Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Handmade Leather Kindle Cover & Making of Pictures

About this time last year I got a half leather Kindle cover from Bomo Art. I loved it but it didn't hold up to daily use very well. My Kindle goes wherever I go and so does its case. It is pulled out of and stuffed back into my bag several times a day. A paper cover, even if reinforced with leather at spine and corners, is too flimsy for that so I decided a full leather cover would be better.

I measured my Kindle and cut some 2 mm cardboard for the covers and some slightly thinner one for the spine. For the front cover I made a debossed design similar to the red Carta Fiorentina journal from my last post.

In this picture the cardboard is ready to be covered with leather.
I chose thin calfskin in a very light natural tan tone but was looking for something a tad darker with an antique-ish finish. Back to dying with ink then! On my first attempt of doing that I merely painted the leather with a brush but I didn't like the durability, it really needed the Acrylic Resolene to stay put and not bleed, so I tried another method this time.
I used fountain pen ink again with good results, specifically Herbin Ambre de Birmanie.

Ink is rubbed into the leather with cotton balls (I'd advise wearing gloves)...

... let dry, then rubbed again with clear water. The dye is worked into the surface, excess dye is removed, making sure the fingers stay clean when handling the finished product.
Rinse and repeat until the results are satisfactory. As long as you don't soak the leather it will take this procedure quite well.

Leather is awesome for bookbinding but it comes with a catch: It's usually a little too thick and stiff, especially when covering the corners. To avoid bulky corners it helps to pare the leather down a bit, making it thinner and more pliable.

To do this you can use all sorts of knives and machinery. I like this little toy which is called a leather skiver:

A tool to peel leather like an apple. Works best with veg tanned leather.
Time for the results:

The inside is covered with bookcloth and marbled paper. The Kindle is attached using double-sided tape. I used bookcloth underneath it so the tape can be replaced without ripping anything.

Debossed design on the front cover

After the dying procedure the leather usually looks a little matte. With this one I didn't use any finisher products but it did regain some sheen with use from rubbing and hand oils.

I gave this one to my Mom meanwhile to replace her machine made cover. She especially likes the feel of the leather.


  1. Holy Crap! That is utterly gorgeous. Very nice workmanship!

  2. Thank you both, I'm glad you like it!

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