The stab binding is an elegant and simple binding method that you can use with single sheets or signatures. This 4-hole bind is quick and binds all sheets and the covers together at the same time.
Materials – Stab binding
- 2 sheets decorative scrapbook paper, cut to exactly the size of the pages
- Sheets of paper for pages – can be folded into signatures or loose leaf
- Embroidery thread
- Beeswax (recommended)
- Awl or push drill (example uses a 2mm push drill)
- Tapestry needle or curved bookbinder’s needle (recommended)
Prep – Stab binding
Prep is simple for this one; cut your sheets for pages and your covers to the exact size of the closed book that you want. You can use folded signatures for pages, if desired, just make sure that when folded, the signatures are exactly the same size as the cover. A paper jig will also be helpful for punching binding holes.
For a Book that is 6″ tall by 5″ wide when closed:
- 2 sheets decorative paper for covers, 6″ x 5″
- For a double cover book: 2 sheets decorative paper, 6″ x 10″, folded in half
- 20 – 40 sheets paper for pages, 6″ x 5″
- To use signatures, 10 – 20 sheets paper, 6″ x 10″, folded in half, 4 sheets stacked together
- Can use as many sheets as desired for book, books that are more than 3/4 thick tend to be more difficult to bind
- Paper jig with binding holes punched 1″ in from the spine side, 4 holes along the height of the spine
- The jig I made for this simple stab binding has hole marks measured from the bottom: 1″, 2.25″, 3.75″, 5″
- Click here to download a printable jig for this book
Arrange the pages and covers as you want the book to be when finished (covers with correct side out, pages within).
Align the jig along the spine side of the book and stab through all layers of covers and pages along the binding hole marks on the jig. For thicker books, it will be helpful to split the book in half and stab binding holes on each half separately. Make sure the jig is appropriately aligned on both halves and flush with the spine edge of the book.
Select, trim and wax thread for binding. For this book, bound the book twice and used 6 times the spine height for the length of thread. Thread a binding needle, leaving a short tail. Alternately, you can double the thread. Make sure your binding holes are wide enough for the thread and needle to pass through three times each hole. Widen the holes with the awl, if needed. We’ll make three stitches at each binding hole, one passing between each hole and the other next to it or the edge of the book, and one up from the binding hole around the spine.
Open the book to a middle page. Pass the needle and thread through one of the middle holes from the inside of the book to the outside front cover. Leave a tail that is long enough to tie off on (in this example, about 3 inches.
Close the book on the tail. Use a binder clip to clip all the pages and covers together on the opposite side of the spine.
Now the fun starts 🙂
Pull the thread up over the spine on the outside front of the book toward the outside back cover. Insert the needle into the same binding hole, this time from the back cover, through to the front cover. You’ll have a loop going up around the spine at this binding hole.
Pull the thread to the next binding hole, closest to the edge of the book. Pass through the hole from the front cover all the way through to the back cover. Now there is a straight line of thread from one hole to the next on the front cover.
From the back cover, bring the thread over the spine and pass the needle through the same binding hole from the front cover through to the back cover.
From the back, bring the thread around the bottom edge of the book, back into the same binding hole, from the front to the back. This will make a straight line of thread from the last binding hole to the bottom edge of the book.
At the back of the book, bring the thread to the next hole (the first binding hole we bound). Pass the needle through this whole from back to front, connecting these two binding holes on the back of the book.
Next, pass the needle through the next binding hole (this other middle hole) from front to back. From the back, bring the thread and needle over the spine back to the front.
Insert the needle into the same binding hole, from front to back, creating the loop around the spine at this binding hole.
At the back of the book, pass the needle through the next binding hole, this one closest to the edge of the book. At this last hole, at the front of the book, wrap the thread around the edge of the book.
At the back of the book, pass the needle through the same binding hole from the back to the front. The needle will come out the front of the book. From the front of the book, pull the thread up over the spine from this binding hole to the back of the book.
At the back of the book, pass the needle through the same binding hole from the back to the front, completing the loop around the spine at this hole.
At the front of the book, pass the needle through the next binding hole, completing the connection between all the binding holes on the front of the book.
Remove the binder clip, and open the book at the page where the tail of the thread is. Clip the book again to keep these pages separate.
Pass the needle into the binding hole you started with, but instead of passing the needle all the way to the front, pass it into the book where the starting tail is. Tie off the working thread with the tail thread, tightening the knot into the middle of the book.
Clip off the ends of the thread and tuck them into the binding of the book.
Done! This is the 4- hole stab bind!