Block printing is a form of dying and coloring a fabric using wooden blocks usually on linen, cotton and silk. India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters in the world. The production is done on large-scale at places like Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Block printing can be done by wooden and metal blocks. Textile printing is the process of applying color in definite patterns and designs. Fabrics that are properly printed are color bonded with the fiber, so as to resist color from fading while washing or applying friction. For making various designs on the fabric, wooden blocks, stencils, engraved plates or rollers can be used to place colors on fabric during printing. There are several ways by which a fabric can be printed. Hand block printing is one such technique, which involves carving a desired pattern or design on a wooden block, covering this block with ink or dye and then stamping it on the fabric. While blocks can be made up of stone; but for better results they are more commonly made from wood. Intricate designs that you see printed on a fabric are not designed with a brush; they are carved to wooden blocks. Fine prints of flowers, animals and several abstract designs; gives an interesting face to a simple fabric.
Woodblock printing is the process of printing patterns on textiles; like linen, cotton or silk by using wooden blocks. It is the simplest, but the slowest process of textile printing. Hand block printing is capable of yielding higher artistic results, some of which are not possible by any other designing method. Earlier, the design for the hand block was usually a traditional Indian motif; however, now any design can be engraved on the block to hand print the fabric. Rajasthan is home to hand block printing. This technique of block printing is used in both fashion and interior industry. Good wood block printing requires skill and practice in order to create uniformity and clear patterns.
Wood blocks used for hand block printing is generally made up of sycamore, plane and pear wood. These blocks may vary in size, but should be two or three inches thick for ease. Side edges of the wood are left and it is not carved. Fine details are very difficult to cut in wood; and if successfully cut they tend to break off in printing. Each color has a different block; so while getting these blocks ready; an important task is to get exact design in your hand before applying. Once wooden blocks are ready, you can start off with printing the fabric.
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