Block Printing - The Traditional Art of India

by Aarav Fabricator Women Clothing Manufacturer

India has been reckoned for its unique art and crafts since ancient times.  Over the centuries, it has been producing fabrics from different types of hand printing techniques. Different techniques are used here by people of varied customs and culture. Among the many, one of the most popular forms of hand printing here is Block Printing. While this traditional technique has been in use since ancient times, it has created a space for itself in metropolitan cities of India today. Not only this, block print dress material is being exported to countries worldwide.

India has many centers where these art and craft techniques are done on a large scale. These areas are –


  •     Rajasthan (Bagru, Sanganer, Akola)
  •     Gujarat (Surat, Ahmedabad, Sanganer, Pethapur)
  •     Andhra Pradesh
  •     Madhya Pradesh
  •     Uttar Pradesh (Farukhabad)
  •     West Bengal.

Mainly, there are two types block methodology prevalent in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat – Bagru and Sanganeri. Almost identical to each other, the thing that primarily distinguishes them from one another is the background colour on which they are printed. While Bagru forms are done on red and black background, Sanganeri is done on white background. As far as other regions are concerned, block designs in the western part in of India are typically fine, and that in eastern parts are bolder and bigger.

Different Techniques of Hand Block printing

Typically, there are 3 types of block printing:

1) Direct Block Printing : The fabric used for this type is either cotton or silk. The process begins with bleaching the cloth first followed by dyeing it with the desired colour. Later, block printing is done starting from the borders to the inside of the cloth with carved wooden blocks.

2) Discharge Printing : In this technique, the fabric on which printing is to be done is dyed at first. The dye is then removed from the part of fabric on which motifs are to be made using a chemical. Lastly, the printed segments are treated so that they can be re-coloured.

3) Resist Printing : Firstly, the portion of the fabric which is not to be dyed is covered with the paste of clay and resin. The fabric is then dyed with the desirable dye. Here, the dye penetrates through the cracks creating a wavy effect of colours on the fabric. At last, the fabric is designed.  

Block technique is used to create rich and colourful prints. The best part about this technique is that the dyes used for printing are completely natural. Commonly used colours include yellow, blue, red and saffron. Wooden blocks used to create designs come in different shapes and designs. These slabs are known as Bunta.


Look at the Process of Block Printing dress material in India

  • At first, the fabric to be printed is washed free of starch.
  • If there is a need for tie-dyeing, this is carried out before the process. If the fabric is already dyed, it is washed to remove excess colour and dried in the sun.
  • Then, the fabric is stretched over the table.
  • Next, the blocks and colours to be mixed are kept ready. Usually, the blocks are made up of teak wood and are hand-carved. In order to soften the timber, they are usually soaked in oil for 10-15 days prior use.  
  • To give the colour a soft base, it is kept in a tray that rests on another tray containing a liquid made of glue and pigment binder. This also helps in colour spreading on the block.
  • As the crafting process starts, the colour is first evened out in the tray and the block is dipped in the outline colour.
  • Then, the block is pressed down hard on the cloth. This makes a clear impression.
  • Once the fabric is printed, it is left in the sun for drying. Then, it is rolled in the newspaper to prevent the cloth layers from sticking to each other.
  • Further, the fabric is steamed, washed in water and dried in the sun.
  • Finally, the fabric is ironed before placing on sale.


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About Aarav Fabricator Junior   Women Clothing Manufacturer

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Joined APSense since, May 23rd, 2017, From Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Created on Oct 6th 2017 02:16. Viewed 466 times.


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