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How to Make a Happy Book with Japanese Ribbon Binding

Updated: Mar 6

A Happy Book is simply a book where you can record things that make you happy. In "My Happy Book" I have pages for you to list 50 things that make you smile. It could just as well by 100 things that make you happy. This is a case of more is better. The more you think about things that make you smile, the more time you spend thinking of positive things. That's the point of it. You can make it your own any way you want. For instance, it could include poems, drawings, recipes, or photos. But if you are going to make a list of things that make you happy, let me give you some ideas.

I start with my senses. I think of things I like to smell, like Christmas Trees or freshly baked bread. I think of textures like the soft fur of my cats. I think of mysteries I like to read or the impressionist art I enjoy. I think of different scenes of nature that have held me spellbound, like brilliant sunsets or hanging moss in a rain forest. I think of what I consider a treat for my taste buds, buttered popcorn or homemade raspberry pie. I think of what I like to listen to, music that makes me want to dance or the laughter of my grandchildren. Then I think of other people who make me smile and what we do together, like my friend Susan who I walk with on Sunday mornings. I think of fun activities, playing ping pong with friends at the dance barn or dancing the electric slide with friends at a Christmas party. I revisit memories from different seasons: walking on warm sandy beaches, skiing in sparkling snow, gathering bright fall leaves, seeing the first flowers in the spring. I treasure the feel of hugs from my children. I think about my hobbies, playing jazz on a keyboard, crocheting afghans for grandbabies, experimenting with new watercolor techniques, or seeing someone reading one of my books. Then I wait a few days and think again, because revisiting pleasant memories is not something to hurry.

I've been putting on demonstrations of Japanese ribbon binding to create these books, so I also wanted to make the instructions available to my followers at "My Happy Place Blog". To create a book of your happy things, you'll need one page of card stock, cut in half for front and back covers. You can cut computer paper in half for the interior pages. You will need a yard of thin ribbon and a hole puncher. I use a deck nail to open the holes for easier threading and scotch tape to stiffen one end of the ribbon.

The short ends of the paper and card stock will be your top and bottom. At the top of one page of card stock. mark five equidistant points about 1/4 inch from the top edge with a pencil. Using a hole punch, punch holes over each of the pencil marks. Line up pages and back cover and punch holes using the front cover as a guide.

Wrap a piece of tape around one end of the ribbon to make it stiff, like the end of a shoelace. This will make it easy to thread.

Begin with the second hole from the right. Leave a six inch tail hanging on the front, to use later to tie a bow. Then bring the ribbon over the top and back through the same hole, front to back. Next thread the ribbon from back to front through the third hole from the left and over the top to the back to pull through back to the front. Then thread the ribbon through the fourth hole front to back and over the top back through the front again. Then thread from the back on the fifth hole and go around the side edge and back through the same hole again and up and over through the hole a third time from back to front and then back down through the fourth hole. You may need to use the nail to push aside the ribbon to keep the hole open. This is a good time flip it over and work from the back cover. You can see that the ribbon needs to go into the third hole from back to front to cover the space; then you see you need to go front to back through the second hole. Next you thread from back to front through the first hole from the right. This goes around the side then from back to front and over the top through the back again. Now you have two tails of ribbon that you can tie in a bow.

You may also find a video demonstration posted on my Instagram @peggysullivanbooks.

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