Home Study FAQ's

How does the Guided Stream work?

Bookbinding I

Bookbinding I is hosted on the online education platform, Thinkific.com. Mentors will interact with participants through the website where each project will be presented in a step-by-step fashion. The platform will host videos, photos, and downloadable PDF how-to manuals. Within the platform, questions and comments can be posted and answered. Participants will be encouraged to work with the mentor directly but also with the other participants to resolve issues and concerns. 

A full materials kit will be provided to participants; participants will only need to procure hand tools.

Participants will have 8 months to complete the workshop with set deadlines for mailing in their projects for critique and feedback. The workshop webpage will be available for a total of 16 months, but the mentor will only be active for the first 8 months. Participants are allowed to proceed at their own pace through the workshop, but CBBAG encourages a steady pace as the submissions will require time to be shipped back and forth.

Bookbinding II and III

For Bookbinding II and III, the participant will be expected to mail 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.

The submission is critiqued by a mentor and written feedback is provided. Participants will be informed of the name and e-mail address of their mentor after one is assigned by the Home Study registrar.

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

Which workshops are available through Home Study?
The Home Study workshops are Bookbinding IBookbinding IIBookbinding IIEndpapersIntroduction to LeatherRestoration & RepairFinishing, and Marbling.

Some segments include an enrichment segment as well as the basic curriculum. Bookbinding I includes Sewing VariationsBookbinding II includes EndpapersBookbinding III includes Introduction to Leather (also available separately). Restoration & 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. 

The Home Study workshop, Marbling: a guide to the craft of watercolour marbling, is not part of the CBBAG core curriculum.

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 complex and demanding craft. Ultimately it is a highly rewarding craft.

The overall curriculum is progressive in complexity but built on the assumption that you start at the beginning and have mastered the skills of any pre-requisites.

The Bookbinding I curriculum has been created assuming that the participant has no previous professional bookbinding training.

The CBBAG Home Study programme is really appropriate for a person who is disciplined, loves hands-on work, and enjoys a challenge. Understand your own capacity to learn a hands-on skill from video and written direction. This approach is not for everyone and bookbinding is a complex skill to master.

How long does the Home Study Programme take to complete?
For the Guided Stream, Bookbinding I should be completed in 8 months. For the Guided Stream Bookbinding II and III, participants are typically allotted a year with their mentor. However, the length of time the curriculum takes depends on the participant and how well and easily the participant is able to work independently from written and visual material.

What tools and materials are required for Bookbinding I?

In the Guided Stream of Bookbinding I, participants will be provided with a full materials kit for the projects that are required for critique. This kit is covered by the fee. Participants will be responsible for shipping costs and will be charged for that separately.

Tools and materials are discussed in both the Guided and Independent streams of Bookbinding I.

Everything a participant needs can be procured online. It is also recommended that you get to know your local stationery and art supply stores. The tools are discussed in detail as a part of Bookbinding I.

This is a short list of tools to research to get an idea of what you’d need to invest in for Bookbinding I:

  • Bone folder – teflon or bone, not plastic
  • Metal ruler without any backing such as cork, straight
  • Utility knife (such as an Olfa knife with snap off blades)
  • Curved blade scalpel (#23 blade available at medical supply stores)
  • “L” Square – metal carpenter’s square (not a framing or engineer’s square), not too large
  • Spring divider – flat leg, about 15 cm / 6” in size with an adjusting screw.

Bookbinding supply companies in Canada and the United States:


















Non-Canadian or non-US Suppliers:







Bookbinding II and III require more specialized materials and tools.  Some additional tools and equipment are required for Bookbinding II (click here for a PDF with suggestions).

Does the non-member price include membership in CBBAG? And, if I were to purchase the next level, would it then be at the members' price?
Yes, the non-member price includes a one-year membership in CBBAG, so you can purchase additional workshops at the members' price as long as your membership is active. (If you are not a current CBBAG member it is recommended that you purchase at the non-member price, rather that first joining CBBAG, as it may take a few days or so between the time you join CBBAG and when your membership is activated.)

If you are in the Guided Stream, you must keep your membership current during the entire period of working with your mentor.

I have some bookbinding experience. Can I start with Bookbinding II? 

Typically, this is not allowed if you are planning to pursue the Guided Stream. The CBBAG core curriculum is designed to teach specific set of skills, so participants are expected to have all of them before proceeding to the next workshop. 

If you feel like you have the experience to match the Bookbinding I techniques/skills and want to pursue the Guided Stream for Bookbinding II, please e-mail the Home Study registrar (homestudy@cbbag.ca).

If I purchase a component of the Home Study Programme, e.g., Bookbinding I in the Independent Stream, then find I would like to switch to the Guided Stream, would I have to pay the full price to enter the Guided Stream or just the difference in prices between the two streams?

For Bookbinding I, the curriculum between the Guided Stream and the Independent Stream is different, so participants will have to pay the full price to enter the Guided Stream. 

For Bookbinding II and III, participants are currently allowed to pay the difference in the price between the two streams for that particular workshop.

In making their decision about which stream to purchase, participants should consider that only the Guided Stream serves as a pre-requisite for more advanced in-person or Guided Stream workshops or for the CBBAG certificate of completion.

Does successful completion of the Guided Stream result in a credential (diploma or certificate) from CBBAG?
CBBAG gives a Certificate of Completion on completion of all six of the Core Curriculum workshops whether taken in-person or a combination of in-person and Guided Stream Home Study. The six workshops are: Bookbinding III, and IIIRestoration & RepairFinishing, and Paper Treatments for Binders.

Independent Stream workshops do not count towards the certificate.

Note that only Bookbinding III, and III are available through the Guided Stream of the Home Study Programme; therefore, in order to qualify for a Certificate of Completion, one must complete FinishingRestoration & Repair, and Paper Treatments for Binders in-person. 

The Certificate of Completion is not formal accreditation; rather, it is an acknowledgment that the holder has completed the six foundation workshops in bookbinding. However, CBBAG has had participants who were already working in conservation jobs who started back at the beginning with CBBAG, completed the six workshops, and were extremely pleased with the mass of material they had learned and found it extremely useful in their work.

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