I have a fantastic intern right now, Trisha Zemp, who is oozing with creativity and enthusiasm. She’s an avid book maker and I’ve been wanting to learn for ages so she was kind enough to teach me a basic Japanese stab method with a twist. You don’t have to buy any fancy materials to do it. All the paper materials you’ll need are from a basic drawing sketchbook. Bingo! 
I thought they’d be perfect for a last minute handmade Christmas gift. And if you don’t want to make it yourself, she’s selling some beautifully made books from her new Etsy shop. They’re made using another method and they are floral and SO beautiful. AND, she’s giving Lars readers 20% off! Check it out here at her shop, A Little Book Shop. Just enter LARS20 at checkout.


MATERIALS: sketchbook, craft knife, bookbinding awl (or nail and hammer), thread (we used crochet thread), scissors, patterned paper for outside, solid paper for inside lining, ruler, pencil, glue, paint brush, needle with a large opening
Step 1: Rip the paper from the binding of the sketchpad. (When you get to step 5 and find that the paper is too big for the cardboard, cut down 1/2″ on the short side.
Step 2: Fold 4 pages at a time in half. Do this 8 times. This will create a book of 64 pages. You can create as many pages as you’d like, but this is what we did.
Step 3: With a ruler and pencil, create 4 marks evenly separated along the side of the fold 1″ deep.
Step 4: With your awl or hammer and nail, punch a hole through the pencil markings.
Step 5: With the cardboard of the sketchpad, cut it in half shortwise so it creates the front and back of the book.
Step 6: With the paper holes as your guideline, transfer the hole markings onto the cardboard and punch with your awl or hammer and nail.
Step 7: With one of your pieces of cardboard, place it on your pretty patterned paper two inches from the edges and cut around.

Step 8: Glue the cardboard with a paintbrush and paste it onto the cut out paper. Flatten it with your hands getting rid of any bubbles.
Step 9: Transfer the hole placement from the sketch pad paper onto the cardboard and bore the holes.

Step 10: On the cardboard that will be the front of the book, score (slightly cut) a line into the cardboard with your craft knife and ruler about 1 1/2″ in depth. This will allow the book to open well.
Step 11: Cut the edges of the paper off at 45 degree angles.
Step 12: Fold the patterned paper up onto the cardboard to create creases.
Step 13: Glue the paper edges and gold them onto the cardboard. Start with the short ends first and then move onto the longer edges.
Step 14: Glue the solid piece of paper with the brush and place it onto the cardboard.

Step 15: Bore holes into the cardboard once again.
Step 16: Now you’ll start threading the binding.  I’m not going to write out the directions but hopefully this diagram will help. To start, you’ll enter from the middle of the pages. Count the 8 sections in half and then enter from hole B and go to the top through the cardboard.
Is that so confusing. Let me know so I can clear it up.

photography and tutorial by Trisha Zemp for The House that Lars Built