K-12 School Programs

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Book arts are a vibrant visual and literary form of expression that is truly interdisciplinary in nature.

At Minnesota Center for Book Arts, flexible lesson plans and knowledgeable staff allow you to integrate book arts with your existing curriculum. Our teaching style offers a mix of direct instruction and individual creative expression. Standard workshops are held both in the MCBA studios and in schools, libraries and community centers.

In-School Workshops

Your class can come to our studios, OR we can come to you! MCBA offers a wide variety of workshop opportunities in your school, whether for one class or for your entire school. For a more in-depth book arts experience, consider starting with a papermaking or printing workshop in MCBA’s studios and completing your bookmaking workshop back at school.

Papermaking and printing workshops are held at our studios. Bookbinding workshops are offered at our studios as well as at offsite locations. MCBA instructors can bring all bookbinding materials and tools to your classroom, library or community center.

Why Book Arts?

Adding book arts to your curriculum will help engage your students in:

  • Hands-on learning through artistic process
  • Creative and personal expression
  • Deeper understanding of a subject matter
  • Pride in personal accomplishments
  • Collaborations with other students and across subjects
  • An understanding of the creative process
  • Discovery of a new art form
  • Critical and visual thinking skills
  • Demonstrating knowledge of subject matter in book form
Students Succeed

The book arts dwell in the visual arts, yet students typically don’t feel they need to be an artist in order to create their own book. The book form provides a familiar, accessible starting place for students. Our experienced artist-instructors take students through a step-by-step process leading to the successfull completing of their own book arts project.

Workshop Notes
  • Each workshop is planned so that students successfully complete the structure. Plan additional time at MCBA or in your classroom to complete text and illustration. Ask about extended workshops if you would like to work on your books at MCBA.
  • Workshops are offered year-round Tuesday through Friday and other days upon request.
  • MCBA studios can accommodate a group of up to 30 students or multiple groups of up to 100 students.
  • One chaperone is required for every 10 students. Chaperones play a vital role in assisting students and are not charged admission.
  • Dress for mess! Casual clothes and rubber-soled shoes are recommended.
  • MCBA studios are accessible to all. Please let us know about special needs when registering.
  • Workshop prices vary based on the cost of materials used and the length of the workshop.
  • Take advantage of a 10 percent discount on workshops scheduled for the fall!
"2-for-$10" Deal!

Choose any two of the eligible workshops listed below for two hours of fun and learning at $10 per student ($200 group minimum) — a savings of up to $1.50 per student. To qualify, both workshops must take place on the same day. The fall discount does not apply to the “2-for-$10″ deal. Select from:

  • Intro to Papermaking
  • Class Font: Print a Poster
  • Thematic Pop-Out Books
  • Tower Pop-Ups
  • Softcover Journal with Pockets
  • Accordion Books
  • Tunnel Books
  • Petal Fold Books
  • Regular Flag Books
  • Full Page Flag Books
  • Stab Bindings
  • Thematic Meander Books
Scheduling

MCBA schedules residencies year-round. Please allow two to three months for the planning process. We encourage early registration — our schedule fills quickly, especially for the spring. To register for a workshop, to inquire about scheduling/availability, or for answers to any questions you might have, please contact MCBA’s Youth Programs Director Jill Weese at 612-215-2529 or jweese@mnbookarts.org.

Youth Workshop Descriptions

Single activity workshops are listed below. Consider pairing workshops to create a unique learning experience for your students!

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Printing and Printmaking

 

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Class Font: Print a Poster
A great introduction to the history of written communication and letterpress printing through a collaborative printing project. After discussing symbols and typographic styles, each student will design one letter to mount on the printing press. The result is a unique limited edition class poster. Each student will crank the press handle and print his or her own copy of the class poster.

This workshop is suitable for alphabets from around the world and is a perfect way to explore the development of communicating with pictograms, hieroglyphs, symbols and, of course, letters.

