All You Need to Know About Hand Block Printing

Hand block printing is the Indian traditional art of cloth-making, it’s eco-friendly, represents and respects nature and the most important thing is that it’s India original and old-age way of fabric printing.

The artisans who make these incredibly beautiful fabrics are the pride of the nation as they are supporting the country’s culture and tradition.

This article will tell the reader all they need to know about this ancient treasure.

What is hand block printing?

Before the reader can know about hand block printing, they must also know about textile printing, just in brief, nothing more.

The technique of applying distinct colors and designs on fabric so that the color will not fade on washing or when friction is applied on them is known as textile printing.

Hand block printing is the traditional style of textile printing from India, in which blocks are carved in a specific design then dipped in ink, and then stamped at different lengths of fabric making unique and beautiful patterns.

The patterns such as flowers, animals, and several abstract designs not only represent nature but also give an interesting look to a simple fabric.

The blocks

The wooden blocks used are carved from the wood of shisham and sagwan trees, they vary and size and are 2 or 3 inches thick for ease of use, they are of two types, one is gadh for filling in the design and the other is rekh for outlining it.

Metal blocks are also used, even though they are more expensive and take time to make; they last longer than wooden blocks.

The designs carved on the blocks are of three types.

  1. Geometric patterns (lines and geometrical motifs).
  2. Floral designs (paisley, flowers, tree leaves).
  3. Tribal designs that represent the daily life of tribal people.

A hand block print fabric from India features earthy tones and motifs that are an inspiration from nature, village landscape, and mythology, a block print consists of certain basic components of Buti, Jhal, Bel, and Buta in the form of small patterns.

The steps of creating a block print fabric

The hard-working process of Indian hand block printing from start to finish is appreciable; the traditional colors used for printing are red, black, brown, mustard and orange.

  1. Block carving.
  2. Application of dye.
  3. Treatment of fabric.
  4. Printing.
  5. After treatment.

Hand block printing techniques

This unique art can be done in various ways; craftsmen can choose the technique that suits them.

Direct hand block printing: – The cloth is given a light background by bleaching first and then dying, after that the outlining blocks are put to work first followed by the filling blocks.

Resist printing: – Areas of the fabric are protected from the dye by a cover made from clay and resin, then it is died and washed, the dye spreads to the protected areas through cracks.  

Discharge printing: – A chemical is applied to the fabric after dying to deteriorate it from selected areas; these areas are then fixed and recolored.

Hand block printing types

Kalamkari in Madhya Pradesh: – The fabric is printed by a pen, which gives it the name kalamkari, because kalam means pen in Hindi.

Sodagiri prints in Gujarat: – Resist printing is used to make designs of dancing girls, birds, and animals in red and black.

Dabu and ajarakh in Rajasthan: – What makes it unique among the types are the colors used, they are black, red, blue, and beige.

Bagh prints in Madhya Pradesh: – Based on the town called Bagh in Madhya Pradesh, this type uses vegetable and natural dyes in bright shades of red, black, and indigo, the tonal and 3-dimensional prints unique to this type are impossible to replicate using screen or machine printing.

Hand block printing is also vastly done in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

This vast traditional textile culture of India is what makes tourists visit the country and buy the amazing designs from Jaipur Block Print Fabric Wholesale.

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