Before You Order: What You Need To Know About Your Leather Notebook
Red Pen Traveler’s Notebooks are completely unique handcrafted items, made one at a time in a smoke-free studio in Austin, Texas. We use a unique masking process that allows the design outline to remain the pale buff color of the natural undyed leather, while the surrounding leather is saturated with one of a dozen different dye options. There's nothing to ever chip off or peel up, as the design is permanent and completely integrated into the surface of the notebook.
Every notebook is customized. Thus, I don't cut into the leather until I receive your order, and the crafting process occurs in several phases spread over time; please allow up to ten days for order processing. (In a hurry? Browse our Ready To Ship notebooks on Etsy.)
We use only premium vegetable-tanned European leather in your choice of 4-5 oz or 6-7 oz weights. The smooth interior, rounded corners, and burnished edges of your fully-finished traveler’s notebook set it apart as an accessory that will last for years and only improve with age.
Photographs displayed on this site are intended to be representative samples only; your traveler’s notebook will be customized exclusively for you and will have its own distinctive characteristics.
See the video below to review all the available notebook sizes and color options.
0:45 TINY in Turquoise with Turquoise elastic
3:20 PASSPORT in Marigold with Espresso Elastic
4:25 POCKET Undyed with Eyelets and Cream Elastic
6:44 POCKET in Pine with Premium Spine
7:41 POCKET in Cardinal with Premium Spine and Closure Tab
8:36 A6 in Hot Pink with Hot Pink elastic
9:29 PERSONAL in Espresso with eyelets and Espresso elastic
11:22 B6 in Purple with Purple elastic
12:22 REGULAR in Midnight with Midnight elastic
13:25 WIDE in Black with eyelets and Black elastic
14:38 Eyelet comparison
15:05 A5 in Mahogany with Espresso elastic
16:35 JUMBO in Charcoal with eyelets and Premium Closure Tab
Learn more about the kinds of leather you'll find in the traveler's notebook world.
Each natural leather hide is unique and has differing qualities, including color, texture, markings, and ability to absorb dyes and finishes. These variations mean that even two items made in exactly the same way with exactly the same dyes and finishes will not result in exactly matching products.
I work carefully with each piece of leather to produce a notebook that is perfect in its own way. I pay attention to details and strive for excellence; nevertheless, I am not a mass-production machine that can give identical results each time. Please welcome your traveler’s notebook's variations as evidence of its handmade origin, and consider unique markings as features, not flaws!
Leather is a flexible, porous natural item. It stretches a bit when damp, and shrinks a bit when dry. All listed dimensions are starting measurements and not guaranteed final measurements.
Don't see the notebook size you want? Create your own size here.
Elastic straps in your traveler’s notebook securely hold interchangeable paper inserts; change out the inserts when they’re full and keep using your leather cover for a lifetime.
All of our traveler's notebooks will hold at least 4 standard-thickness inserts, one in each strap; a Premium Spine can allow for 10 or more.
Your notebook does not automatically include inserts unless specified clearly in the product description. Inserts are available here and at many other online outlets. Or, you can print your own for free!
For durability and the best fit, look for inserts with stitched or stapled spines rather than glued or book-style bindings.
- Tiny: 2.5 x 4 inserts such as Moleskine Volant Extra-Small
- Passport: 3.5 x 5 inserts such as Poppin Mini
- Pocket: 3.5 x 5.5 inserts such as Field Notes, Moleskine Small Cahier, EcoQua, or Word Notebooks
- A6: 4 x 6 inserts
- Personal: 3.75 x 6.75 inserts
- B6: 5 x 7 inserts
- Regular: 4.5 x 8.25 inserts such as Taroko or Midori
- Wide: 5 x 8.25 inserts such as Moleskine Cahier, Piccadilly, or Poppin Slushie Medium
- A5: 5.75 x 8.25 inserts such as Taroko or inkWELL Press
- Jumbo: 7.5 x 9.75 inserts such as Moleskine Extra Large or composition notebooks
Cameras and digital displays vary in accuracy; dye colors are generally more intense than what is rendered on the screen. Natural variations in even the cleanest piece of leather also factor into the final color and finish, ensuring that your notebook is completely unique.
Turquoise and Charcoal dyes tend to be more sheer, enhancing the leather's natural variations. The remaining ten dye colors tend to be more opaque though variations will still be evident.
Dye: Choose from twelve dye colors in either Matte or Shimmer finishes. Shimmer dye adds pearlescent sheen and lightens the final color slightly. Colors include Black, Charcoal, Espresso, Mahogany, Butterscotch, Midnight, Pine, Turquoise, Marigold, Hot Pink, Cardinal, and Purple.
Elastic: Choose from nine colors of 2mm elastic cord. Elastic colors include Turquoise, Pine, Midnight, Purple, Hot Pink, Cardinal, Espresso, Cream, and Black. (Can't decide? Get extra!)
Metal Eyelets: Choose from four finishes, including Bright Nickel, Brushed Nickel, Bright Brass, and Brushed Brass. (See photo for reference.) Indicate finish choice in your order notes. Leather is very sturdy on its own and eyelets are not required for durability, but do lend a decorative finish.
Your traveler’s notebook will, by default, be made with four interior elastic straps running through three holes punched horizontally at both the top and bottom of the spine, enabling it to comfortably accommodate up to 4 inserts (or sometimes more, if piggybacked). The closure strap is, by default, inserted through two holes punched in the center of the spine.
Please specify clearly in your order notes if you would instead prefer a different strap orientation.
Leather is the tanned hide of an animal. When it’s still on the cattle, the skin is naturally supple and moisturized. After it’s been made into your traveler’s notebook, the responsibility to maintain it becomes yours. You may wish to use a leather conditioner a few times each year to keep your notebook hydrated and protected from temperature and humidity fluctuations.
The more you use and handle your notebook, the more pliable it will become. All leather will respond to regular handling and exposure to ultraviolet light (yes, it can sunburn!) by changing color over time, with undyed leather showing the most marked changes as its natural patina develops.
Scuffs and wear marks are badges of honor, evidence of a life lived outside the confines of a cushioned box. Leather is incredibly durable; however, I strongly suggest that you avoid folding your notebook sharply, or bending your notebook back on itself— especially when it is new and not yet broken in— as this can cause unsightly and permanent cracking and wrinkles. Some folks recommend "rolling" your notebook; do this with caution and never, EVER rolling backward against the grain.
HOW TO ORDER
Your order notes may not be included in the order confirmation receipt you will receive by email. Don't panic! I do receive the notes when processing your order, though you may wish to make a separate note of your customization choices for your own reference.
Use the menu options at the top of each product page to make primary selections, and then copy and paste any other relevant information into your order notes, inserting your own choices as needed to construct your order. For example:
DYE COLOR: Cardinal
ELASTIC COLOR: Cream
EYELET COLOR (if selected): Brushed Brass
STAMPED LETTERING: TMG
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
If you have a concern that wasn't addressed here, let me know and I'll do my best to work out an answer for you!