Grades K-12
1 hour
$5.75 per person
$115 group minimum

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Pressure Printing and Pressure Printed Poster
Experience the power of multiples in printmaking. Through a process of paper cutting and collaged paper, each student will create their own multi-tone print design. Students will print multiple copies of their individual design on a Vandercook printing press. Pair pressure prints with a book project! Choose from many formats: note cards, large postcards, 8 x 10″ prints, 11 x 17″ prints, accordion books, and meander books.

Grades 3-12
1.5-2.5 hours
$6.75-11.50 per person
$135-230 group minimum

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Papermaking, Paper Marbling and Pulp Painting

 

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Introduction to Papermaking
Students learn the process of turning plants — from papyrus to today’s commercial wood pulp — into paper. Using authentic Western papermaking tools, each student uses a mould and deckle to pull wet paper pulp to make two sheets of cotton paper.

Grades K-12
1 hour
$6.00-12.00 per person
$120-240 group minimum

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Exploring Papermaking
Embossing, handprints, shaped papers, double sided papers, and decorative inclusions allow students to explore a new papermaking technique! Ask about creating your own customized initial embossing. Choose the papermaking experience that best fits your class curriculum. This workshop gives students more time to experiment with the techniques of paper artists. Ask about combining your handmade papers with a bookbinding project.

Grades 2-12
1.5 hours
$7.00 per person
$140 group minimum

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Paper Marbling
For centuries paper marbling was a highly guarded secret. At MCBA your students can discover the rich tradition of paper marbling as they marble sheets of paper that can be used in future classroom projects. Workshops are available in two different styles:

 
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Ebru marbling is a traditional Middle Eastern marbling technique in which students use “combs” to create patterns in colored paint, which is then applied to specially prepared paper. Consider using your students’ marbled papers in a bookbinding workshop!

Grades 3-12
1 hour
$160 per group for 1 hour
$190 per group for 1.5 hours

Up to 16 students per group. MCBA’s paper marbling workshop can accommodate up to two groups for a total of 32 students at one time. It’s a great workshop for smaller groups.

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Suminagashi marbling is a Japanese technique in which students create concentric rings of colors with a brush, other tools, or even their breath! Consider enhancing any bookbinding project with beautiful hand-marbled paper.

Grades 3-12
1 hour
$160 per group for 1 hour
$190 per group for 1.5 hours

Up to 16 students per group. MCBA’s paper marbling workshop can accommodate up to two groups for a total of 32 students at one time. It’s a great workshop for smaller groups.

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Pulp Painting and Advanced Pulp Painting
Combine the art and science of papermaking with painting. After pulling a sheet of cotton paper, each student will create a rich image using an assortment of finely pigmented (colored) pulp and stencils. Completed pieces look great by themselves or combined into a group project. This workshop allows students to learn traditional Western papermaking as they explore an aspect of contemporary paper art. An Advanced version of this workshop is available for older students to create more complex imagery.

Grades 2-12
1.5 hours
$8.50 per person
$170 group minimum

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Bookmaking

 

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Thematic Pop-Out Books
Stretch your students’ idea of what a book can be. One sheet of paper with a little folding and cutting is transformed into an endless number of possibilities. In addition to making a great first pop-out book, your students will practice their listening skills as they learn how to fold and use a template successfully. With space for writing, this is a great book for younger students. For older students, choose a larger format without a template, which allows students to create their own custom pop-out.

Grades K-12
1 hour
$5.25-6.00 per person
$105-120 group minimum

Pop-out book designs:
- house
- barn
- castle
- wigwam
- airplane
- frog
- kangaroo
- butterfly
- dinosaur
- bird
- fish
- woodchuck
- neighborhood
- landforms
- or design your own!

 
 
 
 

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Accordion Books
Found in both ancient and contemporary bookbinding traditions, the versatile accordion book is created by folding a long sheet of paper to create individual pages. This structure allows the viewer to read a page at a time or to view the entire book at a glance. A structure for all ages, the accordion is limited only by the imagination. Three age-appropriate formats are available. New: accordion with a pop-out insert available for grades 3 and up. Enhance this workshop with additional techniques such as pop-ups, sewn pages or hidden pages.

