How to Block Print Fabric

    by Wanda Brito

    About the Author

    Wanda Brito was born to write. She has written professionally since 1998 - developing surveys, presentations and marketing research reports — and has been writing and proofreading freelance since 2007. Her work has been featured on She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Colgate University and a Master of Science in administration from Metropolitan College of New York.


    Block printing is a traditionally Indian method of decorating textiles. It has become widely used because it is an uncomplicated method that creates vibrant, colorful patterns. Chemical and artificial colors have replaced the traditional natural dyes used in block printing. The principal Indian tints are red, yellow, blue and saffron. Block printing is usually manufactured, but you can decorate your own fabrics at home by hand block printing to create your own textile designs for clothing or home decor items like pillows and napkins.

    Things You'll Need

    • Pencil
    • Tracing paper
    • Carbon paper
    • Permanent marker
    • Linoleum blocks
    • Carving tool
    • Brayer roller for inking
    • Colored ink
    • Ink tray
    • Solid color fabric
    • Pressing cloth
    • Iron

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    Draw a design or place tracing paper over a design you wish to reproduce and outline the design with a pencil.

    Place carbon paper on top of a linoleum block. Cover the carbon paper with the design and press on the design lines with a pencil. Draw over the carbon lines with a permanent marker.

    Carve out everything but the marker lines on the linoleum with carving tools.Repeat the process on additional linoleum blocks to add different elements to your design, if desired.

    Apply ink on your linoleum block with a brayer by coating the brayer with colored ink and rolling the brayer on the block. Press and stamp the design on the right side of the fabric. Repeat and continue to ink the linoleum block as necessary.

    Ink and stamp additional linoleum blocks for different elements of the design, if desired.Let all ink dry for 24 hours.

    Cover the inked fabric with a pressing cloth and press the fabric with a hot iron for 30 seconds in each area to set the ink.

    • Draw simple designs directly on the linoleum. Reverse all letters. Heat the linoleum with an iron set to low to make cutting easier.
    • Keep all sharp carving tools away from young children.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images