Guidelines and General Information

in the CBBAG Home Study Bookbinding Workshops

Home Study Progaramme Policy

The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG - pronounced "cabbage") is an incorporated not-for-profit, charitable organization of over 500 members from Canada, the United States, and overseas, dedicated to the support and promotion of the book arts. CBBAG has been teaching workshops (one, two, and three days) and courses (five or six days) since 1983, a total of over 900 to an estimated 4,000 students. Instructors are recognized professionals in their fields and have included among others: Betsy Palmer Eldridge, Donald Taylor, Reg Beatty, Joe Landry, Fabiana Mattos, Dan Mezza, Mary McIntyre, Mercedes Cirfi Walton, Rose Newlove, Louise Granahan, and guest instructors such as Louise Genest, James Brockman, Jana Dambrogio, Gabrielle Fox, Hedi Kyle, Deborah Evetts, Carol Barton, Claire Van Vliet, Daniel Kelm, Don Guyot, Christopher Clarkson, Cherryl Moote, and many others.

CBBAG offers Bookbinding I, II, and III as In-Studio workshops of five or six consecutive Saturdays or Sundays, as six-day intensives, and as Home Study courses. It is the intention of CBBAG that Home Study and In-Studio instruction be used to reinforce and supplement each other.

The Home Study courses offered by CBBAG are designed for people who are interested in learning basic bookbinding skills but are unable to travel to centres where such courses are taught. The Home Study Programme is based on the series of courses that CBBAG developed over a number of years to provide an introduction to the bookbinding skills and techniques needed to practice the book arts. Although designed at the introductory level, they attempt to be comprehensive.

All audio visual materials were filmed originally in video and are available in MP4 format on a USB drive. The video format was chosen at the time of filming for its advantage of presenting hands-on demonstrations of the various techniques which are difficult to describe. The videos were filmed during in-studio courses and have certain limitations. Consideration had to be given to the students taking the class. Lighting could not be changed for individual shots and too much lighting could not be used. Viewing the hand-drawn diagrams is occasionally difficult. Occasionally, the instructor became distracted, or material was covered in the afternoon session. The videos (from the original video masters, delivered in MP4 format on a USB drive) have all of the faults as well as the virtues of real life workshop situations. However, every effort has been made to correct, clarify, or expand the information in the accompanying manuals, as required. Where confusion and uncertainties still exist, students should direct their questions to CBBAG.

The Home Study videos, despite their shortcomings, offer a wealth of practical and theoretical material that will be useful to students. Of course it is not possible to include all of the many ways to accomplish the great variety of bookbinding tasks. There are always new methods to learn.

However, viewing the videos and using the manuals should provide a good orientation and foundation to basic bookbinding whether the goal is traditional bookbinding, contemporary book arts, modern fine binding, or classic book conservation. The rest comes with time and experience, practice, and patience.

The following information is a guide for students who have enrolled or plan to enroll in a course. It is an outline of requirements.

A Home Study workshop taken through the Guided stream and completed successfully may be used as a prerequisite for enrolling in a CBBAG In-Studio (i.e. in-person) workshop. The Independent Stream is not acceptable as prerequisite for In-Studio workshops.

The CBBAG Home Study Programme consists of six segments: Bookbinding III, IIIFinishing, Restoration & Repair, and Marbling. A segment on Endpapers is included with Bookbinding II and Introduction to Leather is included with Bookbinding IIIIntroduction to Leather is also available for purchase on its own. Bookbinding I, II, and III workshops are divided into units for Guided stream critiquing purposes.

The Independent stream for Bookbinding I consists of approximately 12 hours of videos in MP4 format on a USB drive, a manual in PDF format on the USB drive, and the lexicon. The manual includes a short recommended-reading list and suppliers list.

The Guided stream for Bookbinding I is delivered online using the teaching platform, Thinkific. The video and how-to manuals will be delivered from within the online workshop webpage. Participants will be provided a full materials kit for all the projects as part of the fee.

