Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bookbinding 101 - Chopstick Notebook

Here's a simple pamphlet binding that can be done by binding the pages to a stick. I have used a chopstick, but it could be anything…a twig, wooden spoon, toothbrush, etc.

Required stuff:
- Several sheets of paper for the pages (10 – 15)
- One sheet of decorative and/or heavy paper for the cover
- One chopstick (or suitable alternative)
- A pencil
- A needle and some thread
- A utility knife

First thing, you need to prepare the paper for the pages. Each sheet of paper has to be the same height as the chopstick. My chopstick is 9”, so I have used 15 sheets of standard photocopier paper, cut to 9” high (A). Stack them neatly, then fold the entire stack in half (B). More pages will make it harder to fold and it might not like to stay folded, so it is a good idea at this point to press it overnight (or a week, the longer you press it, the better it will fold). So put it under something heavy (C).

Once the paper has been pressed, you can make the cover using a piece of decorative paper, or paper that is just a bit heavier than the pages. The cover paper needs to be cut the same height as the chopstick (9”) and twice as wide as the folded pages. Then fold it around your pages (D).

Now mark the spots on your chopstick where you want the sewing stitches to be (E). I have marked 6 spots, but it can be any number and they can be in any position. It is probably a good idea to have one close to each end for the sake of stability, but otherwise it really doesn’t matter. Use a utility knife to cut a little grove around the chopstick at each mark (F).

Open the folded pages and lay the chopstick along the centre fold. Mark the position of each chopstick-notch along the centre fold (G). Using a awl (or a needle if you don’t have an awl), poke a hole at each mark (H). Make sure the holes go all the way through every sheet of paper including the cover.

Start sewing. Place the folded paper on the table. Align the chopstick along the outside folded edge, so that the notches you made are lined up with the holes in the paper. With a threaded needle, go through the first hole from the inside to the outside (I). Pull it through until there is just a couple inches of thread left on the inside. Wrap the thread around the chopstick, then put the needle back through the same hole (J). Pull the thread all the way through until the loop around the chopstick is tight. The thread should be resting comfortably in the notch you made.

Repeat this for the next hole. Put the needle through the second hole from the inside to the outside (K), go around the chopstick then back through the same hole (L). Pull it tight so the thread is resting comfortably in the second notch on the chopstick.

Do the same thing for all the holes (M). At the last hole bring the needle back through the hole so the end of the thread is on the inside (N). Make sure the thread is pulled tight around each notch in the chopstick. If it is loose anywhere, tighten it.

Now the ends of the thread can be knotted. With the needle still on the end of the thread, pass the needle under the last stitch (O). Pull it through until there is just a small loop, then put the needle through that loop (P). Pull it tight to make a little knot and cut the thread so there is just a tiny end remaining (short enough that it won’t stick out the top of the book) (Q). Repeat the knot with the other end of the thread and cut it short.

Admire your work (R). Embellish (S).

Wah-la! The notebook is complete.

If you have used this tutorial to make some notebooks, I'd love to see them! I have set up a Flickr Group where anyone can add photos of chopstick notebooks. Or just post links here for me!


paperpest said...

Thanks Rhonda, that's a terrific tutorial. I've got lots of chopsticks.

MyHandboundBooks said...

Thanks! I hope you make lots of books :-)

MAHIMA said...

its the coolest thing! i was just wondering how books with the bark peice in the spine are made.
thank you!

Speedmaster said...

Nice work! ;-)

Marauder said...

Very nice. So nice that's irresistible try to do it!!!

Mmmm, the entery blog is very very... tasty.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the great tutorial, i made some for myself.

Ali said...

Thanks for this tutorial Rhonda - seems so easy with lovely results. I'm definitely going to try this one out :)

Anonymous said...

Really nice! Thanks for the tutorial.

dru said...

brilliant! i might try 2 make a bound book for somebody's xmas.... thanx for this...

Kuutydruk said...

Thank you! I used your great tutorial to make a notebook too. Instead of chopstick, i used cinnamon stick. You can check that out in my blog.

Your blog and Flickr albums have been very inspiring.
All the best to You!

Chiara Handmade said...

really nice! I love it... the perfect gift for my best friend, who studies Japanese!!! XD
I've linked in my blog:

MyHandboundBooks said...

thanks for all the positive comments. so glad that everyone has enjoyed making these notebooks.

thanks for the link to your blog, Chiara, great resources!