Block printing is considered to be one of the most artistic methods of adding prints to textiles. The process requires hours upon hours of love and care from the hand that does it, yet because of the astoundingly beautiful results, it is still widely used today.
It is difficult to say when the art of block printing began, but it is estimated to be thousands of years old, even as early as the 5th century B.C., with roots in Japan, China, and India. Then, the woodblock technique was used for printing both text and images (before the magic of automated printing presses). The process has not changed much with the passing of time—designs are first carved into blocks of wood or stone, which can take hours, even days.
Bisheng Woodblock Printing Blocks, c. 990 – 1051
Woodblock, India, c. 1900
In some cases, dyes or paints are hand made, as well, using pigment powders extracted from plants.
Dyes are either rolled onto blocks or the blocks are dipped into the dyes from a tray, and then firmly pressed onto the fabric or paper that is pulled tight to be sure of accurate printing. After dyeing, the fabric/paper is carefully hung to dry. If it is an intricate pattern, the outline is done first, then the rest is filled in, with the drying process being repeated after each layer is placed on the textile.
Check out some of our favorite looks with block prints:
We like the calming nature of these hand-blocked seafoam green patterns. They look especially nice with koi orange accents (one of the hottest colors this season).
A Vision in Red (and Orange)
Whether in a bedroom or a living room, these red hand-blocked prints bring an element of passion to a space as well as an exotic flair. Accent it with a small amount of powdery blue.
Barely There Neutrals
Neutrals in fabric and wallpaper are a great way to add a bit of hand-blocking to your home without having to redecorate the whole room.
To Learn More About Block Printing, Watch this Video:
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