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The Home Study video clips are currently unavailable, but CBBAG hopes to have them up again shortly.

A few images from the Home Study manuals,
by Alison Vallance:
type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Back combing
from Bookbinding I

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Drawing from Home Study manual
Breaking the edge
from Bookbinding II

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Drawing from Home Study manual
Kettle Stitch
from Bookbinding I

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Cloth hinge
from Bookbinding II

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
First crossover of headband
from Bookbinding II

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Completing the headband
from Bookbinding II

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Pasting small tuck-in of corner
from Bookbinding I

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
from Bookbinding I

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
German zig-zag
from Bookbinding II

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
from Bookbinding II

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Forming the ear of the headcap
from Bookbinding III

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Cutting position on skin of leather
from Bookbinding III

type setting
Drawing from Home Study manual
Natural hollow
from Bookbinding III

Home Study courses available are: Bookbinding I; Bookbinding II; Bookbinding III; Restoration & Repair; Finishing; Endpapers; Introduction to Leather; and Marbling: A guide to the craft of watercolour marbling.

The various prices for the Home Study Programme components are available on the Home Study Application (Order) Form.

Detailed information is available on the Guidelines and General Information.

The answers to some frequently asked questions can be found at the bottom of this page.

You can read about one student's experience with the Home Study Programme: CBBAG member Cameron Garland wrote on Home Study for the Summer 2005 issue of the CBBAG Newsletter, available in .pdf format (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded free from www.adobe.com).

It has always been the objective of the CBBAG education programme that courses be as accessible as possible while providing full instruction, ultimately enabling the student to function independently. This policy is continuing with the CBBAG Home Study Programme.

Students simultaneously learn to create the project models and to establish a technical base from which to continue to function in bookbinding. CBBAG is teaching to a high standard presenting acceptable techniques and sound materials to the students. You are receiving a solid grounding, learning the basics necessary to build on.

The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild's Home Study Programme incorporates the CBBAG basic curriculum, which consists of the following components: Bookbinding I; Bookbinding II; Bookbinding III; Finishing; Restoration & Repair; and Paper Treatments for Binders. (Endpapers and Introduction to Leather, included in Bookbinding II and III respectively, are also available separately.) CBBAG does not teach paper conservation. All are composed of multiple DVDs of approximately two hours duration each and a manual. A Lexicon accompanies Bookbinding I. Due to the nature of the programme Paper Treatments for Binders is only available as an in-studio course.

Bookbinding I is considered the fundamental course, teaching terminology, materials, tools, techniques, and basic concepts. The projects are very simple and introduce the use of the basic techniques. Bookbinding I includes six DVDs: Setting Up the Shop and Tools; Materials and Techniques, Making a Picture Frame; Sewing Variations, Endpapers; Bookcloth and Board; Making the Case; Hanging-In the Textblock, Adhesion, and Expansion and Contraction. This course includes pamphlet sewing, lap stitch sewing, quarter, half, and full cloth case binding, and concepts of grain, warp and pull, swell, and the joint. Incorporated in the Bookbinding I course is an enrichment segment on Sewing Variations. (Back to top.)

Bookbinding II DVDs are: Making Bookcloth, Paper Calculations, Sewing Endpapers, Reducing the Swell; Rounding and Backing, Edge Treatments; Sewn Headbands, Spine Linings, Hollow Tubes; Critiquing the Fit, the German Case, Bradel Binding. This course includes recessed cord lap stitch sewing, invisible and visible hinge hooked endpapers, simple edge treatments, the traditional two-stripe endband, rounding and backing, hollow tube and bradel attachment of boards to textblock, as well as concepts of the natural shoulder and expansion and contraction. (Back to top.)

Bookbinding II includes the enrichment segment on Endpapers (2 DVDs), which is also offered separately. (Back to top.)

Endpapers DVDs (included in Bookbinding II or available separately): Function and Structure; Demonstration.

Bookbinding III DVDs are: Joint Construction, Packed Sewing, German Zigzag; Review of Rounding and Backing, Hanging on Boards; Leather Spine and Corners, Critique of Student Work; Headcaps, Finishing.

Bookbinding III includes the Chris Clarkson endband, raised cord sewing, German zigzag endpaper, sanding and lining the spine for the tight back, lacing-in of boards, covering-in with leather including forming the headcap and raised bands, the concept of Extension and Compression, tight shoulder and tight back, inside and outside pivot points, etc. Bookbinding III also includes Introduction to Leather, which is also offered separately. (Back to top.)

