and journals, black may be a great choice.
Leather Dragon Journal
Embossed leather journals are extremely popular, especially those with unique, intricate designs. Leather journals with embossed dragons lend an air of fantasy and beauty to an otherwise modern, sleek journal.
Moleskine Leather Journal
One of the most beloved journal companies in history, Moleskine’s notebooks are beautiful, simple pieces that are known to hold up to years of heavy use. In leather, this long life is guaranteed to last even longer.
Here is an insightful look into the popular Moleskine leather notebooks:
Italian Leather Journals from Florence
Italian leather is considered the highest quality type of leather available. Italian leather journals are made with gorgeous, high-quality Italian leather and bound by master bookmakers for the most luxurious writing experience imaginable.!
Personalized Faux Leather Journal
A personalized journal may be custom-made, embellished, or embossed with a personal image or message. Personalized leather journals are widely available for purchase directly from leather craftsmen.
Best Refillable Leather Journal
The best refillable leather journal is one that’s protective, secure, and easy to refill. Look for handmade refillable journals made to fit commonly available paper refills or refillable leather journals directly from brands that offer refill paper.
Classic Leather Journal
A classic leather journal is a non-refillable leather-bound journal. Classic leather journals may be made with lined or unlined paper, depending on their intended use. These journals are often bound in black or brown leather and are cleanly, minimally embossed.
Embossed Refillable Leather Journal
While many refillable journals are quite simple, it’s possible to find beautifully detailed, embossed refillable leather journals. These provide a unique styling and visual appearance on the cover, while allowing the flexibility of adding and removing pages as needed and desired.
Leather Journal With Inserts
For the true multitasker, a leather journal with inserts is a dream! These journals may have pockets or multiple inserts to hold pens and paper scraps and divide the journal into sections to further organize ideas.
American Made Leather Journal
An American-made leather journal is, simply, a leather journal made in the USA. To ensure that your leather journal is made in America, look to independent leather craftsmen working within the US, or look for retailers who only produce their products in the US.
Parts of a Leather Journal
While it’s quite common to purchase a leather-bound journal, many also choose to purchase less conventional alternatives like journal covers or refillable leather journals. These parts may be purchased separately from different retailers, or together from the same retailer for a perfect fit. Purchasing parts of a leather journal guarantees the most personalized, cost-effective way to journal in style.
Leather Journal Cover
A leather journal cover is a leather cover made to fit a standard journal. This may be a good option for those who don’t want to commit to multiple leather-bound journals, but still want the look and protection of leather. Leather journal covers can be purchased directly from many journal manufacturers, but they can also be purchased by leatherworkers for a customized touch.
Journal Covers in Natural Leather
For those who go through lots of journals, a leather cover may be the answer. Purchasing a leather journal cover rather than a leather-bound journal is a great way to invest in a beautiful custom-made or personalized protective cover for journals without having to purchase multiple leather-bound journals. Using journal covers minimizes cost and use of animal products.
Leather Journal Lined Paper Refillable
These are popular because they are protective, they look great, and they’re cost-effective. These journals secure paper temporarily and allow the user to replace paper after it’s been used up. Most companies producing these types of journals also manufacture paper, allowing buyers to choose between lined or unlined paper. For writing, lined paper is the best choice to maintain a neat, organized journal.
Popular Brands of Leather Journals
Rustico Leather Journal
Rustico’s journals are gorgeous and high quality. Marketed toward serious writers, these journals are made from high-quality leather and can be customized in multiple colors and finishes.
Cavallini Roma Lussa Leather Journal
Cavallini’s Roma Lussa leather journal is a classic, sophisticated journal. With marbleized edges and secure tie closure, this genuine leather journal is a gorgeous, surprisingly affordable purchase for any aspiring writer.
Moonster Refillable Leather Journal
Moonster’s refillable leather journal is a good choice for writers who tend to scrap ideas or create a ton of content quickly. This journal allows the user to swap out paper whenever necessary while holding onto the protective, beautiful leather cover.
