Olga Riebeling

Book maker / Art director



Bookbinding: Make a Japanese-stitched album!

In this class we will learn how to make three different yet easy kinds of stitches to sew a Japanese album. Japanese stitching can vary in its form; it can be as complicated or simple as we want it to be and with some patience, we could even create our own kind of stitching. This kind of binding comes in handy when we have lots of single paper sheets that we want to bind together, but not fold into each other.

We will start by reviewing materials and some examples of stitches and books, later we will practice each one of the stitches and at the very end, we will assemble an album with the stitch each student likes the best. Japanese stitching is the best way to start learning how to book bind because the stitches are on the outside of the structure and not on the inside. Also, the stitching can be done with different textile materials and be used as a decoration element for the cover.

Our class project is a Japanese stitched album that can be used for writing, drawing or keeping photographs, depending on the use each student wants to give to it. You will practice you stitching, cutting paper and making a hard cover. To practice each binding you will need three separate pieces of binder’s board, one for each kind of stitch. You can share the photos of your stitches so we can all see the results and comment. At the end of the class you will have a medium size album with your favorite stitch.


Binder’s board or the back of a used sketch book 
Paper for the covers
Paper for you pages
Thick thread, either nylon or a coton-nylon blend, also cañamo thread. 
Large needle, if possible with not point
Glue brush
A paper punch or a small drill


1. Simple stitch practice

2. Simple stitch with a corner practice

3. Tortoise stitch practice

4. Finished album! 


You will be able to download a PDF with the templates for each kind of stitch. You can later modify the size of your project with these templates.

Intro video here.





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