The Blocking Press

This is a piece of equipment in the book arts workshop which can be used for adding lettering and small designs to book covers. The workshop has a limited range of type to use with the blocking press but you can extend your design options by having a metal block made to your own specification. (Please note it is NOT possible to use the type from the letterpress workshop in this machine.)

The blocking press for foil printing.

The press uses heat to transfer coloured or metallic foil on to a surface. The process to set up the machine is precise and can be tricky but excellent quality results can be achieved with a little experience. Students should always engage the help of the technician until they have had a lot of practice with the press. The press has to be booked in advance during busy times – please contact the technician for more info on this. Students must also have had a workshop induction before they use this press.


There is a maximum size of A5 for any artwork or type to fit this machine. There is also a maximum size of substrate – the logistics of your job should be checked with the technician before you spend out on a metal block!

Metal blocks can be ordered from Metallic Elephant.


You can print on to different surfaces – paper, bookcloth, grey board, leather etc – but the texture of the surface will affect the quality of the print. The smoother the texture of the surface, the smoother the print will be.

You will need spare pieces to test the print on so if you are printing on to paper or card make sure you bring extra material with you.

NB: It is NOT possible to print on to the cover of a book once it has been connected to pages. So you must print the cover before you fix it to the pages. It is also NOT possible to print on to the surface of a box.


This is when you make a blind print (ie. without foil) and press deeply into the surface to create an impression. Please note that it is NOT possible to do this with the type in the workshop but ONLY with a metal block as made by Metallic Elephant.

Setting Up and Using the Blocking Press

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