Finishing includes a manual and three DVDs: Tools, Blind Tooling; Lettering Pallet, Gold Tooling; Titling on the Spine, Inlay, Onlay.

Restoration & Repair includes three DVDs: Mechanisms Causing Deterioration in Books, Documentation, Estimating costs; Methods for Correcting Structural Problems, Assessing Books for Repair; Repair Techniques. Included as well are two DVDs: Colour Theory; Practical Tips for Colouring Paper & Cloth with Martha Cole and The Use of Japanese Paper in Book Conservation with Don Etherington. Restoration and Repair subjects include documentation, written and photographic, estimating costs, causes of deterioration (environmental and internal), basic structures, mechanical problems and some solutions.Restoration & Repair is not a beginner's course. It requires bench technique and previous knowledge of how to make a hollow and the German case, as well as the extended spine liner (lining the spine with linen which is wide enough to form inner hinges), endbands, touching up of rounding, and backing, etc. There are also basic structural concepts which students should have. Students should have to have knowledge of basic bookbinding before doing this course (Back to top.)

Marbling: a guide to the craft of watercolour marbling is comprised of a 160 page manual (including 63colour and 43 B+W illustrations) and three instructional DVDs. This is the most comprehensive home study marbling course currently available. It provides a complete introduction to the basics of marbling including materials, methods, colour, design, and technical process. The DVDs provide three hours of instructional material with Shelagh Smith, recorded by Ellen Spears. While the emphasis is on watercolour marbling there are in addition short sections on oil colour, acrylic and gouache marbling, and marbling on fabric, clay, and wood. The manual also provides recommended reading and suppliers lists. (Back to top.)

There are two streams available: the Resource and Reference Stream (RRS) which constitutes outright purchase with no further CBBAG input, and the Monitoring Stream (MS) in which the student receives comment and critique of specified projects and models. (Endpapers, Introduction to Leather, Restoration & Repair, and Marbling are available in R&R stream only.)

The Guidelines and General Information is available for viewing and printing out. Alternatively, if you would like to be mailed a copy of the Guidelines and General Information, which includes course details, send a request along with $5.00 cheque or Visa/MasterCard/American Express number, expiry date, and name on card to:

80 Ward Street, Suite 207
Toronto ON
Canada M6H 4A6
For more information contact CBBAG at homestudy@cbbag.ca

If you are ordering Bookbinding I, the Guidelines and General Information is included. It is not necessary to order it separately.

• Purchases of either the Monitoring Stream or the Resource and Reference Stream are final, with no refunds available.
• recordings were filmed during In-Studio classes. For more information see the Guidelines and General Information.

Click here for a Home Study Application Form


How monitoring stream works
Courses available
Level of difficulty
Length of time to complete
Tools and materials; approximate cost
I have some bookbinding experience, can I start with Bookbinding II?
Non-member price
Can DVDs be purchased on their own?
Switching to Monitoring Stream

How does the Monitoring Stream work?

The student sends models specified as projects and models under "Chart of Units for Submission" in both the Manual and the Guidelines. Some are completed projects but some are models to show a particular technique. For example in Bookbinding I: a sample of sized cloth; an all-along sewn textblock, with cloth, quarter-covered case etc.

The submission is critiqued by an instructor. You will be informed of the name and e-mail address of your mentor. Mentors are assigned by the Home Study registrar.

Submissions are returned to the student within 6 weeks, with suggestions of any models to be repeated or what to correct in the next submission.

What courses are available?

The Home Study courses are Bookbinding I, Bookbinding II, Bookbinding II, Endpapers, Introduction to Leather, and Restoration and Repair, and Finishing. Some segments include an enrichment segment as well as the basic curriculum. Bookbinding I includes one DVD on Sewing Variations. Bookbinding II includes Endpapers (also available separately). Bookbinding III includes Introduction to Leather (also available separately). Restoration and Repair includes Colour Theory: Practical Tips for Colouring Paper & Cloth with Martha Cole and The Use of Japanese Paper in Book Conservation with Don Etherington. Although not part of the core curriulum, Marbling: a guide to the craft of watercolour marbling is also available.

How difficult is the programme?

The Home Study Programme is not a small task to undertake. CBBAG understands very well the difficulties of trying to teach yourself this very complex and demanding craft, and are presenting enough detail to make it possible.

The projects in Bookbinding I are progressive in complexity, so that you are, in the last one, reaching the point we want you to get to in Bookbinding I: a German case, tape-sewn book with invisible hinge hooked endpapers, and with good basic bench technique. With each sewing technique a complexity is added. It is intended that students learn to stabilize boards, to tuck-in the little extra cloth at the corners to eliminate fraying, and to work the covering material well down into the joints and attached to the edges of the boards. The manual has been written as if the student has no previous experience.

