Living in the Southern Hemisphere I’ve always been a little confused about the whole back to school thing that trends around this time of the year. South of the equator, the school starts in mid-January after a long December holiday. The school year and the calendar year are in sync, all nicely lined up 😀 So it feels a little weird when all my blogging friends start talking about back to school gift ideas in August. Well it used anyway until my son went to study Psychology in Canada.  Now I understand, well kinda. I’m still trying to get used to it.  Calin spent his “summer” vacation here in South Africa and he flew back to Canada this weekend. Sniff sniff 🙁 I’m so proud of him, but Canada is sooooooo far away and 8 months feels like forever before he comes home again.

Right now I’m this pathetic little heap of mixed emotions. Click to Tweet

I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with a back to school, or in his case, back to uni gift. I wanted to make something different and as unique as what he is. He loves fantasy, history, people and learning about strange facts that no one else knows. The only idea I could come up with was to make a journal so he could jot down his ideas or write that best seller that I know is bubbling inside him. Something that perhaps the hobbits or even Gandalf would use to document their adventures through Middle Earth.

A back to school gift inspired by Lord of the Rings. Perfect for fantasy lovers and that special little hobbit in your life #backtoschool #giftidea #lordoftherings

How to Make a Lord of The Rings Inspired Journal

Just like Tolkien, I thought I’d use those old medieval manuscripts as inspiration for the journal. That is until I read that in those days paper was made from new-born goats or calves. Ummmm nope, I can’t do that. I love my son to bits but there are limits. Did you know that some manuscripts were even bound in human flesh??!!! UGH, no, no, no – that’s just beyond creepy.  It might be something that Sauron would do, but not me.

Plan BBrown Paper Bags

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

Plan B

I have a whole bunch of these bags in the craft cupboard. They come in so handy when you can’t find that darn roll of wrapping paper 😉 and they happened to be the right size for making Calin’s Lord of the Rings inspired journal. I just needed to cut off the handles and one of the sides. I left the other side alone to add some substance to paper and hopefully a bit of strength to the binding. I’ve never bound a manuscript before so I was just trying to figure it out as I went along. Can you tell?

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

All cut up

The hubby used a punch to make some holes along the long edge of the paper bags. Two holes on the outer edges of paper and three in the middle. They say 7 is a magic number in Psychology and in numerology it’s represents the seeker, the thinker and the searcher of Truth (with a capital T), which kinda reminds me of my son 😉

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

Punching the holes

So now I had a whole bunch of brown paper bags with holes in them. Pretty boring and not very inspiring right? It needed a bit more.

And So The Journey Begins

I found this awesome font called Angerthas. It automatically converts text into the cirth runes used by the the Dwarves in Moria. My son is a HUGE fan of the Lord of the Rings and besides learning the Chinese alphabet in his spare time, he’s pretty good at reading cirth too. I used the font to translate two of his favorite songs and printed them onto the outer pages of the journal, which were then painted with resin to mimic oilskin.

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

When the resin had dried, the pages were bound together using strips of leather. A skewer helped to align the holes nicely.

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

The first time I tried binding the paper together I tied the leather strips too tightly and the manuscript was really difficult to open. Oh well you live and learn.

Making mistakes is better than faking perfections, right? Click to Tweet

I found it best to open the journal up and then tie the knots, so there’s some play in the binding.

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

All tied up in knots just like me

As a final touch we used a piece of faux leather to make a cover. Don’t you just love that web that we burnt into the leather? It’s part of the new Halloween inspired Thinlits Dies from Sizzix and as one of their Creative Team Members we got to try it out before it hit the shops.

A lovely idea for a back to school gift for someone who deserves something a little different. A hand bound manuscript that let's them explore their creativity

To make sure the leather cover stays on I just braided a long piece of twine and inserted the end bits into holes I made in the leather. 

A back to school gift inspired by Lord of the Rings. Perfect for fantasy lovers and that special little hobbit

The etching detail

A back to school gift inspired by Lord of the Rings. Perfect for fantasy lovers and that special little hobbit in your life #backtoschool #giftidea #lordoftherings

Hopefully my little hobbit will use his Lord of the Rings inspired journal to capture his thoughts and ideas. I probably shouldn’t call him that, since he’s just turned 20 😀

A back to school gift inspired by Lord of the Rings. Perfect for fantasy lovers and that special little hobbit in your life #backtoschool #giftidea #lordoftherings

Every great thinker keeps a journal you know. Click to Tweet

A back to school gift inspired by Lord of the Rings. Perfect for fantasy lovers and that special little hobbit in your life #backtoschool #giftidea #lordoftherings

Do you make gifts for you kids when they go back to school? Please share in the comments, I’d love to see what you’ve done. And if you like this idea, don’t forget to pin.

Not keen to make a leather journal from scratch? I’ve got you covered and found these beauties on Amazon Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing ideas to share with you 😉

 

Vintage Embossed Handmade Leather Blue Stone 120 Page Unlined Journal with Clasp
Sale Leather Writing Journal Notebook, MALEDEN Classic Spiral Bound Notebook Refillable Diary Sketchbook Gifts with Unlined Travel Journals to Write in for Girls and Boys (Sky Blue)
Leather Bound Journal for Men and Women, Handmade Gift Set with Antique Journal and Stylish Pen, Vintage and Classic, Notebook, Sketchbook, Planner and Diary (300 Pages) (7x5')

Wishing you a beautiful week filled with lots of love as always

Made with love by a Crafty Mix