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Low Tech Printmaking: Relief (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Print at home without specialist equipment!
Learn to make prints using relief techniques and gain an insight into some effective methods for producing a print at home without specialist equipment. By exploring a theme and embarking on a mini project students will create a series of impressions that document their environment.

Course will be delivered via Blackboard Collaborate and Learn.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Special Information

Many materials are ‘low tech’ and can be readily found in the home. A materials and equipment shopping list with links to suppliers for specialist materials will be provided to students before the course commences. A list of specialist suppliers is included at the end of this list.

Domestic ‘Low Tech’ materials (essential):

  • Table top / flat base (protected with newspaper or old tablecloth)

  • Chopping board

  • Yoghurt cartons (empty, clean) or similar containers

  • Thin card (from cereal packets or similar is ideal)

  • Sellotape

  • Scissors (for paper and card)

  • Wooden spoon

  • Rolling pin

  • Paper towels / Kitchen roll / Tissues 

  • A4 Cartridge Paper (white Copy Paper and/or any scrap paper will suffice)

  • Tupperware lid, baking sheet, or plastic tray (for ink/paint tray)

  • Packet of couscous /quinoa/semolina or any other small grains

Specialist materials (essential):

  • Paint: any, including household emulsion (avoid oil-based paint)

  • For block printing - Lino (see below) or Soft Cut carving block

  • Alternatives: blocks of flat wood (e.g. off-cuts from shelving) or anything that can be carved (needs to have one smooth surface). See sizes below, but can be smaller.

  • Paint brushes – acrylic/household/watercolour

  • Large nail or metal skewer

More specialist ‘low tech’ materials (non-essential):

  • Rags

  • Thick card (similar to the grey card backings of sketchbooks)

  • Clean polystyrene (e.g. take away cartons)

  • Sponge

  • PVA glue

  • Household varnish (or shellac) for wood

  • Masking tape

  • Packing tape

  • Fine sandpaper and a selection of different grits

  • Large nail

  • Paint roller (large/small)

  • Pencils (H, HB, 2B)

  • A4 or A5 Sketchbook (A3 if working on large scale)

  • Textile cloth, fabric

  • Piece of felt

  • Tracing paper

  • Texture materials: for example: felt, leaves, string

  • Aluminium foil

  • Craft knife

  • Ruler

  • Cutting edge or metal rule

  • Apron / old shirt

  • Vegetable oil

  • Bars of soap (1-6 bars)

Specialist materials (optional):

  • Papers - For block printing a lighter weight paper is best, e.g. Zerkall Extra Smooth, or Fabriano Ruvidi

  • Ink – ‘Cranfield’ water-based relief ink (or similar). Schmincke linoprinting inks are also good. Any colours, but make sure red, blue, yellow, black and white are part of the set.

  • 2 - 3 Wood blocks – for e.g. Japanese Shina plywood (available from above suppliers), or birch-faced plywood from a DIY suppliers, any thickness above 3.6 mm is good, up to 15mm. Dimensions of the block, 450 mm x 300 mm is probably the largest size possible for this course.

  • Set of woodcut/lino cutting tools (available from specialist suppliers below), or small wood chisels.

  • 2 – 4 Lino blocks (available from suppliers below), maximum dimensions as above.

  • Print roller

  • Burnisher (buren)

  • Cutting mat

Printmaking Suppliers:

Specialist paper supplies:

Content of Course

Students will be introduced to a selection of relevant artists’ works in the medium of relief printmaking.

Students will learn to apply and manipulate low tech printmaking techniques to produce a selection of their own relief printed images. Printing techniques explored are:

1. Introduction to relief print techniques

2. Introduction to relief collography

3. Introduction to lino and woodcut techniques

Teaching method(s)

Ideally you should have;

An up-to-date web browser (Google Chrome recommended) 

Microphone (ideally headset) and Webcam 

Strong Internet connection

Teaching will be fully online and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor.  Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this taster course, students should be able to:

  • Use a selection of tools, inks and equipment found in the home confidently to produce a selection of their own images in print using simple printmaking techniques at home.


Core Readings

Artist Book:

  • Masereel, F. The City: A Vision in Woodcuts. Dover Publications. 2006


  • Lauren, A. Block Print. Rockport Publishers. 2016.

  • Schmidt, C. Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly original Projects. Random House Inc. 2010.

  • Whittington, C. Tate: Project Print: 30 Projects to Spark Your Creativity. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. 2020.

Web Sources



The V & A Print Collection

Artists who use woodcut:

Vija Celmins

Käthe Kollwitz

The Modern Woodcut 1870 - Now


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.