Need list of “affordable” letterpress centers & workshops in US

Hello all,
There’s a national DIY magazine that is writing an article on different print media, and one is letterpress - I am helping supply a list of community lettepress centers or workshops that are more on the “affordable” pricer range, and located in the US. Below I have explained what I consider to be affordable or accessible to lower income brackets.

Affordablitiy: Example - The Independent Publishing Resouce Center (IPRC) in Portland Oregon, offers $45-100 sliding scale yearly memberships which includes access to a letterpress studio after a 1-day class or similar training. The letterpress class is $60 non members/$30 members. So one could have access to a letterpress for under $100 a year - including inks, and other supplies. One would say that is TOO affordable - What’s not as affordable is a 2 day class that is $200 or up, with no access to the lab afterwards. So I’m looking for public printshops that have reasonable long term usage, and under $150 for classes. Maybe the IPRC is an anomaly - please pass on your wisdom.


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Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, MD offers studio rental for $10/hr, $35 with assistance. I used to be the shop tech, and we hardly ever had anyone… just a few, and mostly beginners. I was very picky about letting people with no experience use the presses alone, because they would always leave them dirty. But if you’re a responsible printer looking for a press and you have experience with Vandercooks, it’s a steal. The workshops are very in-depth but not a bargain. I might be available to give assistance still, if anyone needs a jumpstart.


Updated. Atlanta Printmakers Studio in Atlanta, GA offers studio rental as well as classes. The letterpress workshop is 4/ 3hour classes for 140.00 if you not a member and 130.00 if you are. In addition you can rent out by the hour, day, month or long term contract. starting at around 10.00 hour, 35.00 day, and so- on. You can visit there website at


My take on this is that if one is interested in taking a letterpress workshop/course this actually has very little to do with social economic status (“lower income brackets”), but is rather a cultural thing, rich or poor.

If one wants to seriously learn letterpress they will do whatever it takes. If letterpress is not to be taken seriously, then I guess it does not matter.


Gerald -
It’s true, if one wants to learn letterpress, they can most likely find a printer or school, or museum to volunteer with and exchange get access or save up and pay for a class. Book Art Centers tend to have really awesome presses, and other equip, teachers and tools, hence a higher price for classes to cover overhead, teaching, and maintence. It turns out the the IPRC really has its own thing going since it has a zine library, $10 - 30 classes, and a letterpress lab. The founders had roots in zine culture but got into letterpress so created a center with both. The Center has small presses, a lot of random type, but it limited compared to another letterpress facilities.

If it wasn’t for this center, it’s probably unlikely I’d be a full time letterpress center today. The low prices gave me accessiblity, but you are right, if the IPRC didn’t exsist, I would have found someother way to have access to presses, even if it meant having to find more money to do it, though it is probably unlikely I would have made a career out of it.

Hi Carye—

I teach a letterpress workshop at Letterpress Things in Chicopee, MA. It’s $110 for a full day workshop—learning the basics of typesetting and printing. John Barrett, who runs Letterpress Things, has set up a lovely printshop at the store, and—in addition to my workshop—is open to suggestions as far as an open studio.

I honed my letterpress skills at the Center for the Book in San Francisco—and most of that time was volunteering (free!), gathering the experience, and gaining “hours” to trade for workshops. Katherine Case is the studio manager there and is a great resource.

There are my two cents!



There is a place in LA that might fit the bill:

You might want to include them.

They provide workshops and press time at minimal cost. A lot of the folks who pass through there eventually end up taking further coursework at Art Center College of Art and Otis College of Art and Design.


I’ve taken the letterpress course at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California, multiple times. There are classes that run 2.5 hours. They have 4 week sessions in the summer (I think it’s $120 a summer session). The fall, winter, and spring sessions are 10 week sessions for something like $285. The Armory has no open studio time, and it has 1 Vandercook and 1 C&P motorized that is used in class.