Common Leather Journal Sizes
|Size (in inches)||General Size||Benefits|
|7.48″ X 9.84″||Extra Large||An extra-large leather journal is perfect for a serious writer or artist. These journals are made to house important ideas that can be referenced time and time again. They’re especially perfect for sketching, since they serve a dual purpose as a sketch pad and pre-bound, protective book for your ideas.|
|5.11 X 8.26||Large||Large leather journals are best for writers, especially professionals or those completing large, intensive tasks. Large journals are the perfect place to jot down ideas, flesh out a story, or write an entire first draft.|
|3.54 X 5.51||A pocket-sized journal is ideal for the aspiring author on the go! Pocket journals are small enough to fit in a coat pocket or bag, making them the perfect choice for travelers.|
|2.55 X 4.13||Small||Small leather journals are great for travelers or those who enjoy writing and sketching outdoors or in museums, libraries, and other public places that may have minimal space for sitting.|
Best Leather Journals
1. Moleskine Classic Leather Notebook
Moleskine is one of the most beloved names in journals and notebooks. Known for their simple, rounded-edge design, Moleskine’s notebooks are available in countless colors and styles. Their leather-bound journal is a sophisticated update to their classic notebook. Available in four colors and either soft or hardcover, this journal is an affordable, classic leather journal for writers, artists, or anyone looking for a clean, classic space to reflect and get creative. These generally cost around $45.
2. Rustico Epiphany Leather Journal
Rustico specializes in leather stationery goods. This tiny pocket journal is a unique, vintage-inspired solution for travelers who need a place to jot down thoughts when the inspiration strikes. It’s available in 6 rich, classic shades and is constructed with a small front pocket specially designed for a small pencil or pen. These generally cost around $36.
3. Epica Dot Grid Refillable Journal
Epica’s luxury leather journals are beautiful pieces inspired by classic leather-bound books. This refillable journal uses the company’s securely bound refills to provide a lifelong investment for serious writers. Available in either a classic silhouette or a wrap style and in 5 beautiful shades. These generally cost around $125.
Where to Buy a Leather Journal
Amazon is a great resource for leather journals. They offer faux and genuine leather varieties, from some larger name brands as well as smaller brands. Amazon is an excellent stop for unique embossed leather journals.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes and Noble is a great, accessible resource for genuine and faux leather-bound journals. The retailer’s commitment to books and creativity means that its selection is excellent, offering leather-bound classics along with some smaller independent brands as well.
Jenni Bick offers truly affordable leather journals for everyone. With countless styles in multiple classic and bright shades, this retailer is a great resource for those looking for their first leather journal.
Etsy is one of the best resources for leather goods, especially leather journals. Etsy connects buyers with artisans who hand craft leather goods like journals, making it easy to find personalized or custom leather journals on the site.
Epica Italian Leather Journals
Epica’s journals are gorgeous and classic, inspired by antique leather-bound books. Perfect for the professional, the businessman, or anyone who wants to take their writing hobby a little more seriously.
Galen Leather Co.
Galen Leather Company offers leather-bound journals, journal covers, and traveler’s notebooks. Geared toward the writer on the go, these journals are perfect for the would-be Thoreau whose inspiration strikes only while they’re in nature.
Walmart offers faux leather journals at super low prices. They’re a great resource for faux leather-bound sketch journals for young artists who want to start taking their art seriously.
Target’s selection is mostly faux leather, but it’s a great place to start for those not sure if they like the look and feel of a leather journal. The styles here are more modern, with some bright colors and simple shapes geared toward a younger crowd.
Etsy Personalized Leather Journals
Etsy is the perfect place to purchase personalized leather journals. By connecting directly with leather craftsmen, it’s possible to purchase an entirely unique leather journal for yourself or a loved one to cherish for a lifetime.
Etsy Leather-bound Journals
Etsy is the place to find leather-bound journals direct from leather workers. These handmade leather-bound journals have the feel of an antique book thanks to their quality material. It’s also possible to find gorgeous embossed varieties on Etsy!
Barnes & Noble Italian Leather Journals
Barnes and Noble connects book lovers with the tools they need to start a writing journey of their own. While they sell larger journal brands like Moleskine, they also offer higher-end varieties, like genuine Italian leather-bound journals, in-store and online.
Leather journals are perfect for professional and amateur writers alike. Their protective cover and gorgeous, luxurious feel ensures that writing will always be an inspired, creative experience. With so many different varieties, it’s easy to find a leather journal that works for you or the writer in your life! For another daily accessory, click here for my guide to leather card holders.
What do you write in a leather journal?
The possibilities for leather journals are endless. You can use them as traditional journals and write your daily thoughts, vent, write poetry, or even schedule your day. Journals can be used to record ideas and make task lists, outline larger projects, or hold a first draft. Sketchbook journals can hold ideas, inspiration, preliminary sketches, or entire projects.
How do you make a refillable leather journal?
A simple refillable leather journal is a journal designed to be able to be reused. It’s also a great beginner’s leather craft! DIY guides like this one from Doodlecraft give easy to follow step-by-step instructions for a secure, no-frills refillable leather journal.
Here is a helpful video demonstrating how to make a DIY leather journal: