I Make Myself a Fauxdori

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is very popular these days for journalling. Many people use them for scheduling, planners for work, bullet journals, lists, all kinds of things.

I took one look and wanted one for an Art Journal. There are heavy round elastics inside to hold booklets. When you fill a booklet you can then remove it and put a new one in. It’s a great concept for people who write a lot. Instead of discarding your beloved journal you keep it and add new booklets.

They cost around $50 plus inserts which is way out of my financial ability. Then I discovered an entire subset of people making faux Midoris or “Fauxdoris” as they call them. There are some beautiful leather ones for sale on Etsy with hand dyed leather in gorgeous colours, but again, too expensive for me. With shipping they would have cost $75 to $100++

So, I did what I usually do and made one myself. I bought a piece of 5 oz. leather at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon, so it cost me $12. Then I bought some round 2.5mm black elastic at Fabricland for $3. You have to be careful of the leather and make sure it folds well. Some of the more heavily tanned leather is meant for carving and lying flat.

You don’t want the spine to flatten too much but the leather has to fold over your interior booklets.


I did not have a leather punch so I used a hammer and a metal centre punch my husband had in his tool kit. It got the hole started but they kept closing up before I could get the elastic through. So I used three sets of 4 mm knitting needles and left them in the holes overnight to widen them.

And you thought your life was exciting, look at this!


I used a a 4-length arrangement for the elastic. The original Midoris only have two elastic lengths in them, and the system allows for buying extra elastics. This way I don’t have to use extra elastics, all four lengths are bound into the leather. I tightened the last length up a bit and punched holes in the spine for my closure.


This piece of leather was 8.5 x 11 inches. For my custom booklets I wanted to make sure that when full, this Fauxdori would cover the paper at the edges.

I made four booklets:

1) Scrapbooking paper cover with 20 lb lilac-coloured paper; 15 folios. (60 single pages)

2) Canson Mi-Teintes cover in Burgundy with 2 folios of Mi-Teintes Green and 6 folios of Rives BFK, 250 gsm (32 single pages)

3) Canson Mi-Teintes cover in Tobacco 6 folios of Somerset Satin, 300 gsm (24 single pages)

4) Canson Mi-Teintes cover in Dark Grey with 4 folios Stonehenge Grey and 1 folio of Stonehenge Fawn, 250 gsm (20 single pages)

If you are using a similar piece of leather, I cut my paper 8 x 11 inches, and folded widthwise to get 8 x 5.5 inch folios. Then I weighted them with books for a day, and bound them using a pamphlet stitch. For lighter paper 5 holes is adequate with light bookbinding thread, waxed. I often use colours of Conso upholstery thread for cheap paper as it’s inexpensive and you can buy bobbins of it and then wax it with a beeswax cake. I used 7 holes for the heavier art paper and used a heavier 4 ply waxed bookbinding thread.

After binding I weighted them overnight and then trimmed them with a rotary cutter down to 4 5/8 inches width.

Then I collaged some Japanese clip art from a Dover book on the covers, covered with wax paper and weighted them until dry (usually one day.) I use Golden Soft Gel Medium for collage. To keep these from getting too wet I used a glue stick on most of the clippings and then used Soft Gel around the edges for a stronger bond.

The pocket folder I recut from a regular manila folder. Then I bound the edges with Washi tape to reinforce.

You will notice that one booklet is smaller than the others. Always remember to have your ruler turned the right way when cutting (rolls eyes.) Never work at night when you’re tired. click to enlarge.


In they went….click to enlarge….


This was a bit full for turning the pages for drawing and painting, so I took my booklet with writing paper out. In future I would put less folios in for the heavier Somerset paper. I’ve never tried it so wanted to experiment.


This seems to sit better and allow me to fold out the pages for working on. Click to enlarge.

I made three bead dangles for a decoration on the strap, and I haven’t quite decided where to tie it off so I’m leaving the lengths long for a while. Click to enlarge.


With the more expensive art paper costing me $19, the total cost of this was about $35 CAD. The art paper cost more than the leather and the elastic, BUT I got to customize the paper I used. I find Rives BFK works well with ink and Micron pens, but you can also use coloured pencil and watercolour in a few layers on it. So, although not a watercolour paper, it’s great for a journal like this. Stonehenge is great for drawing and inking and the Mi-Teintes takes coloured pencil, pastel, and gouache.

I have no special tools or large amounts of money, and I would encourage people to make their own Fauxdoris in this manner. The customization possibilities alone are worth it.

I see a lot of people buying multiples of these journals. Why I don’t know, since you can endlessly customize one and take things out and re-jig it as you need to.

I think that if you take the time to make your own and customize the inserts, it will mean more and satisfy you more than buying, buying, buying, never satisfied or sated.

I am calling my new art journal Japonica.





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4 Responses to I Make Myself a Fauxdori

  1. Lovely journals but always remember as my husband says measure twice cut once

    • JJ ColourArt says:

      I did measure twice and checked, and used the 8 inches mark, but the problem was that it was a 15 inch square ruler and when I positioned it at 8 I was placing it from the right end where the 15 was, rather than the left end where the 1 is, so even though it said 8 it was actually 7.

      This was an Omnigrid quilting ruler, so it’s hard to describe how this happens but it can because the ruler is transparent. I wasn’t paying attention and took the mark from the wrong end.

  2. I have seen the midori journals and thought you could make them. I think yours is much better and with custom paper so original. Karen

    • JJ ColourArt says:

      Thanks a lot Karen. For swapping out and trying different paper this type of journal seems ideal for artists.

      I am so glad I was able to find a piece of leather and get one made.

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