Create an elegant, strong, three-hole stab binding with painted covers.
You will need:
- Around eight sheets of soft thick paper – I’ve used 320gsm cotton Khadi paper 15cm x 10.5cm
- Thread – I’ve used pale blue waxed linen
- Watercolour paint or ink
- Bulldog clip
Once you’ve painted the covers and let them dry, we’ll be ready to mark the sewing holes. I went for a simple watercolour wash, like a horizon line at sea.
Pencil in three holes: One at the top, a centimetre down and a centimetre in from the left hand side. The second hole in the middle, around half way down, and one centimetre in (….I’ve used the watercolour line as a guide.) And finally the third hole, equal distance in from the left and up from the bottom edge.
Make sure your pages line up by gently banging them down squarely on a flat surface. Using an awl, carefully prick the holes right through all the pages, straight down through the book – watch out for what’s underneath!
When your holes are pricked right through, and the pages are banged square again, you can place the bulldog clip on the fore-edge (on the right hand side.)
Load your needle with thread – four times the height of the book will be plenty. You don’t need a knot.
Begin by finding the centre of the book – Mine has eight pages, so I’m starting four pages in – Take your needle through from the middle hole to the front outside cover. Let the (7cm-ish) tail hang down into the book.
Now take your needle along to the top hole, and go through all the pages.
Wrap the thread right around the spine and go back in to the same hole.
Pull the thread tight so that it really bites in to the soft paper.
Go down to the middle hole on the back cover and come through to the front.
At this point don’t wrap around the spine, but continue down to the bottom hole….
…and get ready to wrap around the spine again, back in to the same hole.
Remember to keep the tension tight.
Come back to the middle hole.
Now, instead of taking the needle right the way through the book…
…you’re going to do a little shimmy – wiggle the needle so that it comes out in the centre of your book…
…reunited with the tail end.
Tie off with a double knot (aka a reef knot) then trim and tuck the ends away neatly.
Simple and strong.
Make another one!
Make a series!
Experiment with cover design and the middle sewing hole position.
This is the step by step photographic version of the project developed for Toast‘s Time to Make series – you can watch the short film on their IGTV channel published 21st May. You’ll need an Instagram account to view it.