Why use a stapler when you can use a needle and thread?! Binding a paper booklet with string makes it studier than with staples. Plus it looks cool.
This brief binding project will work with just about any pages you want to connect, but first I want to tell you about the ones I used. Lisle, Lauren, Sarah, and Hannah are a handful of fellow creatives in ministry who share their work together as A Sanctified Art LLC. Y’all, they. are. awesome. Their ministry provides all sorts of resources to help congregations experience their faith in creative ways. Click around their website sometime. You won’t regret it. The Sanctified Art crew recently released a bundle of resources for summer (which, according to the Christian liturgical calendar, is labeled as part of “ordinary time”). The bundle is called Anything But Ordinary (see what they did there?), and the whole thing seems fantastic. But since most of my college-aged congregation is scattered for the summer, I settled for buying an individual copy of the Anything But Ordinary Summer Study Journal. You can buy one for yourself (or purchase permissions to share with groups of varying size) here. Your order will get you a digital file to print on your own, and your purchase will help support some beautiful people who are following the Holy Spirit’s nudges in v cool ways.
Step 1: Gather the goods.
You’ll need. . .
- Printed pages of your Summer Study Journal*
- Thumb tack**
- Embroidery thread (I picked blue to match, but you do you! You’ll need about four feet, or 48 inches, of it.)
- Ruler, or another way to measure your thread
*I printed pages 1-2 of my journal on cardstock so the cover would be a bit sturdier. Regular paper did the trick for the rest.
**There’s a pokey tool called an awl that is helpful for this purpose (but I don’t own one, hence my tack improvisation). If you plan to assemble multiple journals, it’d probably be worth the investment. Likewise if you want to give this a shot with a group who could benefit from a handle and something maybe not quiiite as sharp. (Disclaimer: awls are definitely still sharp. Make good choices.) There are plenty of options available online for under $10. Just make sure the holes you make aren’t too big — the larger they are, the more noticeable they’ll be on your journal’s spine.
Step 2: Fold your journal pages in half to crease the spine of your soon-to-be book.
Don’t worry about creasing the pages as hard as possible, but do be sure you fold as straight down the middle as you can. All you need for now is to know where that middle line is.
Step 3: Use the thumb tack to make holes down the spine of your journal.
With your unfolded journal pages, start about 3/4 inch from the top of the page, and (carefully, pretty please) poke the tack from the outside journal cover toward the middle of the book.
Add a hole about every inch along the crease.
Step 4: Get the needle ready for sewing.
If you haven’t already, cut a piece of thread four feet in length. Hint: if you’ve got a ruler handy, just measure by wrapping the thread all the way around the ruler twice. The eye of the needle I had was too small for the entire width of the embroidery thread, so I held two strands together and separated them from the rest of the thread.
Thread the needle, and pull the needle all the way to the middle so the thread is doubled over.
Note: If the eye of the needle you have is big enough for the whole embroidery thread, you can skip the splitting and folding in half. This also means you’ll only need two feet of thread.
Step 5: Sew the spine.
Make sure you’re open to the middle of your journal pages. Starting at the bottom, put the needle through the whole set of pages, from the inside of the journal toward the cover. Make sure to leave a tail of a couple inches, so you’ll have something to tie at the end. Work your way up the spine, alternating going under and over the spaces between holes.
Then work your way back down the spine, this time covering the spaces that are left.
Step 6: Knot and trim the ends, and you’re ready for your Sanctified summer!
*Bonus Fun Fact* These instructions also made their way to the Sanctified Art blog as a guest post! You can see it here.