Saturday, March 15, 2014

Block Printing Fun

I have finally used my print block! I've had it for over a year now, and it's about time I did something with it. I recently purchased fabric ink from Dharma Trading Co., along with a dry ink pad in the largest size I could find.

The colors I chose were Violet and Ruby Red.  For the project I have in mind, I wanted to match the color of a purple linen I bought a while back, and I had a suspicion that the violet all by itself would be too dark.  It turns out I was right.

Using a fingertip on a scrap of muslin, I tested the colors of each ink separately and then mixed a small portion of both together.  The third fingerprint was very close to the color I was trying to match!  I also tested just a corner of the print block to see what the flower would look like.  I ironed my samples to set the ink, and tested the fastness by running it under water.

The color held beautifully!  So now I had to mix enough ink together to fill the ink pad.  This took some trial and error, as I kept underestimating how much it would really take.

I also did a few trial runs of stamping on more scrap muslin to work out the kinks of the technique.  I'm very glad I did, because I learned a few things.

I started by using cardboard under the fabric to protect my table, but also to provide some give for the print block to press into.  I quickly discovered that this was not the best thing, as the cardboard I had was slightly warped and the design did not print evenly.  Brian the Engineer suggested rubber, which gave me the idea of using my yoga mat.  It worked wonderfully!  (On the plus side, I did learn from the cardboard trial that the ink would not bleed through my fabric and stain the yoga mat.)

I also didn't like the results I got by stamping right after filling up the ink pad with fresh ink.  It seemed to work better after I let it rest for a day, especially after I remembered to store it upside down.

Finally it was time to start printing for real!

It was surprisingly easy to line up the block with the previously-printed design.  I have to say whoever designed it knew what they were doing!

I certainly made mistakes, but I should be able to avoid the most obvious ones when cutting out my pattern pieces.

At the top of the piece I had to use more scraps to protect my yoga mat where the print block went off the edges.

Overall I think it looks pretty good!  :D


  1. Oh wow!! That is totally, wonderfully, awesomely cool! I applaud you for your stick-to-it-ness in getting all of that on your fabric! I can't wait to see what you make from this! It will be lovely!


    1. Thanks! I was super nervous to get started, but once I got into the groove I didn't want to stop!

  2. I have the worst case of craft envy at the moment. That turned out so well!

  3. That's a lovely color. I look forward to seeing what you make with it and the matching linen!


  4. This is awesome! I've been considering making a fabric stamp. It's cool to see how well it works :)

    1. Thanks! I definitely want to do more fabric stamping. I was very inspired by this post by The Shadow of My Hand:

      So my next project will most likely be a block-printed Regency gown. :)

  5. Wow, that's a lot of printing! Just how much fabric was there? The end result looks amazing, it will work so well with your linen.

    1. I printed about a yard of 90" wide cotton muslin. It took about 30-45 minutes, I would estimate.