The Most Beautiful Block Printed Textiles Perfect for Mums

by Wendy Croxford

in Permaset Blog

26 Apr 2017  | 0 Comments

Mother’s Day lands on Sunday, 14 May this year, so it’s time to get busy. We think there’s no better way to celebrate Mum and all that she does than with a custom-designed block printed cushion, scarf or even a tea towel. Here, we take a look at what the block printing technique entails and explore some beautiful inspiration for your Mother’s Day project.

Firstly, what does block printing involve?

Block printing is one of the oldest techniques for printing on textiles and paper, harking back to at least Third Century China – and possibly even before that! The principle is very simple: a design is carved into a wooden, rubber, foam or lino block and printed into a pattern by hand using block printing fabric ink. You can even use found objects such as string, board game pieces, buttons and beads to build up your design on a block.

Permaset Aqua ink

Block printing with Permaset Aqua inks by @Renateandtheanthouse

Block printing provides a great deal of flexibility in the way you print patterns on fabric. The same simple block design can produce entirely different results when printed densely or in a staggered pattern.

Inspiration for Mother’s Day block printed textiles

When it comes to printing a design for Mum this May, think about her personal style. Does she love simplistic patterns in bright and bold colours, or delicate and intricate prints? Once you’ve decided on a direction, you can begin to build up a design and experiment with patterns on some scrap fabric.

Drum Lampshade

Hand made drum lampshade by Peris and Corr, featuring geometric patterns which can be printed use block printing techniques.

Your block can be created in any shape or size. We love the simple repeating geometric pattern on these lampshades, which could be reproduced using a long block design.

Block printing can also be used to build up a design using different colours and blocks.  Why not try a mandala pattern using Mum’s favourite colours and custom blocks – or even using the decorative bottoms of jars and bottles? Be sure to centre each object carefully, wait for your fabric block printing ink to completely dry before adding each new layer, and heat-set the final result.

Block Printed Cushions

You could make some beautiful hand block printed cushions like these by Shakiraaz Homewares

There is really no limit to the effects you can achieve using block printing. Its flexibility means you can repeat the pattern over any size of fabric – even creating an entire outfit using your custom design.

Permaset Aqua ink is a good consistency for block printing, or can be thinned with a little water.   One thing to remember is to apply your Permaset ink to blocks using a foam roller as this spreads the ink much better than using a rubber roller or brayer.  Also Permaset, being water based is so easy to clean up afterwards with no harmful chemicals involved.

Curing Your Block Print

If using Permaset eco-friendly, water-based inks, you will need to cure your block printed design by ironing over it.  To do this, grab some brown paper or baking paper, put that over your design, set your iron to Medium, and iron over your design for 1 minute. Then take a little break to let the print cool for a moment, and continue to iron it for another minute.

This setting or curing of the ink, will mean that you can wash the cushion cover or tea towel without the colours running. Leave your fabric to cool and dry and step back to admire your very own block printed creation!

You can find all your fabric block printing supplies in our online shop, or find a stockist just in time for Mother’s Day.

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