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Hand Block Printing

Since 12th century India has patronized the art of Hand Block printing on different fabrics. The artistry flourished further with the receivable of royal patronage. Rajasthan and Surat in Gujarat became the important trading centers of printed textiles particular in Block Print art. Today Block Printing has gained new height by reaching in the different corners of the world. The artisans try hard on developing the art completely through natural means using vegetable dyes and natural colors for printing and preserving their workmanship by passing it over to the coming generations.

One will see the use of blue, yellow, red and saffron color the most. There is also much diversity in design, normally varying from figures of animals and birds to traditional patterns of flowers, trees and also modern graphical patterns. These magnificent block prints and designs are best used in decorative wall hangings, garments like saris, skirts, tops, bed linens and dress materials.


Today, India is major hub and within India regions of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the flourishing trade centers for Hand Block printing. Lepakshi prints of Hyderabad are also very popular, in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan, two styles of hand block printing are particularly employed namely Sanganeri and Bagru. The main difference between the two is the background on which the printing is done. Bagru Prints are done on black or red background and Sanganeri is done on white background. Basically for Hand Block printing the wooden blocks are used. Different designs and pattern are carved at the bottom of the block, which is finally dipped into a dye for applying a print on the cloth. Blocks are known 'Bunta' which are carved out of Teakwood by skilled craftsman giving different shapes and size.

Printing Techniques

Hand Block Printing involves different printing techniques. The most common is the Discharge Printing here the fabric is dyed first, it is then removed only from those parts on which designs are to be printed.

Direct Block Printing - is done on cotton or silk. The fabric is first bleached before dyeing. After it is dyed with the desired color, block printing is done on borders with carved wooden blocks.

Resist Printing - The most complicated method for block printing where a part of the cloth, which is not to be dyed, is covered with a paste of resin and clay. And when it is dyed, the color is allowed to seep in through the cracks of the covering. This creates a magnificent waving effect of the color. Only then is the fabric taken for Hand Block printing.

Following the increase of demand, Hand Block Prints are today exported to many parts of the world, especially western countries where people have keen interest in this traditional form of organic art. The originality of designs and the variety of motifs are the most attractive aspect of this handicraft.

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