Ridiculously Simple Bookmaking Part One: The Stick Journal

@2013 Beret Olsen
@2013 Beret Olsen

posted by: Beret

Ages: Three and up, though the very young will (of course) need assistance.

I love to make books.

I was going to do a very thorough post including all kinds of different bookmaking ideas. But then I realized the enormity of the challenge. There are a million ideas out there, and I am not to be trusted endlessly surfing the web. Somehow or another, I always end up on Youtube watching a couple of nimrods having a staple gun fight. In light of this, I decided to narrow my focus and introduce one project at a time.   



  • A little twig. You could also use a pencil, a chopstick, a popsicle stick, or a fake flower if you’re feeling extra froofy.
  • A rubber band
  • A thin but sturdy piece of cardboard, i.e., from the back of a pad of paper. Corrugated cardboard does not work well.
  • One sturdy but flexible page for a cover. An old file folder is a good weight. I used a piece of Rives printmaking paper that I had marbled. Don’t fret, I’ll show you how to do that one of these days, too.
  • A number of sheets of blank or lined paper for the inside pages. If you want to line your own sheets, or make your own graph paper, try printablepaper.net.
  • A two-hole punch, if you’ve got one. I found mine at SCRAP for about a dollar. Otherwise, a regular single hole-punch will suffice.


1.  Both of the covers and all of the pages should be cut to the same size. I made mine six inches by 4.5 inches, because that makes for a very bookish aspect ratio, and I am a little particular like that.

hole punch

2.  Use a hole punch to make two holes on both of the covers and all of the pages. If you are using a single hole punch, do the pages first, then place one sheet on top of each cover as a guide to make sure all of the holes will align nicely. I find that if you use the cover for a guide, it tends to get a little munched in the process.

Stick binding step one

3.  Poke one end of the rubber band up through the bottom cover.

Stick binding step two

4.  Put one end of the stick through the protruding loop.

Stick bind step three

5.  Stretch the other end of the rubber band up through the second hole, and catch it with the other end of the stick. If you are doing this with very young children, they will definitely need assistance.

That’s it. I said simple, right? Except now you need to write or draw in it. That’s the hard part.

Oh, and by the way…if the front cover is too stiff to open well, try scoring it and bending it a little against a straightedge.

Author: Beret Olsen

Beret Olsen is a writer, teacher, and photo editor for 100 Word Story. She loves toast, the Oxford comma, and all your comments and questions.

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