Bookbinding Tutorial: How to Make a Japanese Stab-Bound Notebook

4 May 2022
By Suzan Lee
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Bookbinding is a long-standing tradition in Japan. One type, known as fukuro-toji, or stab bookbinding, was popularized during the Edo period (1603–1867). It is still in practice. Stab binding relies on stitch patterns. In Japan it is based on a four-hole stitch pattern to bind pages into protective covers. The most popular stitch pattern is known as Kangxi. It is simple, minimal, and elegant.

Bookbinding might seem like a stretch for a magazine about fibre and textiles, but sewing is at the heart of it! Plus, what crafter doesn’t love a notebook?

In this tutorial, we will make a book using materials readily found in our homes. Although bookbinding has its own set of standard hand tools and equipment, we will substitute everyday items that will be just as good.

All images by Suzan Lee.

About Suzan Lee

Suzan Lee is a bookbinding instructor based in Vancouver, Canada. She has been teaching bookbinding and box making for over 10 years. She learned her bookbinding skills at the Center for Book Arts in New York. Her interest in bookbinding started with her fascination with the wide range of materials and techniques involved in binding books. She is a co-founder of the BC Lower Mainland chapter of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG). Through this local chapter, she works with other book artists to help grow the book arts community in the BC Lower Mainland.

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