Block printing specialists - online craft supplies, workshops & textile holidays
Jaipur – How the Wooden Printing Blocks are made
This week we are moving onto how the wooden blocks that I love so much are made.
As I am sure you are aware, the blocks are made in India and hand carved. The wood used is called Sheesham but more commonly known as North Indian Rosewood. Sheesham wood is a slow growing but durable wood and is native to the Indian sub-continent. The wood is cut into slices resembling pizzas and then filed and sanded until completely flat and smooth. The surface is then covered with a mixture of chalk, Fevicol which is like PVA glue. This is what gives the blocks the white finish on the carved side.
The design for the block is first drawn onto a piece of paper and then transferred onto the white side of the wood and tacked into place. The pattern is transferred onto the wood by drawing and piercing the paper sheet to create an image that is ready to be carved.
The carving process is all completed by hand using small chisels and bow drills. The larger, more industrial type of blocks also have holes drilled along the back of the block to release any excess dye or paint that may have accumulated in the grooves of the block that could end up on the fabric by mistake if the holes weren’t there.
Once the design is complete the blocks are soaked in oil for up to a week to make them more durable and to avoid them cracking in the dry environment of block printing. You will have probably notice that if you leave your blocks on a piece of paper that the oil will leak out.
They say that pictures paint a thousand words, and in this case this is so true. We have a video below of the carvers at work so you can see every step they take to create the blocks that you all love so much. Just click on the video to watch.
We are moving onto the third installment of Kim’s trip to Jaipur. Just click on the image to be taken to her blog.
If you are interested in joining us on a trip to Jaipur, then please visit our website and reserve your place. We have spaces left on our trip in December this year plus all of our trips in 2018. Pick the time and itinerary that suits you and we look forward to seeing you.