17 must-see lettepress videos

There are few things more fascinating than watching letterpress printing in person, but videos can be a close second. We picked out some of our favorite letterpress printing videos, so feast your eyes on the presses, the ink, the paper and the people. There are stories to be heard and techniques to be learned. We bet you’ll be itching to get to your own press to make a little letterpress magic after watching just a few of these! Tell us which ones you liked best in the comments below, and by all means, share some of the jewels you’ve discovered.

Boxcar Institute Training Series (BITS)

We admit, we think these instructional letterpress videos on makeready, mixing ink, and locking up your base are packed with good information for all types of printers. Harold and the Boxcar Presses can help improve your printing, so be sure to check out the rest of our training videos.  Here are some unique tips for the Heidelberg Windmill.

Boxcar Press – A day in the Life

Can’t make it to Syracuse for a tour? This video will give you a little taste of Boxcar Press.

Linotype, The Film

This is a great film that pays homage to a machine that transformed printing. It’s a wonderful blend of new and old footage, and the stories are fascinating. Here’s an introduction.

Letterpress Coasters printed at Repeat Press

In this fun video, Mike Dacey of Repeat Press creates coasters from beginning to end. He combines polymer plates (on a Boxcar Base) with a little metal type and throws in corner rounding, cutting, packaging, and even tests the coasters out.

Letterpress Printing Vocational Film from 1947

This black and white video is fun to watch and makes you feel nostalgic about the glory days of letterpress printing — there’s great footage of pressman, hand typesetting, linotypes and more.

Letterpress video at Studio on fire

A video about Studio on Fire that also includes information on designing for letterpress and a simplified version of the polymer platemaking process. Highlights include the printing (and reading) of Studio on Fire’s “Pressman’s Creed”.

American Letterpress – The art of Hatch show

A look into the workings of Hatch Show Print Shop. The visuals of all the posters, the people working, and their long history blends into a nice video experience.

Upside Down, Left to Right: A Letterpress Film

A short film about letterpress and one of the few remaining, movable-type printing workshops in the United Kingdom, which is situated at Plymouth University. The credits are a fun surprise, too.

Letterpress documentary at Firefly Press

This video eloquently explains the craftsmanship involved with the hands-on process of letterpress, including creating and using metal type.

Brian Donaghey on Letterpress Printing

This is a short film on UK printer Brian Donaghey. It covers his background and it’s like a spending a pleasant afternoon with a master. Brian pulls prints on a Hopkinson, Finsbury & Cope Iron handpress.

Chase Lock Tutorial from Tim Butler 

Good information and a demonstration on locking up type from Tim Butler at Quality Letterpress.

Steel Petal Press video on letterpress

Shayna Norwood from Steel Petal Press does a masterful job explaining letterpress for a new customer. You can watch each part of her studio process, from inking all the way through to cleanup.

Heidelberg windmill video from Invitations by Ajalon

A very good explanation and demonstration of the Heidelberg Windmill from Invitations by Ajalon. A great example of German engineering and yes, that is a Boxcar Base (it’s one of the original bases with the older design).

Short & Sweet letterpress video by Naomie Ross

A brief but well done video of printing with wood type. There are no words, but the videographer added some great descriptions and artsy touches.

Steamroller Printing with the University of Montana Printmaking Division

Many have tried this supersized printing method. This video combines a fun, musical look at the artistic efforts of the University of Montana students in their annual event. All of the artwork had a “Day of the Dead” theme, so it’s very bold, and at the end of the day they held a parade to show off the art. Check out the sketching, carving, inking and yes, the unveiling.

Jack Daniels does Letterpress – with Yee-Haw Industries

From the toe-tapping banjo music to the long shots of the Yee-Haw studio, this video is very appealing on so many levels. Yee-Haw worked on 10 letterpress posters for Jack Daniels, and this video shows the creation of just one of them (and it’s a beauty). It’s also nice to see because Yee-Haw closed their doors in April 2012 and they did masterful work.

Typeface Movie trailer

This trailer gives a peek at Typeface, an hour long immersion into the history of the Hamilton Type factory (now known as the Hamilton Wood Type Museum). The film has inspired many visits to Two Rivers Wisconsin for the real thing, but is also available for purchase on DVD.