16 October 2011

Wood Block Printing - getting it together (part 2)

ps: this method works only for printing with dark colours on a lighter shade of fabric.
Here is the second set of instructions for your block printing project. This post gives you a list of all the supplies required.
Here is a sample of things I have printed at home....
You can see a few more here.....
Please check the notes given here in part 1 of posts related to this project before you begin printing.

The supplies you'll need are....
pigment dyes - also called industrial dyes or acramin dyes,
100% natural fabric, we will use cotton here.
a small sheet of thin foam- 2-3 mm thick,
a 6" - 9" steel or glass plate,
a blanket or thick sheet folded over a few times to use as a base - use an old  discard blanket/sheet for this as the colour will seep into this too rendering it unfit to use for anything else.
old plastic tubs with air-tight lids to mix colours in,
a dropper or toothpick to extract the dyes from the bottles.

(Long ago you needed to add urea to the mixture and let it rest for a couple of days but with the newer dyes and chemicals this is not required anymore.)

Here are a few pictures of the ingredients so you get an idea of what you are looking for......

Binder...looks very much like plain white PVA glue or Fevicol as we commonly call it in India...and has the the same consistency too.
You buy it by the kilo....most shops have 1 kg as the minimum amount.

Fixer....this helps to 'set' the colour....it is a thick, colourless liquid and is required in small quantities...you would use just about half a teaspoon for a small project like a scarf.
You can buy this in small bottles of about 30-50 ml.

Pigment dyes....(picture shows a bottle of fixer too on the left side of the basket)...you need just 4-5 drops of these for a small project - a few more if you need a deeper shade. Again, sold in small 50 ml bottles.
To begin with you just need to buy the basic colours - red, yellow, blue - you can mix these for other colours.

Blocks...start with the smaller 1 inch blocks and if you decide you like doing this go in for the bigger ones.
... as you can tell the round sun-burst block hasn't been used yet.

Foam sheet on a steel plate and an old sheet folded over as the padded base to print on.....ha ha...sounds funny........

.......that takes care of your supply list....go ahead and collect your stuff and I'll be posting the third and final post soon..happy shopping...:)
Please let me know if you have any queries about anything here..


  1. Where can I find the wooden blocks?

  2. awesome Rupi! where can I find the dyes? Comm St ?

  3. If you are in Bangalore you can visit Devi and sons, Off Comm St, for all your supplies.

  4. Neha, most art and craft shops should stock these. In India, these are available in all crafty shops now. If you visit here you could try the Staples and Hobby Ideas stores.

  5. Shared this on my Facebook wall :-)

  6. This is so wonderful Rupi - thanks so much for sharing this with us with such clear instructions! I am definitely going to buy some of these wooden blocks and dyes. This could be my weekend project.

  7. Thanks guys, for all your comments! Will be posting the instructions soon...:)

  8. Thanks for such an elaborate post. I dont think this was explained so well before.


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