Grades K-12
1-2 hours
$6.00-12.00 per person
$120-240 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover
Enhance this workshop with handmade paper covers, sewn pages, hidden pages, or pop-ups.

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An Accordion Sampler
Students will explore basic binding techniques by making a hardcover accordion “sampler” book. Your students will learn how to cover bookboard with decorative paper, hinge boards together with book cloth tape, make a pocket endsheet, sew in a single signature with a pamphlet stitch, create a hidden page and a pop-up. Great fundamental knowledge for future independent work.

Grades 9-12
2.5 hours
$11.50 per person
$230 group minimum

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Accordion Pocket Folder
An accordion book taken one fold further, the four-pocket folder is a great way to support student writing with text card-pages, hold project materials or to use as an interactive classroom tool. Available in two sizes.

Grades K-12
1-2 hours
$6.50-11.25 per person
$130-225 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover
Sew in pages to make a journal!

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Flag Books
Surprise your students and challenge them to incorporate text and images in a non-traditional book structure. Using an accordion spine, this structure has small alternating pages that wave like flags in the wind and open to reveal a hidden illustration or message. It’s a fun book for poems, riddles and question/answer formats. The extended format is challenging enough for high school use. The full-page flag book stretches out to create a full picture with plenty of room for text. Great book structure for school reports by younger and older students.

Grades 2-12
1-2.5 hours
$5.50-10.50 per person
$110-210 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover
Ask about extended ABC books

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Traditional dos-a-dos

Dos-a-Dos: An Accordion With a Twist
Two books in one! There are three different formats to choose from. The traditional dos-a-dos opens in two opposite directions; each is sewn with Western pamphlet pages. Not only does this offer plenty of writing space, it provides a format to write from different perspectives; one voice from the first side and a second from the opposite side. The landscape dos-a-dos combines Eastern and Western book binding traditions. Open the landscape dos-a-dos from one direction to find the traditional Western sewn pages. Open the other side to an Eastern-style accordion fold that lends itself to landscape scenes or single sheets for charts, graphs or pictures. The pop-up dos-a-dos includes the Western sewn pages on one end and a pop-out scene on the opposite end.

Grades 3-12
1.5-2.5 hours
$7.50-11.50 per person
$150-230 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover

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Landscape dos-a-dos

 

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Tunnel Books
Whether you choose the single section tunnel with cover and writing space for younger students or the hardcover meander tunnel for older students, all will be encouraged to think creatively as they explore depth perspective with text and image. The new multi-section tunnel format allows for even more expansive layered imagery. Great for older students. No matter what the topic or size, tunnel books draw in the reader and creator to learn more.

Grades K-12
1-2 hours
$5.50-10.25 per person
$110-205 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover
Colorful cover-weight papers available upon request

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Petal Fold Books
This sculptural book has petal-shaped pages inspired by origami. Choose between the circular star format or the linear bridge format. A photocopier template for composing text is available prior to your workshop to create easy collaborative books. A versatile book form, the star format is easily turned into a color wheel book, Valentine heart book or snowflake book. Add a tassel and the bridge format turns into a graduation book.

Grades 3-12
1-1.5 hours
$6.00-8.00 per person
$120-160 group minimum

Options:
Softcover or hardcover
We can photocopy student writing for a fee
Usually offered with bright colored pages. Specific colors available upon request.

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Pop-Up Books
Explore the third dimension in bookmaking through paper engineering. Create a simple portrait or a tower base that transforms into animals, real or fanciful. Explore a variety of pop-up techniques to create a landscape scene. From the simple to the elaborate, there is a pop-up book that will fit your curriculum and inspire your students. Options include hardcover or softcover. Format options include:

- 3-section or 4-section pop-up
- Landscape pop-up
- Tower pop-up
- Portrait pop-up

Grades K-12
1-2 hours
$6.25-11.50 per person
$125-230 group minimum

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Portrait pop-up

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Landscape pop-up

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Tower pop-up

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Four-section pop-up

 

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Journals, Sketchbooks and Classroom Publishing

 

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Sketchbook / Journal
This classic hardcover book is a great introduction to Western bookbinding techniques. Students often experience a sense of accomplishment when they bind the traditional personal book. This blank book is perfect for future writing or drawing activities. Completed student writing may also be bound.

