Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Japanese Stab Binding

Here is the first post in a series on creating a unique Japanese stab bound book!

Japanese stab bindings are simple and fun to make, and are great for journals, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and guest books. They make unique, one of a kind gifts too!


Gather all your materials before you start to work. Make sure you have a space where you can cut using a utility knife; an old piece of plywood makes a good cutting and work surface.

• Book board, available from art supply stores (enough to cut two covers, the size of the book you want)
• PVA glue (available from art supply stores)
• Utility knife
• T-square or metal ruler
• Glue brush (I like to buy cheap brushes on sale, then I can throw them away when they get nasty)
• A container to pour small amounts of glue into (an old sour cream container or the like)
• Drill, such as a Dremel tool, OR an awl
• Decorative paper for the covers and optional endpapers
• 1/16 inch ribbon to coordinate with the cover paper
• Large yarn darning needle
• Any miscellaneous papers you may want to decorate the cover with
• Paper for the inside pages of your book, however many you may want

Step 1: Prepare the front and back covers

Using your ruler, mark your book board to the correct size of the book you want to make; my book measures 6 ¾ x 4 ½ inches. With the straight edge of your ruler and utility knife, cut the two pieces of book board to the correct size. N.B. Book board is very dense, you will have to score it many times to cut all the way through.

With the two cover pieces in the correct size laying landscape style, measure one inch in from the left edge of both boards.

Again, with your straight edge and utility knife, cut off the inch sections from both boards.

Take out your decorative paper, and cut it to rectangles that are 2 inches wider in each dimension than your book board. These two pieces of decorative paper will cover your book board. Center the book board on the decorative paper so you know where you want to glue. The small one inch section should be spaced approximately 1/8-1/4 inch from the larger section.

Get your glue ready: pour some glue into your throw-away container and have your brush on hand. Starting with the larger section of book board first, spread glue with your brush all over the surface.

Once both pieces are covered in glue, carefully invert and center them onto the wrong side of the decorative paper, making sure you leave a 1/8-1/4 inch space between the two sections.

Now, you’re ready to cut the corners: using a small piece of scrap book board, hold this diagonally across the corner. Using the utility knife and the scrap book board as the straight edge, cut the triangles off all four corners. This is an easy way to make sure you don’t cut off too much.

It is helpful at this point to turn the cover over, and make sure there are no air bubbles apparent in the cover paper. Just press them out with your fingers. PVA is a very good glue, and most decorative papers will dry without air bubbles, but it’s always good to check.

Starting with the two short sides, spread glue onto the cover paper, and glue around the book board.

Then, glue the two long edges.

Now, you’re almost finished with your first cover. If you chose decorative paper for your endpapers (the inside cover paper), then cut it to fit the inside cover. Otherwise, you can always use the paper you will use for the pages, and cut it to size.

Glue it over the inside of the cover, covering up the unfinished book board.

Now repeat the directions for all of step one to finish the back cover.

No comments: