Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

japanese stab binding tutorial

The Japanese Stab Binding produces a book with a spine that does not allow the book to be laid flat. The book cover is made using a decorative piece of colored paper.

There is not need to fold papers to create separate book signatures. Instead, the papers are merely gathered and the holes for binding are ‘stabbed’ into the paper.

You can vary the width of your book spine.

Best of all, no glue required!

Compared to Coptic Binding and Case Binding, a Japanese Stab Binding book project takes relatively less time.

Japanese Stab Binding book projects can be modified to produce books with different feels.

You can make an oriental looking book with brown or blue book covers, great looking journals, a thin notebook, or beautiful photo albums.

Do-It-Yourself Guide To Japanese Stab Binding

Japanese Stab Bookbinding

Japanese stab bound books can be of various sizes, it’s up to you really.

In Bookbinding Workshop‘s Japanese Stab Binding tutorial, we will be creating an A5 notebook using Japanese Stab Binding.

Materials and Tools

  • 20 pieces of A4 Paper or 40 pieces of A5 Paper
  • 1 Piece of A4 colored / decorative paper or 1 Piece of Extra Heavy Weight Paper (thicker paper)
  • Cutting Mat (Get long-lasting ones on Amazon)
  • Awl or Hole Puncher
  • Needle
  • Thread (Linen is recommended)
  • Wax (Bee’s Wax or Candle) – Bee’s wax are safer and gentler on the skin, you can get some here.
  • 2 Clips

Explore your bookbinding options with our Bookbinding Essential Kits.

Japanese Stab Bound Bookbinding Tutorial

I. Prepare Your Book Pages

  1. Cut your A4 papers into 2 equal halves.
  2. Do the same for your decorative paper – this will be used as your book cover
  3. Gather the papers and align them so that they are straight.
  4. Place one decorative paper on each end of the text block.
  5. Clip your text block together to prevent the pages from moving.

II. Create A Template For The ‘Stabbing’

  1. Grab Your Recycled Paper (ideally the same length as your book)
  2. Mark out 4 holes of equal distance. These marking should be made about 1cm away from the edge of your template.

III. Stabbing Your Book Pages (Creating The Holes)

  1. Place Your Template on the edge of your book (this edge will become your book spine)
  2. Use your Awl to make 4 holes at the markings that you have made on your template.

IV. Binding Your Book

For Japanese Stab Binding, the sewing process starts from the middle rather than from the ends.

This allows you to hide the end of the thread in the book for a nicer finish.

  1. Remove the clips from your text block.
  2. Prepare thread that is about 7 times the length of your book spine.
  3. Wax your thread and put it through your needle.
  4. Grab the top half of your text block and put the needle through the 2nd hole (from the left)
  5. Leave a length of thread at the end (don’t pull the entire thread through)
  6. Place the book back together
  7. Bring the needle around and put the needle through the 2nd hole (go all the way from the bottom cover of the book and bring the needle out from the top)
  8. Continue onto the 3rd hole (from the left)
  9. Bring the needle out from the top, go around and into the same hole again.
  10. Continue onto the 4th hole. Bring the needle out from the bottom, go around and into the same hole again.
  11. Repeat that. Bring the needle out from the bottom, go around (this time go around the short edge of the book) and into the same hole again.
  12. Go back to the 3rd hole.
  13. Repeat the process until you reach the first hole, where you will go around the same hole twice consecutively. (Once going round the spine, the 2nd time going round the short edge of the book)
  14. To end the sewing process, bring your needle to the 2nd hole (where you started from). This time, instead of going all the way through the entire book, bring your needle to the page where the beginning of the thread is.
  15. Tie a triple knot between both threads.
  16. Cut off the excess.

Photos coming soon.

In the meantime, check out our bookbinding tutorials 🙂