Holding Onto Your Books: DIY Book Leash

I was talking to a friend last week and she casually mentioned that she purchased a new type of bookmark. Normal everyday, run-of-the-mill bookmark apparently are no longer any good for her reading habits. They were weak, got lost easily and never stayed in their place when she put her paperbacks in a bag. Now, I’ve seen new types of bookmarks on the market that claim they can stay in place. Bookmarks you can hang over a corner and those you hang into books like a paperclip; but I've never gotten them to stay. Instead they've slipped off more often and always got lost at the bottom of my backpack.

What makes this new type of bookmark so great? It’s called a Book Bungee and she got it from Levenger. The Book Bungee looks like a normal everyday bookmark but it comes with a strap that you wrap around the outside of the book and over the bookmark so not only does it keep your place but it also protects the pages from getting torn or bent. When I saw this ingenious new idea, I thought about how similar it was to other book closures I have used in the past to keep my art books closed. Being the big Do It Yourselfer and crafty person, I figured out how to create my own Book Leash. In fact, I’m going to share with you how to make two different versions in this article.

Book Leash without Bookmark Accessory
This book leash variant looks more like a belt and can be used to strap multiple books together. There is no bookmark so it’s flexible and allows you to use your own bookmarks in the book without cutting them up.

To make this leash you’ll need:

  • A strip of fabric the length of what you want to hold together. (I used 3’ for mine, as it’s always easier to cut down to size than to go bigger.)
  • 2 D rings, sized to fit your fabric (I bought a pack of 6 at Craft Warehouse)
  • E6000 Glue or a needle and thread
  • Scissors

Putting it together:

  1. Grab a book and measure out the length you want the leash to be. The leash will wrap around the book, so be generous with the fabric strip.

  2. Cut the fabric strip so it wraps around the book 1.5 times.
  3. Place the 2 D-rings near one of the ends of the fabric strip.
  4. Fold the fabric strip over both rings, creating a loop.
  5. If you have E6000, put a small dab of glue at the tip of the end of the piece of fabric and glue it just beyond the D-rings. However, I recommend that if you sew this strip down so that it securely holds the 2 D-rings in the loop.

Voila! You now have a leash that you can use like a belt to keep a few books bound together. In fact, you probably could use it as a belt if you're in dire need of one too. Slip the loose fabric through both D-rings and then over the first ring and under the second ring to fasten. Pull the loose fabric tight to keep whatever you’re holding together secure. In the picture to the right, I have my hipsterPDA attached to a very big and heavy book to show you what you can do with this leash.

Book Leash with Bookmark Accessory
This book leash looks almost exactly like the ones you can get online, except that it uses an old plastic bookmark and velcro. Not only will it keep your book closed without loosing your place, but it reflects your personal style.

  • A strip of Velcro (I used 3’ for mine, as it’s always easier to cut down to size than to go bigger.)
  • Old Plastic bookmark (or new one, the type with the tassel)
  • E6000 Glue
  • Scissors and or X-Acto knife
  • Book to size

Putting it together:

  1. Remove the tassel from the bookmark.
  2. Take the scissors or X-Acto knife and cut a small square out of the top of the bookmark the width of the velcro. I put mine around the hole in the bookmark where the tassel used to be.

  3. Slide the soft-sided piece of velcro through this hole.

  4. Grab the biggest and thickest book you think you’ll use with this leash as a template. Slide the bookmark into the top or side of the book and wrap the soft velcro around the book’s outside.
  5. Cut the velcro as soon as the two ends overlap. I was a bit generous and cut it a bit larger, just in case.

  6. Remove this from the book.
  7. Now grab the rough-sided Velcro and cut a 2” strip out of the length.
  8. Put E6000 on the back of the rough-sided Velcro piece.

  9. Stick the rough-sided Velcro to the back of the soft-sided Velcro using the E6000. I glued this piece to the end furthest away from the bookmark itself.

  10. Let glue dry for 2 hours before use. E6000 is very sticky glue and it will get all over your book if you don’t wait.

After the glue has dried, slip the bookmark back into your book. Wrap the Velcro around the outside of the book and then fasten the two ends together. And now, you have a personalized bookmark and book strap system that will never lose your place or note papers again.

Making a Book Leash for your book is quick and easy and doesn't require lots of expensive materials. This project is even earth-friendly. Since it reuses old tassel bookmarks, they stay out of the trash and give them new and improved lives. You can take it one step further and even design and laminate your own bookmark to use with the leash. Get a piece of card-stock and draw or stamp on it and then take it to a laminator to protect your design. Then all you need to do is follow the above instructions and you have your own Book Leash. It takes a total of maybe 15 minutes of your time to make one of these (or both!).

