The Art Of Block Printing

The Art of Block Printing

Block-printed fabrics are not new to us, and nowadays you see them popping up in everything from fashion weeks , home decor  to DIY projects on Pinterest. I love block-printed fabrics because there is perfection in those imperfect prints. The process of block printing takes a great deal of patience, apart from the high degree of skill required for both the placement of motifs and the application of pressure. They are created using carved wooden printing blocks that are inked and pressed by hand directly onto the fabric. This unique and time-intensive process means no two pieces of prints are the same.

So how does this special fabric get made? On my recent trip to Rajasthan , famous for its block printed textiles, I visited a few villages near Jodhpur where I saw  the process behind this beautiful textile. I found it extremely interesting and hope you do too 🙂 

Step 1: A specific design is drawn and hand carved on the wooden block by a carpenter. Shown below are completed blocks.


Step2: The dye is applied onto the wooden block and then pressed firmly on to the cloth. The colors used are all natural and we used turmeric paste to get the initial yellow color.


Step 3: The fabric was then dipped in the lemon water which changes the yellow color to pink.


Step 4: A resist paste is then made from lime, gum, oil and a type of sticky clay naturally occurring at the bottom of ponds or river beds. This paste is then printed on top of the design using a separate block with a different design. The intention of the resist paste is to ‘resist’ the next application of dye and stay white.



Step 5: The fabric is then  dyed with indigo so it turns blue except where the resist paste has been applied. Once dry the fabric is ready.


Below you can see the way colors change and the fabric is ready to be sewn into a gorgeous kurta, skirt or palazzo pants 🙂
stages of block printing_