Japanese Stab Binding – The Basics

Recently I’ve been creating books using the traditional binding technique – Japanese Stab Binding.  And I’ve created a series of short posts about this lovely book form.

Japanese Stab Bound Book Tortoise Shell (1)

About Stab Binding

Stab binding is a traditional binding style that originated in Asia and is often called Japanese Stab Binding (JSB). It requires few tools and is easy to learn – that’s why it’s often taught in introductory bookbinding classes and to children.  The pages are single sheets of paper,  ie no folding and it generally has a soft cover made from card stock or thick paper.


It’s easy to get started and the tools are readily available.  To create these books, you’ll need the following basic tools and materials:

  • Needle & thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler & pencil
  • Bone folder
  • Awl
  • Binder clips
  • Stack of paper for pages and a cover

How to Create the Binding

There are already many fabulous tutorials, which show the basic four hole stab binding technique, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and do another.  Instead I’m sharing the best with you here:

Design Sponge Book Binding TutorialThis tutorial on Design Sponge by Claire Dalgliesh has 30+ clear photos that make this book a breeze to create.

Poppy Talk Book binding tutorialThe instructions in this photo tutorial by Janice Nicolay on Poppy Talk are also really easy to follow.

If you prefer to watch the book being made first, check out Sea Lemon’s quick 5-minute how-to video.

Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you’re only limited by your imagination. There are hundreds of variations on the basic binding – some involving piercing dozens of holes to create intricate designs.  I’ll share some examples in my next post.

In the meantime, give this binding a try – you’ll have a lot a fun!

One Thought on “Japanese Stab Binding – The Basics

  1. Wonderful!! I’ve bookmarked this page so I can come back and reference it. How is your 100 days of Happy going? I’ve only had one day, thankfully, where I had a hard time finding my happy. 🙂
    Take care,

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