Bookbinding II consists of a manual and approximately 8 hours of videos and an Endpaper enrichment segment in MP4 format on a USB drive. The Lexicon is available on request.

Bookbinding III consists of approximately 8 hours of videos in MP4 format on a USB drive and a manual, plus the Introduction to Leather segment of two videos and a manual, plus the CBBAG publication: Bookbinding, Material and Techniques 1700-1920 by Margaret Lock, designed by Roy Nicol.

Restoration & Repair consists of approximately 10 hours of videos including one video each by Martha Cole (Colour Theory) and Don Etherington (The Use of Japanese Paper in Book Conservation), all in MP4 format on a USB drive, and two manuals.

Finishing consists of approximately three hours of videos in MP4 format on a USB drive and a manual.

Marbling consists of a 160 page manual (including 63 colour and 43 black and white illustrations) and a video in MP4 format on a USB drive.

Programme Options:

There are two streams available to those interested in the CBBAG Home Study Programmes: the Independent stream and the Guided stream. The fee for the Independent stream is less than the fee for the Guided stream, as shown on the Home Study Price List.

All workshops are available in MP4 format on a USB drive.

The stream chosen must be indicated at the time of application.

1) Independent Stream: The purchasers of this stream receive all of the material in the workshop package and use these as they require, but do not apply for comment or critique from CBBAG mentors. While there are no prerequisite requirements for Independent stream workshops, a participant would have difficulty taking Bookbinding II without the having completed Bookbinding I or its equivalent, and so on. It is therefore recommended in the Independent stream take the workshops in order: Bookbinding I, II, and III, and then Restoration & Repair and Finishing. The Home Study Independent Stream is not sufficient as prerequisites for In-Studio workshops nor towards a CBBAG "Certificate of Completion."

2) Guided Stream: This stream is available for Bookbinding I, II, and III only. The participants in this stream submit projects by mail to their mentors for comment and critique. Successful completion of Bookbinding I is a prerequisite for Bookbinding II. Successful completion of Bookbinding II is a prerequisite for Bookbinding III.

Guided Stream Prerequisites:

Participants must be CBBAG members during every Guided Stream unit.

Participants may transfer from CBBAG prerequisite In-Studio workshops to Home Study.

Participants may transfer from satisfactorily completed Home Study Guided stream workshops to CBBAG In-Studio workshops; Bookbinding I is prerequisite for Bookbinding IIBookbinding II is prerequisite for Bookbinding III.

Registration and Project Submission Dates for Guided Stream Workshops:

For Bookbinding I:

As of 2021, the Guided stream of Bookbinding I is delivered through an online platform called Thinkific. Registration will be open for four sessions per year. Workshops will begin in February, April, July, and November and will last 8 months. Registration will close one month in advance of the workshop start date.

Participants will work through the materials at their own pace, but the successful completion of certain projects are required before additional work can be done. A steady pace of submissions with accommodation for shipping time back and forth will be expected.

Participants will have access to the online workshop for a total of 16 months, but the mentor will not be active in the online platform beyond the 8-month end date. 

For Bookbinding II and Bookbinding III:
Due dates for the CBBAG Home Study Guided Stream workshop for Bookbinding II, and III are January 31, May 31, and October 31 in the 12 months following commencement of the programme.

Participants may commence the programme at any time and should inform the CBBAG Mentor of which of these dates will be used for their first critique. Participants will be sent an e-mail with the name of their mentor when they purchase a Home Study Guided Stream workshop.

Participants must inform their Home Study mentor of any delay in submission of the assignments well in advance.

The expectation is that the workshop will be completed within one year.

Late Submissions for Guided Stream Workshops:

For Bookbinding I:

The workshop is designed to last 8 months, so participants are expected to submit projects regularly. If a participant is not able to meet the deadlines, a discussion should be had with the mentor about the possibility of an exception. Exceptions will be granted at the mentor’s discretion.