Grades 3-12
2-2.5 hours

Hardcover Sketchbook/Journal:
$11.00-14.50 per person
$220-290 group minimum

Softcover Journal with Pockets:
$6.00 per person
$120 group minimum

Options:
Pockets and/or a CD holder may be added upon request
Ask about page layout for student writing

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Stab Binding
Students will learn an Eastern bookbinding technique with this simple yet elegant design, well-suited for single sheets. Students make a blank book and learn a binding skill they can easily apply to future school projects. Ideal for publishing student writing. New: Advanced decorative stitching available for high school students. New: Advanced decorative stitching available for high school students.

Grades 3-12
1 hour
$6.00-7.25 per person
$120-145 group minimum

Options:
Available in two sizes
Publishing and template available for student writing.

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Folders to Books: The Japanese Paper Folder
This Japanese folder is a single piece of decorative paper folded several times to create multiple pockets. By itself it is perfect to hold papers or cards. Add sewn pages to create a softcover book. Utilize the many pockets for a great research journal. The small format is the perfect size to hold CDs!

Grades 3-12
1-1.5 hours
$6.50-8.50 per student
$130-170 group minimum

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Hardcover Post-Bound Portfolio Journal
Not just for photo albums, the versatile hinged screw-post binding is useful for gathering single sheets to use as a portfolio, journal, or to publish student writing. The removable screw-post allows for addition, subtraction and reordering of pages in the classroom. Two sizes are available. Holes can be spaced to allow standard 3-hole punched paper in the large format.

Grades 3-12
2-2.5 hours
$12.25-17.50 per person
$245-350 group minimum

Options:
Handmade paper covers

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Historical Book Structures: Faux Limp Vellum
Looking for a historical book? Using the ancient tacket binding and faux leather with sewn pages, this lovely book is reminiscent of books from the Middle Ages. It’s great as a personal journal; sturdy and flexible with a faux leather strap closure.

Grades 3-12
1 hour
$10.00 per person
$200 group minimum

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Historical Book Structures: Jian Ce Chinese Slat Book
Before inventing paper, these first Chinese books were made with narrow strips of bamboo bound together with silk or hemp cord. In the custom of Chinese writing, characters were drawn on the strips of bamboo with brush and ink from top to bottom. In the MCBA version of the Slat Book, black matboard is used with waxed linen thread to create a unique book great for acrostic poems, timelines and much more.

Grades 3-12
1 hour
$6.75 per person
$135 group minimum

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Easy ways to add additional pages for more student writing:
  • Most projects you see here start with a standard 8 sheets of paper — that can equal up to 32 usable pages!
  • The structure of the traditional dos-a-dos offers 16 sheets of paper — twice the number of most other structures.
  • The post-bound portfolio is quite versatile — adjust the length of your screw posts to the thickness of your pages.
  • In a stab binding, adding more pages is easily; it simply requires MCBA staff to drill holes in additional pages before your workshop.
  • The sketchbook journal can be made as a double or multiple signature book. A signature is a section of 8 pages folded in half.
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Custom Workshops

 

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Custom project: St. Anthony Park 5th grade pop-up biography books

Don’t see exactly what you are looking for? We can customize a project to suit your needs.

Design a richer learning experience for your students by combining workshops. Suggestions include using prints, marbled papers or handmade paper as the covers for hardcover books.

Enhance your workshops by adding an Open Book building tour. This walking tour of our building exposes students to the larger literary community.

Rental space is available at a small fee to accommodate bag lunches.

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Custom project: South High School, All Nations humanities class “Teen Voices” pulp painting and pressure printed postcards