Japanese Stab Tutorial

***This tutorial assumes that you have basic background knowledge about bookbinding principles. If you are brand new to making books, sign up for the Vanilla Joy Craft & Family newsletter to read 9 short supplementary articles explaining basic bookbinding principles such as grain, parts of a book, selecting paper and thread, paper rulers, etc. If you have already signed up for the newsletter, you should automatically receive this information via email.

Part I Written Instructions


  • 10-15 sheets of good quality paper, at least 24 lb.
  • 1-2 sheets of cover paper – can be regular weight or card stock.
  • paper cutter
  • clear plastic ruler
  • sharp pencil
  • paper ruler
  • awl
  • cutting mat
  • sewing needle (large eye)
  • 1 yard waxed linen thread or similar strong thread

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

1. Cut text block and cover paper to finished dimensions, measuring and cutting so the grain of the paper will be parallel to the spine edge of the book. (This binding is best for small books – this one is 4.25″ x 5″.)

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

2. With a clear plastic ruler and a sharp pencil, mark a line 1/4″ away from the spine edge of the book.

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

3. Make a paper ruler by cutting a strip of paper to be 1/2″ shorter than the total height of your book. Width does not matter.

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

4. Fold the paper ruler exactly in half twice. After unfolding the paper you will have 5 equally spaced lines – the two ends of the paper ruler and the three creases created when you folded it.

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

5. Line up the paper ruler with the 1/4″ spine line. The ends of the paper ruler should be centered between the head and tail edges of the book. Mark the 5 lines from your paper ruler on to the 1/4″ spine line.

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

6. With an awl, punch a hole through all layers on each of the 5 marks.

Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial

7. Using ribbon or thread and a needle, sew the book together.

To learn how to sew and finish this book, sign up for the Vanilla Joy Craft & Family newsletter. After signing up you will receive an email with instructions about how to view the sewing tutorial.

If you have already signed up for the newsletter, this information has been emailed to you already.

Part 2 Video and Instructions

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