Steps for Block Printing Fabrics:
- The design is traced on the sheesham, pear, sycamore or lime wood pieces with lampblack.
- Wood is carved by trained artisans. For complex designs, 'coppering' is done, where copper strips are etched in the blocks.
- Then blocks are submerged in oil to fill the grains in the wood.
- Next, a color sieve is prepared containing a paste of dye colour and starch. The sieve allows the blocks to take up colour without being drenched.
- The fabric is then stretched across a large working table for printing.
- When there are multiple colours to be printed in the same design, 'Toby printing' is used.
Here, a large block is engraved with designs and the colour sieve is divided into compartments so that each block of design fits right into its dye paste.
- The last step is washing and drying it.