Pamphlet Stitch Binding

Stitch-bound junk journals look the most like traditionally bound hardcover books. They consist of paper signatures sewn into a book spine.

There are many different stitching methods but I prefer the pamphlet stitch. It's easy and looks great. With the basic cutting and sewing tools listed here, you can make a pamphlet stitch junk journal in no time.

I like to use the 3-hole pamphlet stitch on books shorter than 7 inches tall, and the 5-hole pamphlet stitch for taller books. This ensures that your signatures will be more stable.

A signature is a set of pages that have been folded to create a booklet to sew into a journal.

3-hole pamphlet stitch tutorial

To determine how many signatures to include in a junk journal, I use this basic guideline: for a one inch spine, I use three signatures. For a one and a half inch spine, I use five. In the end, I prefer that there be no more than a quarter inch gap between the signatures. 

And depending on the thickness of the paper I use, there are usually between 7 and 10 folded papers in each signature.

To make your junk journals look like traditional books, cut pages slightly smaller than the cover - about 1/4” smaller on all three sides.

When making a vintage junk journal, there are different types of distressing techniques that can be applied prior to binding your book. You can coffee stain your paper, distress the edges of your pages with a tool or inks or apply other distressing techniques. This is what gives your junk journal its vintage appearance. 

Pamphlet Stitch Tutorials

For more tips on bookbinding and great ideas for recycled bound projects, I recommend the following books. They've inspired alot of my journal projects.




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