In Bookbinding II you are introduced to recessed cord sewing, sewn endbands, rounding and backing, and the Bradel as the transition from case binding to true binding with boards attached to the textblock before covering-in, as well as the concept of expansion and contraction.

In Bookbinding III you are introduced to raised cord sewing, the German zigzag endpaper, Chris Clarkson endband, the tight back/tight shoulder construction, lacing-in of boards, covering-in with leather, and raised cords, as well as the extremely important concept of extension and compression.

A number of students have commented on the fun they are having while they are working on the programme.

How long does the Home Study Programme take to complete?

The length of time the curriculum takes depends on the student - how well and easily they are able to work independently, and from written and visual material. It is not easy and not quick to do but some have done very well indeed. You should figure on at least six months per segment, for the five segments currently available or in process.

What tools and supplies are required, and what is the cost?

1) The tools are discussed at length on one of the DVDs of Bookbinding I.

There is a bone folder included with the Bookbinding I segment because that is the only specialized tool the student must have. You do need a ruler which is not heavily scored so that it doesn't catch the teeth of the knife in cutting, a solid utility knife (Olfa) and/or scalpel, a square, and a couple of ordinary brushes for adhesive. All of these should be fairly easily available. The most difficult tool to get a decent version of and the most expensive are the dividers. You can get those from Lee Valley, Talas, or other sources in the suppliers list you receive with the Bookbinding I segment. The total cost of tools will likely average $150 CDN but certainly may be less.

2) In terms of the cost of materials, that varies with the student, but many have some materials already on hand. Since you are working with quite small models you can often use a part of a sheet of Japanese paper or matt board.

If you are purchasing everything you would need one sheet of matt board, 10 or 12 sheets of text weight paper, one sheet of Japanese backing paper, one sheet of decorated Japanese paper or nice western paper, some small pieces of fabric, some wheat starch, and a small quantity of PVA glue. The estimated total cost at not more than $100 (if you are able to control your desire for the gorgeous Japanese papers).

The papers are available from The Paper Place, Woolfitt's Art Enterprises, Talas, Daniel Smith, etc. Again sources are listed in the suppliers list.

I have some bookbinding experience, can I start with Bookbinding II?While a few of the essential techniques are repeated in Bookbinding II, you should consult the checklist of what you should be familiar with after completing Bookbinding I, before considering starting with Bookbinding II.

Does the non-member price include membership in CBBAG? And, if I was to purchase the next level would it then be at the member price?

Yes, the non-member price includes a one-year membership in CBBAG, so you could purchase the next level at the membersâ price as long as it was within your membership year.

I do not wish to take your home study course but I would like to buy the DVDs on their own, without purchasing the manuals. Is this possible?

No, CBBAG does not break up the component parts of any Home Study package, except where specifically stated otherwise. (For example Endpapers and Introduction to Leather are available separately, as well as parts of Bookbinding II and III).

Please note that Home Study is offered in a Resource and Reference Stream at a lower rate than the Monitoring Stream, since you may not consider the critiques essential for you.

The DVDs and manuals are considered complementary to each other, with much general background and/or enrichment material in each. Although you may not feel that you need the projects, this general information material could be very valuable to you.

If I purchase a component of the Home Study Programme, eg. Bookbinding I, in the Resource & Reference Stream, then find I would like to switch to the Monitoring Stream, would I have to pay the full price to enter the Monitoring Stream, or just the difference in prices between the two streams?

You would just pay the difference in the price between the two streams for that particular component. This has happened a number of times where people decide that they would like the critiques once they start the programme or wish to be able to continue with the next level by taking an in-studio course for which a pre-requisite is required.

Does successful completion of the monitoring stream result in a credential (diploma, certificate) from CBBAG?

CBBAG gives a "certificate of completion" on completion of all six of the core courses whether Monitoring Stream Home Study or In-studio. The six are Bookbinding I, Bookbinding II (including Endpapers), Bookbinding III (including Introduction to Leather), Restoration & Repair, Finishing, and Paper Treatments for Binders, (please note that Paper Treatments for Binders is only offered In-studio).

This is not a formal acreditation. However, CBBAG has had students who were already working in conservation jobs who started back at the beginning with CBBAG, completed the 6 courses, and were extremely pleased with the mass of material they had learned and found it extremely useful in their work.

(Return to general information.)

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