Artist, illustrator and maker, Ella Johnston shows you how she makes her handprinted Japanese stab-bound note books. We currently have a great selection of these notebooks from Ella on sale - letting you guys into this crafters secret is a very special gift. We would love to see your versions! Email us at email@example.com
Please note - if you're not confident at screen printing, try collage on the front cover of your book or even just some illustration.
- Screenprinting ink - Squeegee - Pre-designed screen - Awl - Ruler - Pencil - Two sheets of A6 card - 15 sheets of A6 paper (paper weight 120 gsm) - Book-binding thread and binders needle - A6 rough paper
Step one: Screenprint your cover (this is optional of course).
If you’re printing your own pattern, you’ll need to print for both front and back cover. My screen has been pre-exposed, so I masked off anything I didn’t want to print, leaving me with my Song Thrush motif here. I then secured a transparent sheet of acetate underneath the screen (taped on one edge so you can lift up and down) and printed my motif on this first, this enabled me to see where my motif would sit on the card.
To print, you simply place your card under your screen, using the acetate to line up your design, then put the screen down over your card after you've lifted up your acetate. You will then need to pull your ink across the screen with a squeegee
then pull across again to force the ink through the openings in the screen
lift up the screen, take out the card allow your finished print to dry
Step two: Make your book template
Use your rough paper to make a template for where you are going to make the holes to sew through. Your rough paper should be the same length as the paper and card you are going to use for the book. Using a ruler, draw a line from top to bottom of the rough, about 1cm from the spine. Now make a decision how holes you want. The only rule is that you have to have an even number of holes, I have six here evenly spaced. Once you've decide how many holes you want, then measure them out and mark them on your rough paper, you can mark them with pencil or make holes with them using your awl. Which ever way you do it - this will act as a template for making holes in your book, so be very careful in your marking and measuring.
Step three: Make your holes
Using your rough paper template, even up your pages and cover card underneath the template and weigh down the front edge to keep the pages from moving. Protect your work surface with a piece of scrap wood or cork board as you punch a hole at each of the marked points using your awl. Your pages and cover should all look the same once punched.
Step four: Stitch your book one way
Put all the pages together. Thread the needle through the top hole of your book, leaving some thread loose
Now make a running stitch along the book
Pull the thread tight each time through a hole while keeping your top thread loose.
Step five: Stitch your book the other way and link
Loop your thread at the bottom of the book's spine and go through the bottom hole, so the bottom of the book now is now linked. Now place the book on the side loop around the top of the spine and go through the bottom hole again
Repeat these steps with each hole until you get to the top of the book
Remember to keep the thread tight.
Step six: Finish off
Now you've got to the top of the book you need to tie off the thread so the binding won't come loose. As at the bottom, make a loop at the top of the book and go through the top hole, now slip the needle under two of the top bindings coming out of starting hole and tie a tight knot with the original loose thread.
Step seven: Feel proud!
You've made a book - you now officially rock. Now you can give it to a friend or keep it for your self.