Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stab Binding Notebook (with Collagraph Printing!)

I've been needing a little notebook/idea–catcher/sketchbook that I can keep close at hand. This week's craft book allowed me to attempt several techniques I've been wanting to try, and I have a usable notebook to boot.

For the notebook pages, I cut ten sheets of 8x11 sketch paper into quarters for a total of 40 4x5½–in. sheets. I chose Japanese stab crossed–ribbon binding to assemble the notebook.

Japanese stab bindings traditionally use four holes to bind the pages. Basically, you draw a line half an inch from the edge, and then measure down half an inch from the top and make a mark for the top hole. For the bottom hole, measure up half an inch and make a mark. For the two middle holes, measure the distance between the top and bottom marks and divide the space by 3.

I chose silk embroidery ribbon to sew my papers together, so I used a 3/8–in. hole punch to make holes large enough to accommodate at least two passes of the ribbon.

Fun fact: I made the cutting board in junior high wood shop and the metal hammer in junior high metal shop.

Japanese stab binding books can be made with a paper back cover. I used watercolor paper, which is utterly boring left in its natural state. It needed some color, which a collagraph print can provide.

Collagraph? It's a method of printing using thin cardboard plates. You collage or glue items (or other bits of cardboard) onto a cardboard plate, seal the cardboard with Mod Podge, and then ink the plate and press it onto paper.

I used my electronic cutter to cut part of a hymn into thin cardboard. I then Mod Podged the phrase onto a cardboard plate and sealed all the surfaces.

I mixed craft paint with glaze and rolled it onto the printing plate with foam rollers and placed it on top of a piece of water color paper that I had cut just slightly larger than my 4x5½–in. pages. I used the Mod Podge bottle to burnish the paper against the plate to aid in the paint transfer.

Not bad for my first try. I also cut out a three–layer sun to print onto the back cover.


Once the covers were dry, I cut holes in their margins using the page template. I used a criss–cross sewing pattern using a blunt darning needle and silk embroidery ribbon. It really was that easy.

I punched the holes on the wrong side of the back cover, so I've converted it into another front cover.

I really enjoyed making this little notebook, and collagraph printing is a blast. The printing plates can also be used for crayon rubbing.

Crayon rubbing using the collagraph printing plates.
I was able to strike two more items off my crafty wish list of techniques to try. Happiness is painty fingers and bits of paper strewn all over.


Linked Up @
Mad in Crafts * homework


  1. That's some creative hard work

    1. Thanks! It helps to have an art student as a daughter. She's taking printmaking this semester and is sharing her knowledge.


Tell me what you think!