8 Brand Yourself: Brand-erfic Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder

Howdy friends! Today I'm introducing a new mini-series:
Brand Yourself: Brand-erific Ideas to Brand-ify Your Creative Business | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com
You see, creative small businesses usually run on tiny budgets in their early stages, so I figured why not cut some of those costs down by doing little things to customize your 'marketing' materials for conferences, events, etc. Ideas from custom media kits, to fun price tags, to DIY'ed business cards + more. So let me cordially invite you into my crafty brain on how to get your creative juices flowing and show off your professional creative business!!

So let me cordially invite you into my crafty brain on how to get your creative juices flowing and show off your professional creative business!!

It should probably come not surprise that I love rocking my brand whenever possible no matter how cheesy it looks. So when brainstorming ways to incorporate the B&W O brand into my Snap! Conference lifestyle (you know besides b&w outfits), my mind drifted to paper organization. You see I knew I needed plenty of space to take notes, collect interactive/larger than life business cards (like Virginia Fynes and Kimbo), gather sponsorship materials, hold media kits, AND organize travel docs. Whew, what a big list to tackle all at once!! So I came up with this idea to transform a tired old Leather Portfolio/Notepad holder into something I could really be proud of. Or at the very least it could be a great conversation starter.

Instead of paying up the wazoo for customization (and being the DIY addict that I am) I came up with this super simple update:
Brand Yourself: Brand-erific Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com

And today I’m here to show you how it’s done, son!

First (as usual) gather your supplies:
Supplies for a Brand-erific Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com
A few notes about the supplies:
  • You may have noticed my coordinating faux leather is actually two old teenie-bopper cosmetic bags/coin purses/clutches whatever you call it. They were scored for 50 cents each at a thrift store. Since leather can get pretty pricey, it’s time to get creative with your materials!
  • I used a Leather Portfolio from a previous employer, but the Thrift Stores I visited for the leather had a bunch (sometimes under $1) just dying for their time to shine!
  • When Google fails you, ask a friend- like my good friend Kristy from Please Excuse my Craftermath (aka the leather guru in my eyes)- what type of adhesive is best for leather besides sewing. P.S. we totally think alike sometimes as she posted her version of a Notepad Holder (back in March because she’s waaay quicker than I) which uses vinyl.
  • If you don’t have a Silhouette or Cricut, and have better cutting skills than I, you could very well cut your pieces out by hand. 
Next design, measure, and create.
It was a no brainer to go with the Black and White Obsession unofficial logo (aka the blog button)
Black and White Obsession
as the main design piece. To spice things up, you may notice the slogan is gone and instead there's a little geometric pizazz. Sort of like bedazzling but with triangles.

For my leather portfolio, I simply measured the area needed to cover up the existing design and test fitted with a piece of paper.  Then with a sharp scissors, I cut a large imperfect white square from the coin purse. Then snipped off the opposite corners to match my logo.

Thread testing for a leather | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com

Since I’m gun-shy on color (black and white is sooo easy), I did a quickie thread color test on the white faux leather.  It doubled as a test to see if my machine and presser foot could handle leather- luckily both were successful. Shortly after, I ran the white square through my sewing machine real quick to add the teal border which served as both a dash of color and possibly a bit of function. (I wasn’t quite sure if leather frayed over time).

Then it was time put on my big girl panties and face my fear of failure –er my Silhouette directly in its laser beam eye and whisper “this better work.” Aka it was time to put Linda’s leather cutting tutorial to the test. And to my amazement, it worked.like.a.charm as in right down to the cut settings! You should totally pin her tutorial here because it works, and it will come in handy, promise. For those of you who don’t have a silhouette, try flipping your logo and tracing it on the back of your leather. Then cut each piece with your very best (and sharpest) scissors.

Quick tip: use painters tape (luckily I had Frog Tapes Squiggly stuff on hand) to keep your designed aligned when weeding/peeling it from your mat.
Quick Tip: Use Painter’s Tape to Weed design from Cricut Sticky Mat | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com

Begin adhering your leather pieces to the leather portfolio. The directions on my contact cement (and I would imagine it’s similar for all brands) was to apply glue both surfaces to ensure maximum strength. Please do learn from my mistake and do this in a well-ventilated area, it’s pretty fumey.

Glue the leather together on both sides for a Brand-erific Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com

Finally, when it comes to adding your decorations (like my snazzy triangles) if you forgot to use the tape method and/or you used every square inch of that leather clutch like me, use a ruler to align your pieces. Sounds like a simple solution, right?! I almost forgot.

Another quick tip: If you went a little heavy with the glue and it globs underneath your pieces, don’t worry. Either catch them when they’re wet with your finger, or vigorously rub a toothpick over the affected area and it wipes clean.
Brand Yourself: Brand-erific Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com

I know it seems like a lot of work but it only took me about 1.5-2 hours from start to finish (including the design and running through the silhouette).

You should be proud of you and your brand!! You’ve built it, spent countless hours on it- why not add a few unique marketing materials?! Which begs the question: what do you do/plan to do to get your brand out there and recognized?

P.S. I was not paid or perked from any of these vendors; I just happily picked up the supplies necessary for the job.

Oh and be sure to stop back to see how I made these brand-erfic business cards:
Sneak Peek of Black and White Obsession’s Brand-erific Business Cards | www.blackandwhiteobsession.com



  1. This is freakin AWESOME. You are so creative and Silhouette-savvy ;)

  2. This is awesome girl! I love how it turned out! Love that white leather!

  3. Ahhhh!!!! I love it!!!!! *flails arms around like crazy*. One day, you and me have to talk about branding. You are so good at it! And the world is a scary place if I'm a leather expert! :O Thanks so much for the shout out, and it seriously came out crazy awesome.

  4. What a fun "brand-erific" leather portfolio! It looks great!! Thank you for linking up to The Creative Exchange!

  5. This turned out great - love this idea. Such a unique way of getting your brand out there!

  6. This is Stunning!!! Thanks for linking up to The Creative Exchange ♥

  7. Great branding ideas! Love it!


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