I only wish I had bought more Velcro to make more of these because I always carry around at least one or two books everywhere I go. And I hate it when I’ve lost my place and can’t figure out where I was. These would make great Mother’s Day or graduation gifts. I just may make all my friends one of these so they can protect their books while holding their place.

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this is a great idea! can't believe nobody came up with this earlier! I'll be testing these on my textbooks when school starts!

lol Actually, they did come

lol Actually, they did come up with them earlier; they just have fallen out of use for many, many years. ;) This is how schoolchildren used to carry their books to school.

this is great!

This is fantastic! Use a pretty ribbon or a nice tooled strip of faux leather, and these would be great gifts, suitable for any occasion. No more receipts, index cards, pens, or other effluvia used as bookmarks for me! No longer will my cats drag my yarn-tasselled bookmarks across the house, pulled out of the very books they were marking!

As a teacher, may I add that these would make great teacher's gifts? :D

Book strap

Great, Great Idea! As I read it, I wondered about the possibility of using different widths of elastic. I know you can get it in black and white in the fabric store. Just thinking out loud! Thanks for all of your superb, creative ideas.

Original is elastic

L1ndy, the original one from Levenger's that I have is elastic (a nice elastic that has a sort of fabric feel to it, not 'swimming suit' elastic). The marker is also a fairly thick plastic that I like for heavy duty books, though it can overwhelm a smaller paperback.

I'd think a mix of ribbon/fabric and a short piece of elastic would make a nice wrap for most common-sized books. (Don't know about text books or large art books, though.)

Love the D-ring idea. Just used it for a watchband a few weeks ago, so now on a book. Handy little devils. :)

Levenger's original bookmark

I thought perhaps my comprehension skills were dwindling away. I checked, and Innowen did not mention the original having elastic. You'd have to click on the link, to see the photo, which I did not do. I did, however, just look at Levenger's site. A bit beyond my budget, but will continue to look at the sale section, and keep a running list for birthday, Christmas list, etc. Beautiful stuff.

Another idea

Great and nifty crafty ideas. I hesitate to say it, but the rough and ready do it yourselfer could simply use a rubber band without modification to accomplish the same ends. (The rubber band binds 1/2 of the book at the page desired.) I've used rubber bands in this way and, in addition, for the same purpose that Moleskines use their elastic - to hold a book together. (I've done this years before the contemporary Moleskines appeared).

Go for the belly band!

I'd be inclined to make the second type of strap to fit around the books horizontally - the way you show the D ring version.

a) the band in on a longer length so less likely to slip off by accident
b) it works better mechanically to bind the pages together all the way from spine to the open edge. When you put the strap on the other way it's got to be a few inches in from the open end, and those edges are thus more vulnerable to being ruffled/damaged.

You'd likely have to make the bookmark shorter, but there no law saying bookmarks can't stick into the pages from the right edge instead of the top. :)


I am probably the only one here never to have seen a Levenger's catalog..........I guess it is time. Thanks!

Book leash

Hey, I love this idea. I'll be commenting on this later today is my own blog. I'll be sure to use the trackback feature. Now, to check out the rest of your site. Thanks. ;-)


I'm putting together an idea as I read this.

I do cross stitch as a hobby. You could take the idea of the second one a step farther and cross stitch the bookmark instead of using paper or plastic. :)

If I get a design put together I like, I'll post the link.


Great Idea!

This was a great idea and it got me thinking. And crafting. I made a version of this using elastic (it took me ages to find a source of colored elastic....) I put together my own bookmarks, printed them on cardstock, then laminated them. I also added a loop to the elastic to store a pen or highlighter. There's a picture of one of the bookmarks on my Teacher Tools blog.

Colored Elastic


I was reading the instructions on elastic bookmarks. You noted that it took you "ages to find a source of colored elastic." Can you tell me where you finally found it?


Book leash

This idea is immense..just so inovative it has opened up so many oppurtunities for me!!!!!!!!
my friend ws really impressed with the ideas about different elastics!!!!!maybe different patterns and colours!!!!!!

keep the ideas coming bub!

kool idea guyz

hey guys
this idea is ao amzing and i fink that i-luv-books-bohs idea was so cool and i was just wondering wht she was doing on ssaturday??
if she could get back to me we could talk about how to develop this amaze idea
*thought* maybe add icons like playboy or suming cz that wd make it ewll kool
keep reading!