Articles about Letterpress Printmaking Techniques

Letterpress printing is compatible with a variety of traditional and experimental relief image-making techniques.


Linoleum is a material made from a composition of linseed oil, cork, wood flour (a fine sawdust), and powdered minerals such as calcium carbonate supported by a burlap backing combined under heat & pressure to form a sheet. Once a common flooring material, it was broadly replaced in common household … Continue reading


Woodcuts are relief printing plates made by carving marks in blocks of long grained planks or plywood. Long-grain refers to the grain following the direction of growth, i.e, parallel to the tree trunk/branch the piece of wood was cut from. Woodcuts vs. Wood Engravings While both are relief printing methods, … Continue reading

Wood Engraving

The technique of engraving an image in end-grained hardwoods for relief printing is called wood engraving. It differs from technique of woodcuts in that the wood is worked across the grain, rather than parallel to it as in a woodcut. Tools similar to and including those used in metal engraving … Continue reading

Pressure Printing

Pressure printing is an alternative image-making technique by which a flexible plate (backing sheet) is placed behind the press sheet and run over a type-high, inked surface. The resulting image is made up of a combination of haloing ink and varying degrees of pressure from the backing sheet. A variety … Continue reading