Block Printing is one of the oldest and most commonly used printing patterns in India. And, for good reason! It is a beautiful way to make ethnic designs in all types of colours, shapes and sizes. The sheer number of things you can make with it, boggles my mind! I was first introduced to it as a child, when my mom used to make and sell block printed bed covers. I remember sitting and staring at the pretty designs for hours. From there, I went onto trying small patterns and designing bed covers with my mom. It was so much fun! So, today I wanted to show a teeny tiny glimpse of it with some Ombre Block Print Napkins!
To give a little bit of background, block printing is done in many ways. But, the traditional way is to use wooden blocks that are pressed into dye, paint, ink etc and then pressed onto cloth, to make an imprint on it. It is done by hand and the designs can be simple or intricate, based on the block you are using. Today, I’m going to be using a very simple block. However, if you would like to see something more elaborate, let me know in the comments below!
Time taken: 1.5 hour for 4 napkins
- Plain White Napkins
- Fabric Paint in 3 colours (I’m using red, orange and yellow)
- Block Printing Block
- Thin paint brush
- Flat plate / platter
- Iron the napkins and leave them without a fold. This will make them much easier to paint on.
- Put a drop of water on one of the napkins and seeing how much it spreads. If the water spreads a lot, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t use water while painting.
- Take a plate and add the 3 shades of paint close to each other. Spread out the paint and make sure the edges of the paint meet. You want to blend them into a thin layer which is big enough for the block to fit on.
- Spread out the napkin and mark the space for the design.
- Place the stamp on top of the paint, making sure all the 3 paints are there on the block. Press it down to make sure all of the stamp is covered.
- Lift the stamp straight up and press it on the napkin. Press it down firmly, so that all of the design is transferred.
- After a few seconds, lift the stamp straight up.
For the border, I took the remaining paint and made a gradient around the edges of the napkin. To get the same effect, divide each edge of the napkin in three and paint in the 3 colours. The order I followed was dark to light (red then orange then yellow), while blending in the colours.
Once the napkins have dried out, wash them (to check the fabric paint) and iron out the napkins. And that’s it! You can repeat the steps for as many napkins as you like and make a beautiful and colourful set for your table!
Things to keep in mind:
- This is a slow process. You don’t want to rush it or the block will come out untidy. If this is your first time using wooden blocks, test it out on paper before you start.
- Once you’re done painting, wash off the block with water.
- If you’re not sure about dipping the block, you can use a paintbrush to brush the paint on the block.
- Don’t use water, as far as possible.
- The design will come as a mirror image of the block.
What do you think of our block print napkins and would you like to see more of it? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear your thoughts!