Idea flows

BLOCK PRINTING (Direct printing technique)

Definition: Colour in the form of a thickened paste is applied to the raised parts of the block and the impression of the design is obtained by stamping the block by hand with a wooden mallet


Block printing is the oldest and simplest method of printing. Archaeological Prints of very artistic and decorative value, with purity and richness of colour are produced by Block Printing. This method is still in use in many parts of the world due to low dependence on technology. Block making artisans of Jaipur area in Rajasthan are known for carving the most intricate designs on wooden blocks.

This method involves use of blocks to aid in creating a print design on fabric. The colour used is in paste form. Upto 23colours and 126 blocks have been used to produce a design.




• Design Blocks

• Long Tables

• Seives with trolleys

• Woollen Felt cloth or several layers of gunny

• Pins or Gum to secure fabric in place.


Design Blocks are the instruments used to create the design. These are made with several layers of commonly available wood/timber stuck together and the required design is carved or raised as relief on a thick block of wood. For fine lines, which cannot be carved into wood, copper strips are used, for creating dots, copper pins or needles are used. There is a limit on the size of the block as the block has tobe operated manually. So if a design is huge, it is divided into several parts and along each part of block, pitch pins are fixed, which help in aligning the blocks to complete a design. At the same time, if the design is of multicolours then again, separate blocks are used for each colour.


Long Tables are generally made of wood and covered with a resilient pas of a woollen felt cloth or several layers of gunny cloth on which a kora cotton fabric is fixed. The fabric to be printed is gummed or pinned to the padding on table. To prevent wrinkling of fabric tobe printed it may be stiffened sometimes. 

Table height = 75 to 90cms and width = 150cms. Height is lowered if printing is tobe done sitting.


Sieve with Trolley is used for supplying colour to the block. The parts of a Sieve with Trolley are:

• Sieve

• Trough

• Swimming tub

• Trolley

Sieve is made of a rectangular wooden trough with the bottom covered with a fine woollen cloth stretched over it tightly and secured by nails.

Trough is larger than the sieve, trough is covered with Rexene or rubber sheet.

Swimming Tub is almost filled with printing paste. The trough with Sieve is floating on the paste.

Trolley, swimming tub is placed on trolley so that paste can be moved along the table while printing.



The colour paste is spread on the woollen cloth of the sieve. The block is carefully placed on this sieve and pressed more than once till it picks up an even layer of paste, the block is then stamped on the cloth on the table in the required place of the design and given blows or strikes with a mallet or hammer to ensure clear impressions. Separate sieves are used for each colour required to make the design. The pattern is built by repeated stamping in the required sequence. Once the whole cloth is printed it is removed and given the appropriate after treatment.