Block Printing

Block printing is a technique for creating prints by carving a design into a block of wood or other material and then applying ink or paint to the block and pressing it onto paper or fabric. This method is a great way to create repeating patterns and designs for textiles, stationery, and other items.


Block printing has been used for centuries in many cultures, with the earliest known examples dating back to ancient China and Egypt. In Europe, block printing was used to create religious texts and illustrations during the Middle Ages.

Materials Needed:

  • Block of wood or other material (such as linoleum or rubber)
  • Carving tools (such as knives or chisels)
  • Ink or paint
  • Brayer or roller
  • Paper or fabric

Block printing is a technique used to create repeating patterns or designs on fabric or paper.

Here Are Some Step-By-Step Instructions For Block Printing:

  1. Gather your materials: Before you begin, gather all of the materials you will need for block printing, such as a carving block, carving tools, ink or paint, a roller or brayer, a printing surface, and the fabric or paper you will be printing on.
  2. Design your block: Decide on the design or pattern you want to create and sketch it onto your carving block. Make sure the design is simple and easy to carve.
  3. Carve your block: Using your carving tools, carefully carve away the parts of the block that you do not want to print. Be sure to carve in the direction of the grain of the wood to prevent the block from breaking or splintering.
  4. Apply ink or paint: Using a roller or brayer, apply ink or paint to the surface of your carved block. Make sure the ink or paint is evenly applied and not too thick.
  5. Print your design: Place your fabric or paper on a flat surface, and press the inked block onto the fabric or paper, carefully applying pressure to transfer the ink or paint.
  6. Repeat the process: Repeat the printing process to create a repeating pattern or design. You can also use different colors of ink or paint to create multi-colored designs.
  7. Allow to dry: Allow the ink or paint to dry completely before handling the fabric or paper.
  8. Clean your block: Clean your block with a damp cloth to remove any excess ink or paint.
  9. Enjoy your finished print: Once your block print is complete, you can use it as a fabric for clothing or home decor, or as an artwork or card.

Remember to practice your design and test your carving skills with a small block before you start with a bigger one. And also make sure that the surface you are printing on is clean and even.

Block Printing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

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Tips and Tricks:

  • Use a softer, less dense wood for carving, such as basswood or balsa.
  • Practice carving on a separate piece of wood before working on the final block.
  • Experiment with different inks and paint to achieve different effects.
  • Use a brayer or roller to evenly distribute the ink over the block before printing.

Project Examples:

  • A set of personalized stationery with a repeating floral pattern created using block printing.
  • A set of napkins or tea towels with a geometric pattern created using block printing.
  • A fabric tote bag with a custom design created using block printing.

Leafy Lemon Tote Bag

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Watch Tess print a Bright, Contemporary Tote Bag using our Leafy Lemon Tote Bag Printing Kit!

Multi Layer Block Print Technique

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Kati shows a quick and easy way to produce a series of multi-layered linoleum block prints. Using this unique method, you’ll be able to align multiple prints on a single sheet to create a polychromatic, intricate print.

Tutorial: Block Printing Basics – Carving the Block

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Valori Wells from the Stitchin’ Post, as she shows you basic block carving techniques using speedy carve.

Kim Lazaroe

Hi, my name is Kim. I've always enjoyed making crafts for each holiday and season throughout the year. My fond memories are making crafts with my mom or helping my dad build something around the house. Now I get to create new crafting memories with my daughter and husband as well as share my knowledge and experience in crafting with the world. Hope you enjoy my site.

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