Letterpress 101: Printing Posters with Wood Type

By The Bindery (other events)

Saturday, February 25 2023 2:00 PM 5:00 PM CDT

This class is for those looking to learn the core foundations of letterpress printing here at the shop, using our collection of historic wood type as inspiration! Ideal for anyone who would like to make their own work here in the future, or for curious beginners who want an overview of the basics while making tangible print-work together.

Letterpress 101 is a good mix of technical info, and inky fun: the class covers how to typeset several simple lines, get them properly aligned and locked up for printing, followed by the details of our Vandercook press set up and use. The class will collectively decide on two different posters' messagaing and style, using language and fonts they choose collaboratively.  We'll then print them up on a bright paper with a bold black ink.

Students can expect to learn:

  • Basic tools and terminology to orient them to our shop and process.
  • How to set up several lines of wood type for poster printing as a collaborative process.
  • How to check the press’ ink roller height.
  • The importance of the tympan and packing paper.
  • How to use furniture, quoines and magnets to get type set on the press.
  • Inking up the press with rubber-based ink.
  • How to set up proper paper feeding for correct registration.
  • Proper press carriage use and process to pull a print correctly.

Each student will have a hands-on chance to help set up and print several copies of the group poster, and will leave with several copies. Plus, participants will gain the baseline knowledge needed to envision and create their own wood type posters in the future should they wish to return as working members with access to the press!

*Masks are not required at the time of this posting, but are very welcome. This may change by the time of the class, and The Bindery reserves the right to require masks or other safety precautions at any time. Participants will be alerted to any changes prior to the workshop.


*Due to the small nature of classes and the upfront materials costs, The Bindery has a no refunds or exchanges policy. If you cannot make it for some reason, please send a friend in your stead and let us know!

The Bindery

Mailing Address

347 E. Ward Street Milwaukee, WI 53207