DIY: Your Complete guide to Block Printing

Hello everyone! I am back with an interesting article on one of the oldest printing techniques which is still used worldwide – BLOCK PRINTING.

Intricate designed blocks

Let us begin by knowing what exactly is block printing or also sometimes called as wooden block printing because the blocks are made out of wood.

Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper.

Wooden blocks

Before moving ahead, let us know about the history of block printing. The history of printing goes back to the duplication of images by means of stamps in very early times. The use of round seals for rolling an impression into clay tablets goes back to early Mesopotamian civilization before 3000 BC, where they are the most common works of art to survive, and feature complex and beautiful images. In both China and Egypt, the use of small stamps for seals preceded the use of larger blocks. In China, India and Europe, the printing of cloth certainly preceded the printing of paper or papyrus.

Steps to do block printing is time consuming and has to be done very precisely. Here is a description of the steps to do block printing.

1. The first step is to sketch a pattern or design, you want to print. The making of design has to be very precise and practical.

Design to be carved on wood.

2. The second step is to trace the design on wood. If you want to make your own block and you are not comfortable using wood then you can also use lino sheets.

tracing the print on block

Lino sheet and carving on it.

3. Now, using proper and professional tools, the design traced on wood has to be carved. The carving process is done with a lot of precision and patience.

Tools used for carving

Carving the design on wood

4. After the block is ready, the next step is to get the color right. The paints used for block printing has to be very accurate so that you get the exact color desired. To get the exact color, referring to the color wheel is the best option.

color wheel

block print colors

5. Thickness of the dye is a very important factor. Thickness of dye is different for different fabrics. For light weight textiles, the dye should not be very diluted otherwise the color leaks in the fabric. For thick textiles, the dye should be diluted so that the dye don’t stay on the surface.
6. Now when you apply the dye to the block, you will have to be careful that appropriate amount of dye should be applied to the block .

application of color on block

7. The block should be correctly placed on the fabric and should be pressurised with the maximum horizontal surface area.

Placing the block on fabric.

There are different types of blocks available in the market for different application, for example roller blocks, wooden blocks, metal blocks, half blocks for repeats.You can also create your own block a simple DIY method.

roller blocks

Half block and its repeat!

DIY easy blocks!!

These days a lot of designers are using block prints. Block printing is not only used in garments but also note book covers, bedsheets, scarfs etc. Designers like Anokhi, Global desi, Vera moda, W etc have lots of fashionable products with block prints.

block printed scarfs

block printed t-shirts

I hope this article was a good guide to have your own block printed stuffs and also to experiment with it.

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