Chopstick journals

I just finished up a batch of chopstick journals for a wholesale order. It’s always satisfying to see a fresh stack of books sitting on my work table. I’ve been making this style of journal for at least 4 years. I’d have to go back through my files to know for sure. You can see more of my current designs on Etsy.

Handmade journals by Blue Roof Designs

When I developed designs that became part of my production line, I decided that I was going to make each design in a limited edition of 24 books. For some reason, I never let people know that and it also never occurred to me to number them as an edition. I think that part of me was afraid that if a design didn’t take off, then I’d be stuck with 24 of the same book.

I am rather obsessed with finding the right chopsticks to match a cover paper. I have 2 plastic shoe boxes full of chopsticks.

Plastic tubs filled with chopsticks

I have been to at least half a dozen Chinatowns across the country. I have spent hours combing the internet. My favorite online retailer is Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen. They have lovely designs available.

I have to say that I have a chopstick nemesis.

I found the most perfect chopstick design in a grocery store in the Boston Chinatown. They were purple with gold and silver cranes on them and they were fabulous when matched with a purple Yuzen paper decorated with cranes. I was in heaven. They came in pack of 5 pairs and cost only $1.99!

Purple chopsticks decorated with gold and silver cranes

But the store only had one pack.

And I can’t find them any where else – I have Googled “purple chopsticks with cranes” more times than I care to count. I seem to have no problem finding the exact design on black, red, and white chopsticks, but not purple.

It’s like I found the last existing pack in the universe.

I am putting out a challenge to anyone reading this – if you can find me a source of 19 pairs of this chopstick design (hopefully under $2.50 a pair), I will happily give you one of the journals incorporating them.

I’m not the first person to use chopsticks in a binding. Rhonda, owner of the MyHandboundBooks shop on Etsy, has published a tutorial on her blog that shows her use of chopsticks in a pamphlet binding. She also created a Flickr group where folks can post their own chopstick journals that have been made using her tutorial. Her books use only one chopstick, while I use two. I can’t bear to separate a pair of chopsticks – they’re married!

If you have used chopsticks in a binding before, please post a link to your images. I’d love to see them!

4 Responses to “Chopstick journals”

By Christine - 25 July 2008 Reply

Hello Elissa,
How are you? Check your email (or your spam if my email got caught in your spam). I just sent you a photo of a really, really nice store which specializes in … paper!!!
You would go crazy there!
And it is in driving distance of Montpelier! Enjoy.

By elissa - 27 July 2008 Reply

Christine –

I’m always up for a new paper store!

Now I just need to replace the passport I lost on my vacation so I can actually go into Canada. 🙁


By Alymah - 9 July 2014 Reply

I found the purple chopsticks, but they don’t sell them individually. Maybe you can ask..? Anyway, here’s the website. ..hope it helps!

By Elissa - 11 July 2014 Reply

Alymah –

Thanks so much for the link!


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