My Very Own DIY Midori Notebook

Over the past 1+ year, I’ve been using a faux leather notebook. Unfortunately, in the recent weeks, some of its parts started to disintegrate. Though, as a whole, the notebook was not usable, the faux leather was still in pretty good condition. It would be a waste to throw it away.

While searching for a replacement notebook, I learnt about the Midori Travellers’ Notebook. It’s a very beautiful notebook with a very charming idea.

The charming idea is this: you take the travellers notebook with you whenever you go on a journey (esp. when you go on a trip abroad), and you fill it with ideas, thoughts, and whatever interesting things you find along the way. And when you’re done with your trip, you should have filled up every page in the notebook, which you can then archive it in your home.

(You can learn more about it by watching this video here:

What makes this really special is the fact that the Midori system allows you to slot not just one or two notebooks, but as many as you want (or as many as the cover can accommodate). They have different notebooks for different purposes, blank pages, lined pages, or pages with squares. Moreover, they also have other inserts like pockets, card holders, and even folders.

It’s amazing!

The price is also amazing…

The passport size costs SGD$50+, while the standard size (a little taller than than passport size one) costs $60+!!! According to the sales people, the leather is high quality and is meant to last you a lifetime. Some websites even claim that the quality of the leather improves over time with use. Somehow, the more you use, the more you develop a layer of patina on it.

I don’t know. I think that’s an overly romanticised view of what is essentially oil and dirt stuck to the leather.

The Midori system is really cool, but I simply refuse to pay that much for a notebook cover.

Thankfully, the Midori notebooks are pretty reasonable. You can get a notebook with 80 sheets (blank, lined, or squared) for SGD$4.

I got curious… Is it possible to make my own? Could I re-purpose my old faux leather notebook to fit this Midori system?

Turns out, the answer is: Yes, and it’s very very easy!

All you need is elastic bands of your desired colour (or, if you can’t find it, you could always go for the Midori repair kit, which contains 4x coloured bands for SGD$8.90), and some Midori notebooks.

I wanted a brown elastic band, but oddly enough, all the craft places in Singapore seemed to have run out of stock. So I had no choice but to settle for the Midori repair kit.

The only Midori items I bought

I decided to make a cover for the passport size notebooks, as I’m pretty sure the normal size is not portable with my bag and lifestyle.

After cutting my faux leather to size, I poked 5 holes and stringed the elastic band through the holes. Finally, I slotted the two notebooks and voila! My very own Midori notebook! No need to pay SGD$50+ for it.

In fact, if I factor the cost of my faux notebook and the materials I bought, the entire thing costs less than SGD$20! Nice!

Here’s how it looks!

The notebook, closed, with the signature band wrapped around it.
Here’s how the inside of the notebook looks. For the fun of it, I decided to chop my Chinese name seal on the first page.

I’ve been using it for two days. It’s great! In fact, the paper quality is very good. I love how it’s so portable. I can carry it everywhere I go.

If you’re curious on how to make your own, here’s the YouTube video that I used to learn:

Have fun! I think this is a great way to recycle old materials that you have in the house.

(If you noticed, I only used 1 of the 4 coloured bands in the repair kit. I’ll try to make another 3 more notebooks. Surprisingly, it’s not easy to find leather for sale, not even at Art Friend or Spotlight! I guess I have to be creative and find other sources)