My First Handmade Coptic Stitch Journal

Last week felt like a pretty long week at work. I generally like my job, but things have been really quiet around here. I was kind of hopeful that something chaotic would happen that I could scramble to help fix because I’ve been in this zombified lull, but that sounds pretty silly just seeing it written down. I keep reminding myself that some people have much worse jobs then what I have. It’s good to keep things in perspective. I am lucky to have what I have. Some people have to worry about having clean water to drink or food to eat. I have that in abundance.

Still, I’m hoping that this week if a bit more eventful. At least only have to work 4 days this week instead of 5.


I did actually keep my promise, and I ended up making a new journal using many different types of paper.

The Instructions: I was planning on sharing an instructional post here on WordPress, but I found this video to be better than anything I could do… I basically had all the information I needed to complete this project just in this video. If you do make a journal using the video, I’d love to see it! I think it’s such a cool project and deceptively easy to make.

Belowย is a link to the video. If you’re interested in dabbling in bookbinding the YouTuber called “Sea Lemon” has some great tutorials to help you get started. I ended up binging on a lot of her videos, because they’re just a lot of fun to watch and she has a lot of really creative and fun ideas.

After watching that video a few times, and the video that was linked in the video about Coptic stitching, I got started.

The Result: Below is the end result. (Hopefully the video works!):

For the paper, I used many different types – although around 2/3 of the paper was regular mixed media paper… I used old calendar pages, double sided scrapbooking paper, some paper I made, some handmade paper from an art store, and calligraphy paper.

The Mistakes: There were a few things that turned out kind of wonky with my book. First off, the stitching wasn’t perfect. If you were to open my journal up and look closely you’d see a lot of strings knotted knotted in between the pages… Part of that was because I wasn’t doing the looping consistently on the last holes, and then I kind of ran out of the color embroidery thread I was using to sew the binding (hence, why you will see that my stitching is 2 different colors). ๐Ÿ˜ณ I needed to go back with new thread to correct mistakes.

Also, the paper that I made by hand tore very easily, so the thread ended up cutting through the fold of my hand made paper a bit. If you were to do this project, you may want to use thicker paper in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

The Modifications: For the cover, instead of using paper, I ended up using fabric for the covers. I stuck it on using mod podge.

Also, I didn’t have bees wax to coat my thread with, so I improvised and used my Burts Bees Cuticle Cream… I probably should get some bees wax because although the Cuticle Cream worked, it’s a bit pricey. I think bees wax would be cheaper.

Final Thoughts: After having made this journal, I feel comfortable enough to say that the next one will turn out exactly as I want it. I made my mistakes and learned from them on this journal.

After having done some book binding, I’ve decided that it’s a fun hobby that I’ll likely continue… I have plans to try to make a teeny tiny journal just for fun… Like”fits-in-the-palm-of-my-hand” tiny. No reason aside from that I think it would be cute and fun. ๐Ÿ˜Š

On that note, I’ve realized just how much a paper cutter would come in handy. It’s on my wish list now. I am constantly needing paper cut into straight edges, and have been using my scissors all this time- like a barbarian! (Just kidding).

Ever since I first used a paper cutter in 6th grade, ย I’ve been simultaneously enamored by and terrified of them… (Also-side note – Looking back, I’m shocked that I had access to a paper size as large as I was at that age, but that’s another story).๐Ÿ˜…

I’ve worked with many different paper cutters in my lifetime so far, and my favorites also happen to be the most scary. I like the ones that cut like a guillotine. It seems like they always cut well no matter how old they are. I wish that I could find a good one where the blade slides straight underneath a safety guard and ย I don’t need to worry about chopping my hand off, but those always suck at cutting.

So, I hope that you learned something. If you are even kind of interested in book binding, I’d suggest you try it! Most of the materials you need are things that you can find at Home. Instead of an awl, you can use a thumb tack to punch holes in your paper. For a cover, simple cardboard would work as well. The instructions are relatively simple, and in some cases it will only take a few hours to make. I look forward to seeing your hand-made journals. ๐Ÿ˜Š