For Bookbinding II and Bookbinding III:

If nothing is submitted for critique within six months, the mentor will reach out to the participant to re-engage. After commencement of submissions, it will be assumed that all submission deadlines will be met.

If nothing is submitted for critique within one year of enrolment, it will be assumed that the participant has abandoned the programme. Exceptions may be made under extraordinary circumstances and are granted at the mentor’s discretion.

Critiques for Guided Stream Workshops:

Guided Stream participants will receive a written critique indicating whether projects and/or units are acceptable or should be done over.

Each project will be critiqued by the mentor on the skill/technical ability demonstrated, the suitability of the materials used (for Bookbinding II and III only), the accuracy of the models, and comprehension of their requirements, and overall presentation.

Mentors will critique the assignments in a timely manner. Assignments should be returned to the participant within six weeks of their receipt, by the same packing and shipping method that the participant used.

Certificate of Completion:

CBBAG gives a “Certificate of Completion” on completion of all six of the core workshops whether taken In-Studio or a combination of In-Studio and Guided stream Home Study. The six Core Curriculum workshops are: Bookbinding I, II, and III, Restoration & Repair, Finishing, and Paper Treatments for Binders.

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-Studio.

The Certificate of Completion is not formal accreditation; rather, it is an acknowledgment that the holder has completed the six foundation bookbinding workshops of the CBBAG core curriculum.


Each Home Study manual includes a course outline, objectives, detailed descriptions of the projects and models required, and directions in written form with diagrams and/or on the videos, of techniques to be used. The location of the subjects in the videos is indicated in the manual.

All material is copyrighted and not to be duplicated. Please respect the CBBAG copyright and do not duplicate these notes or videos except for your own personal use. Violations of copyright will be prosecuted.

Viewing videos:

With the exception of Bookbinding I in the Guided stream, videos are provided in MP4 format on USB drives. It is recommended that videos be viewed in their entirety at least once. The material in the videos will be used in parts, with the written material, while the practical work is in progress. It is extremely useful to review these video segments as required.


Prices are shown on the 
Home Study Price List. Postage and handling charges are in addition to the fees shown.

For the Guided stream, Bookbinding I participants will be provided a full materials kit for their projects as part of their fee but must pay for shipping of the materials kit and shipping for all their submissions to and from their mentor. All Home Study mentors live in Canada.

Purchases of any or all Home Study workshops, either the Guided stream or the Independent stream, are final, with no refunds available.

Support for Guided Stream Workshops:

Bookbinding I:

Each intake group of participants will be assigned a mentor who will work with them through the platform. Mentors will answer questions and encourage discussion with the entire group of intake participants. Participants will also be encouraged to support each other in the online environment.  

In the case of a particularly large group of participants, CBBAG might assign two mentors to that session. The mentor’s e-mail and postal addresses will be provided to participants after successful registration.

Bookbinding II and III:
After registration in the Guided stream, participants will be assigned a mentor and supplied with their mentor's e-mail and postal addresses, for clarification of workshop content or problem areas concerning projects, models, or supplies, contact the mentor by one of these means.

The mentor undertakes to respond as quickly and as fully as they can possible do so.


Bookbinding I has been designed so that little equipment is required, and suggestions are made as to how any required equipment may be improvised or obtained. Bookbinding II and III require some equipment. Information accompanies the course indicating how this equipment may be made or acquired.

Mailing the Finished Guided Stream Projects:
The completed projects are to be mailed directly to the mentor. Shipping with tracking is recommended.

Each project must have the participant’s name and a clear return address. Participants will need to cover the return postage for the package. Method of payment for return postage will be worked out between participant and mentor.

If the participant lives outside of Canada, shipping the projects for critique will require a customs declaration. Canada has a very low exemption value to allow items to enter the country duty-free. Books are typically duty-free for import, so indicate on the declaration that you are shipping a book. 