I would suggest that museums are some of the most affordable places to learn letterpress. The folks at any museum with a working letterpress exhibit or shop are, by nature and training, used to patiently explaining things to people, and are delighted to see more serious interest. Some museums have only one or two printers, often “retired” fellows who just can’t stay away from the craft. Other museums may have an active group of people, such as the Printers’ Guild at History Park in San Jose (CA), or the Leather Apron Docent Guild at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA.

Although most museums may not offer formal classes nor official “training” in printing, I think every museum is happy to have volunteers learn, and in turn interpret, their printshop or any other exhibit. In San Jose, we ask only that interested people attend at least a couple Printers’ Guild meetings and spend a few days in the shop with an experienced Guild member; then, when ready, they can use the entire shop. The only “cost” is time; the commitment to be a part of the group, help explain letterpress to visitors, and sometimes help print something for the museum. It’s a tremendous amount of fun, other Guild members have a wide variety of expertise and interests, and the conversations you can get into with visitors are fascinating! Well worth looking into.

Dave San Jose Printers’ Guild

Updated. The well-known spot in the Bay Area is the San Francisco Center for the Book, the place Kelly mentioned above. Just from skimming the other posts here it seems like their prices may be on the higher end: their letterpress workshops seem to be mostly $130 plus a $15 materials fee for a nine-hour one-day class. Studio time is extra, at $20 an hour. I only gleaned this info from a quick look at their website, and there may be less expensive classes and/or lab time that I am not aware of. I’ve never printed there myself, though I’ve visited, and the facility seems very nice.

There are also extension Book Arts classes at my school (California College of the Arts) that, I believe, delve into letterpress, but I may be lying. Might be worth a look. Wait—-BAM. - last entry. Four 8-hour sessions for $300. CCA has two Vandercooks and a few hundred cases of type (I maintain the shop), and I’ve heard some good things about Thea Sizemore, though I haven’t had her as a teacher. The shop is in Oakland, CA.


I teach classes and workshops at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design for the day school and Continuing Education Program. The day school is restricted to matriculated students, but the CE courses are open to the public. While not inexpensive, they are affordable when you consider the amount of time in the shop.

Letterpress Fundamentals is a three day workshop (20+ contact hours) in our shop which has three presses and over 300 cases of type. At $415 it seems very affordable. I’ve attached a couple photos of the workshop…darnit if they don’t look like they are having fun! :)

I agree with “bowerbox” that access for a responsible, competent pressperson is one thing, providing unmonitored access for the novice is yet another. I tend to think you have to have a large following to support cheap access rates. That being said, at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center – $35/hour for access with assistance comes out to $700 for 20 hours of access (and worth it).

For a bit more ($855), you can do a full class with instruction AND access. The Letterpress/Book Arts class at Mass Art is a 15 week class with 40+ hours of contact with the instructors (book/print), offers BOTH book binding instruction and letterpress instruction with as many as 30 hours of outside access time (evenings). It works out to be around 40-45 hours of letterpress time (around $20/hour the additional book arts component notwithstanding on the costs). That seems reasonable considering the costs of keeping up a shop.

I have a page listing workshops here:

I’m surprised to see other rates so low ($10/hour) and I’d imagine that there is some other force at work to keep those prices low (high number of students/less one-to-one instruction, fees, subsidization, no overhead, etc.). We don’t offer open access to the shop on a rolling basis because of conflicts with day school programs, etc. However, we tried offering a special week of additional access at affordable rates and no-one responded. Go figure.

I’m eager to hear responses.

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We teach Lead and Linoleum - An Introduction to Letterpress at Blue Stone folk School in Noblesville,Indiana.

In this class students spend 2 days with us designing and printing a simple card with a linoleum cut illustration. they take home 25 cards and share with the other students.

this class costs $120 + materials ($125)

With the recent acquisition of type and a proof press we will be offering poster and broadside classes. We also plan to work with the local high school to help students publish a literary magazine/journal.

The shop is open Thursday evenings for students to work independently for a modest hourly fee.