Japanese Stab Binding: Travel Journals

In the last post I promised that I would share some of the more advanced Japanese stab bindings.  Once you’ve mastered the basic four-hole binding, you can bring it up a notch and try some more challenging techniques.

I created three travel journals with postcards I picked up on my last visit to Stockholm.  Each book illustrates one of the bindings.  Keep reading until the end for some tips on how to create them and video tutorial links.

Stab Binding Postcard Journal Supplies

Japanese Stab Bound Travel Journals

There are three common variations on the four-hole technique:

  • Noble
  • Hemp-leaf
  • Tortoise-shell


3 Japanese Stab Bound Travel Journals labeled

4 Tips

  • I tried Noble binding first and found that the holes created by an awl weren’t quite big enough for the waxed thread I was using, in fact, I broke my needle!  So, for the second two books – Hemp-leaf and Tortoise-shell – I used a Japanese screw punch with a 1mm bit to create the holes and they were much easier to sew.  You could also use a very small hand held hole punch.

Japanese Screw Punch

  • If you have trouble pulling the needle and thread through one of the holes, use a  piece of rubber cut from an old rubber glove (the kind you use for washing dishes).  It gives you a better grip on the needle and is easy to use than pliers.
  • When piercing the holes either with an awl or screw punch, make sure your tool is at 90 degrees to the paper. If you come in at an angle the book block won’t be flush with the spine. This happened to my Hemp-leaf binding – if you look closely you can see it.
  • If you’re nervous about ruining a special postcard, then practice the stitching pattern ahead of time on a piece of card stock or foam core.

 Video Tutorials

I haven’t ventured into making tutorial videos yet – I will, I promise.  In the meantime, enjoy these three videos by Rose Newton:

Let me know if you’ve tried these bindings before.  Leave a link in the comments – I’d love to see your work.

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One Thought on “Japanese Stab Binding: Travel Journals

  1. Love that red thread on the white book.

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