Hand Block Printing: A Fascinating Dive into Craftsmanship and Culture


In the vast tapestry of textile traditions, Block printing stands out for its beauty and intricate craftsmanship. Originating centuries ago, this technique has created a vibrant place in people’s hearts around the world. Let's explore the fascinating world of block printing…

Block Printing:

Block printing is a method of printing patterns on any surface. Artisans hand carve intricate designs onto wooden blocks which are dipped in dye and stamped onto materials to create beautiful patterns. It was originally practiced mainly on textiles, but now paper is widely used as well.

 Hand block printed tablecloth

Green Ivy Rectangular Tablecloth


Where did Block Printing first originate?

The origins of hand block printing can be traced back to ancient China ( around 4500 years ago). From there, the technique spread to India, Egypt and eventually Europe.

In India, block printing is practiced in many different crafts each with its own design style, colors and process. Verifiable records indicate that block printing has been practiced in India since the 4th century BCE, with its peak in the state of Rajasthan. Today, the block printing houses of Jaipur, Bagru, and Sanganer are acclaimed worldwide for their excellence in block printing.


Hand block printing on cotton fabric


What is the process of block print on fabric?

The process of block printing involves the following steps:

1. Design Creation
2. Block Making
3. Fabric Preparation
4. Dye Preparation
5. Printing

1. Design Creation:

Designers or artisans design intricate patterns, often inspired by nature and culture. These designs are then transferred onto wooden blocks using tracing paper, ready to be carved.

Pattern Design Process of Green Chintz Collection

2. Block Making:

Skilled craftsmen carve the designs using different tools, onto wooden blocks, creating a raised surface for printing. Each block requires precision and expertise to capture the intricate details of the design.
Blocks are usually carved from Teak or Sheesham wood ( Indian Rosewood) because they are highly resistant to water, termites, and fungi and have excellent durability. The carved blocks are further immersed in oil for a week to prevent them from cracking and warping, ensuring the long life of wooden blocks and proper printing on fabrics.

Wooden block carving

Did you know each block-printed design consists of different types of blocks? 🤔
  • Rekh, derived from the Hindi word Rekha, means outline. Rekh block forms the fine and elaborate outlines of the design.
  • Datta is printed to fill colors in the outlined design. Each color is printed by a separate datta block. The more colors in the designs mean more the number of blocks.
  • The Gad block provides the background color in the design & is printed first or at last according to the design.

These blocks can be printed together in endless variations of the same design.


Wood blocks of Chintz Collection

3. Fabric Preparation:

Block printing can be performed on various fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, rayon, chiffon, and georgette. Cotton, silk, and linen are preferred as they retain the dye without bleeding.
Before printing, the fabric is thoroughly washed and dried to remove any impurities.

4. Dye Preparation:

Natural or synthetic dyes are prepared according to the desired colors and outcomes.

Printing tray preparation

The block printing crafts practiced in town of Bagru traditionally uses natural dyes made from organic materials like plants and minerals following traditional recipes. Bagru has been designated as a Geographical Indication (GI), a new classification of Intellectual Property aimed at preserving indigenous rights and cultural knowledge.

Dabu Printing (Mud Resist) of Bagru

5. Printing:

The carved wooden blocks are dipped into the prepared dyes and then stamped onto the fabric in a repeated pattern.
This process requires careful alignment and consistent pressure to create flawless prints. Artisans train for generations to acquire the precision you witness in our products.
Once printed, the fabric is dried and fixed by the process of sun-drying, washing and steam-setting, resulting in vibrant and beautifully patterned fabrics.



What products can be created using block-printed fabric?

Block print fabric is used in a wide range of products, including:

 large round tablecloth

Carmen Round Tablecloth - Red and white


palm green tree napkins

Green Palm Block Printed Napkins


What sets block printing apart and makes it special?

Handcrafted: Block printing is a highly laborious craft that requires precision and meticulous attention. It’s fascinating to see how the skills of block printing have been passed down from generations. Each piece is carefully crafted as it passes through the hands of our amazing team of block makers, washers, dyers, printers, and tailors, ensuring that each item is truly one-of-a-kind.


Eco-friendly: Traditional block printing uses natural or AZO-free dyes and sustainable materials, making it environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Cultural Significance: Block printing encompasses the rich cultural heritage of the regions where it originated, with designs often inspired by nature, folklore, and traditions. The block-printed textiles are grounded in thoughtfulness and connection, with each piece telling a unique story about its origin and creators.

While there have been some slight modifications to the process over the years, the original approach remains unchanged, giving authenticity to every hand-block printed item. The human touch is unmistakable, with its charming imperfections that machines cannot reproduce.



Hand block printing: What's ahead?

Despite the rise of digital printing technologies, handblock printing continues to thrive. Its authenticity, craftsmanship, and slow and sustainable nature appeal to a growing audience who value artisanal products. Additionally, the demand for eco-friendly and ethically made textiles is driving the resurgence of hand-block printing worldwide.

Discover the charm of block-printed textiles while exploring our beautiful collection of tablecloths and napkins here.


In a world of mass produced items, the art of block printing stands as a testament to the enduring beauty of traditional craftsmanship.
When you buy a block-printed product, you acquire a unique piece for your home, and also enable artisans, their families, and communities to sustainably maintain their way of life with dignity.


What's your favorite block-printed item in your home, and does it hold any special memories for you? Share in the comments below!




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.