Many courier services (such as Fedex or UPS) will charge a brokerage fee for assessing if a package requires any payment of duty or taxes, so even if a package is duty-free and tax-free, there could be a charge to the mentor to collect the package. The best option is regular postal mail as Canada Post does not charge any brokerage fee if the item is deemed duty and tax-free.

If the participant choses to insure the package that insurance value will be used as the declared value of the goods. A package of declared value of $20.00 CDN or less is exempt. It is suggested that you mark on the parcel "no commercial value."

If for some reason your package is not duty and tax exempt, then any duty or taxes would be charged back to you by CBBAG. Student materials will not be returned if there are any postage, duty, or taxes owing to the mentor or CBBAG.

Resource Material:
Books, journals, and monographs contain much useful material. Books may be obtained through inter-library loan (ILL) from many local libraries. There may be a fee charged for ILL service by your local library.

CBBAG also has book arts DVDs available for loan to CBBAG members. Information on borrowing these DVDs and the list of DVDs available can be found on the Book Arts DVD Loan Programme webpage.

A Suppliers List, Recommended Reading List, and Lexicon accompany Bookbinding I.


Submission Dates for Bookbinding II and Bookbinding III are January 31, May 31, October 31

Bookbinding II

Submission 1 includes Units 1 ,2, 3, and 4.

Submission 2 includes Units 5, 6, and optionally, 7.

Submission 3 includes Unit 7, if not previously submitted, and Unit 8.

Bookbinding II   Evaluation/Critique 
Unit 1 Model of visible-hinge, hooked endpaper with protection packet

Model of invisible-hinge, hooked endpaper
Correct construction
Unit 2 Model of lap-stitch tape sewn textblock, rounded and backed to 45º shoulder, with endbands
Correct sewing
Rounding and backing

Unit 3
Model of recessed cord sewn textblock with endpaper, rounded and backed to 45º shoulder, spine not lined; with two-stripe endband

Spine pasted up and lined with Japanese paper

Edge treatment 
Correct sewing

Rounding and backing

Unit 4
Model of off-the-book hollow
Correct construction
Unit 5 Textblock with hollow

Model of German Case with corners or fore-edge strips, boards infilled 

Hollow attachment

German Case construction 
Unit 6 Model of textblock with Bradel attachment of boards Attachment
Unit 7 Book 1 completed
Complete critique
Unit 8 Book 2 completed
Complete critique

Bookbinding III

Submission 1 includes Units 1, 2, and 3.

Submission 2 includes Units 4 and 5.

Submission 3 includes Units 5 and 6.

Bookbinding III   Evaluation/Critique
Unit 1 Textblock recessed cord or tape sewn

Textblock with at least one of the following three:
Raised single cord sewing
Raised double cord sewing
Packed raised cord sewing

Both textblocks with endpapers, at least one German zigzag, with a choice of one exposed visible hinge

Correct sewing

Correct endpaper construction
Unit 2 Model of German zigzag endpaper   Correct construction
Unit 3
Two textblocks rounded and backed, spine pasted up, one lined, one unlined, tape or recessed cord marked on waste sheet as Book 1 and raised cord sewn as Book 2

Endbands - at least one being Chris Clarkson endband

Model of laminated/lined boards of the correct thickness for the shoulders, marked Book 1 and Book 2 
Rounding and backing


Board appropriate to shoulder

Lining technique

Unit 4
Tape or recessed cord sewn model (Book 1) with spine pasted up and lined, sanded, with hollow on; Bradel attachment of boards or laced-on; may include false raised bands if so desired

Raised cord sewn model (Book 2) with pasted up spine, linings on and sanded, boards laced-on

Model of leather, edge pared and pared for headcaps 



Attachment of boards

False raised bands if applicable

Unit 5 Models covered-in in leather or Book 1 in cloth and Book 2 in leather

Headcaps and raised bands formed

Boards infilled and stabilized 
Leather attachment




Raised Bands


Unit 6 Models with cover paper on, endpaper hinges attached, board sheets on, both books correctly opened
Cover paper


Board sheets


Final critique

Last updated on March 1, 2021
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