Introduction to Letterpress

A woman wearing an apron stands in front of wooden compartments filled with stacks of metal printing blocks


Introduction to Letterpress

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  Saturday 22 June 2024

  10am – 5pm

 At the Bodleian Old Library

 £115 (concessions £100), places limited

This course is now sold out

Discover the craft of letterpress printing

Learn to prepare work and print on the hand-operated presses in the historic setting of Bodleian’s letterpress workshop in the Bodleian Old Library.

In this course, instructors will introduce you to the basics of designing a letterpress print in various formats from posters to business cards, setting metal and wooden type.

Participants will have an introduction to the Bodleian's letterpress workshop and the range of hand-operated presses, including the 'Duerer Press', a replica of a wooden 15th-century press, Albion and Columbian platen presses, a ‘Western’ (Vandercook-style) proofing press, and a star-wheel etching press.

Participants will learn:

  • about relief and intaglio processes
  • how to hand typeset lead and wooden type
  • how to set up work into a forme
  • how to select paper stock
  • how to choose and mix inks
  • the correct and safe use of the press. 

By the end of the session you will leave with your own handprinted objects, designed collectively in the class.

Learn more about printing and book arts activities at the Bodleian Libraries Bibliographical Press 

Age 18 and over. All materials are provided. No previous experience necessary.


Elizabeth Adams is a librarian with a focus on special collections, a letterpress printer with her own private press, Juxon Press, and Honorary Treasurer of the Oxford Bibliographical Society.


Schola Musicae, Bodleian Old Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

The class will meet in the printing workshop, Schola Musicae, Bodleian Library. The room is accessible via a ground-floor entrance. Please report to the Bodleian Library Great Gate, accessed from Catte Street, upon arrival.

 Tickets & booking

Full price: £115
Concessions: £100 (Oxford University and Oxford Brookes students, and GLAM staff and volunteers).

Once you have booked your place on the course, the system will send you an automated email confirmation.

 Wheelchair access

The Schola Musicae is wheelchair accessible.

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