A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper


It is always satisfying to assemble a DIY journal for a new year. For 2018, I discovered a leather passport case that will accommodate two Traveler’s Notebooks. It makes a small and lightweight companion that takes up little space, but looks great and offers enough pages to keep the writer in me creative and content.

The notebooks come in diary, blank, grid and lined editions all with fountain pen friendly paper. I prefer the Traveler’s #005 with Tomoe River paper that Leigh Reyes introduced me to a few years ago. Tomoe takes fountain pen ink like a champ, but also holds up to a light watercolor application which makes it fine for small sketches or to add extra color to written pages.

The Sea Green (more teal than turquoise) cover from Banuce is eye-catching and just the right size for the Traveler’s Notebook. It has lots of slots for credit cards, stickers, and other bits and pieces. Another passport-sized cahier might fit, but the Moleskine does not. I might purchase the coral to house all those lists and task notes that clutter my desk. Two notebooks doesn’t seem excessive when it comes to being organized, does it?

The leather is smooth to the touch, but firm enough to give the journal a solid writing surface. Either a writing board or a piece of blotting paper will protect lower sheets, but Tomoe has rarely bled through in my experience. The cover folds back easily for notes on the go.

The snap clasp will keep everything firmly inside. The corners are slightly round, and the stitching consistent. The black edging offsets the striking color and gives the journal a finished look.

The only drawback is the over-sized stamp of the manufacturer’s name. It would have been more subtle centered on the lower edge of the back cover.

This is not a pricey item and durability is hard to predict, but it should last through the coming year. It arrived attractively packaged should you want to give it as a gift. Add a Traveler’s Notebook and any writer would be happy to fill the pages. For less than $15, the cover and notebook make quite the bargain.

Banuce passport covers here and here. Traveler’s Notebook with Tomoe River paper. J. Herbin Blotter Paper. Taroko Design Pencil Board. All links are to Amazon. When you purchase through my links, I get a tiny commission but every penny helps keep this Inkophile supplied with new items to review.


  1. A great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great write-up. It’s always interesting to see DIY hacks, especially low cost ones. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Almost any budget can swing this journal and cover. Plus it looks so darned good and works well with fountain pen ink, too. Beware though. They seem to want to multiply…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do you have photos of the inside with your notebooks in it?


        • The second photo in this post shows the inside of the journal. On the right is a notebook with the back cover of the notebook slid into the slot for a passport. You can slide a second one by its front cover into the left side behind the card slots. The cover would bulge with more than two notebooks, but that also keeps it slim enough for a pocket. I have also used Traveler’s (Midori) elastic bands to secure journals inside a passport cover. https://inkophile.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/putting-old-junk-to-good-use/


  3. […] A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper // An Inkophile’s Blog […]


  4. […] A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper – An Inkophile’s Blog […]


  5. This (link below) looks like the same exact passport cover in the article but with a larger color range to choose from, and (at my post time) the price of $6.39 vs. $9.59 is lower too.


    Regardless, at these prices the passport covers are a bargain, especially when you consider the Traveler’s Company rips you off for $40+ to buy one of their passport size “covers”, which are really just crudely cut flaps of leather.


    1. The standard size of international passports (including those issued by the United States) is 4.921 by 3.465 inches or 124.994 by 88.011 mm.

    2. At 125 by 88 mm, ISO standard B7 sized paper is essentially identical to a standard international passport. Any side-bound B7 notebook will fit in a standard size passport cover. The Maruman ring-bound and Apica CD thread-bound B7 notebooks are fairly easy to find:


    3. Save money and don’t encourage over-priced stationary products – print, fold, and staple your own notebooks! Heck, a 100 sheet pack of 8.27 x 11.7 inch (210 by 297 mm A4 size) loose-leaf Tomoe paper costs around $12, which is $3 less than just one 40 sheet (80 page) Traveler’s passport size Tomoe filled notebook. One A4 size sheet yields four B7 size sheets which equals eight B7 size pages. But the real value comes in the ability to customize and print your own page layout.

    4. Here is the missing link to a page with the Traveler’s Notebook size #005, (passport size) refill with Tomoe paper mentioned in the linked article. [$15 each, Ouch!]


    Have Fun, David


    • Thanks for the info. The Maruman rings might prevent the passport cover from closing fully. The paper is nice and I have quite a few of them. I used Apica notebooks as my daily journal for at least ten years. It was good with fountain pen ink though it occasionally feathered. As I moved to wider nibs, other notebooks worked better with my free flowing inks.

      The Traveler’s #005 Passport Notebook is currently $5.29 at Amazon. Prices vary, but I’ve never seen it over $8 at Amazon. With Prime to eliminate shipping, it’s the best deal I’ve found.

      There are other passport covers like this one with an elastic band that could do the trick though the rounded corners might not be a perfect fit with the Traveler’s Notebook.

      Jet Pens is a great resource for a huge array of products many of which aren’t available elsewhere in the U.S. and they are certainly fast to get orders out the door. Kid in a candy store when I shop there. Good thing they don’t have a storefront in my neighborhood. My budget would be doomed!


  6. What a great find! I saved it to my wish list!

    Liked by 1 person

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