Craft

The Materials You Need to Block Print on Fabric

Discover the materials you need to block print on textiles with Marta Afonso

Marta Afonso is a textile artist and illustrator who inherited her skills and a desire to work with fabric from her grandmother. She studied textile design, took courses in pattern design and dress making, and after attending an engraving workshop, she fell in love with lino cutting and wood engraving. Which is when she started to not only create unique garments, but also the prints to go on them!

Founded five years ago, Atelier Karaka is her creative studio. It specializes in handmade fabric printing, pattern design and illustration.

Marta Afonso shows you the materials you need to hand print fabrics with the block printing technique in this video:

Materials

Smooth fabric: you can use plain white or colored fabric (with no pattern or print), which will become the base for your design.

Fabric made from natural fibers: it’s best to use plant-based fabrics like cotton or linen.

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Fabric for the base of the block: you can use felt or any other thick material.

Oil based dyes: these are very viscose colors, so you’ll need a lithographic roller to spread them out.

Linoleum roller: these are available in various sizes and have a rubber surface.

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Water-based dyes: more environmentally friendly. Store them in a sealed container so that they don’t dry out. Use opaque printing inks that are suitable for fabric, because they’re more viscous and adhere better to your printing block.

Sponge roller: used to transfer water-based inks onto the printing blocks.

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Jar of water: to dilute the ink if it starts to dry out.

Rubbers, soft cut and lino: to cut your block design into. These materials are easier to use and require less practice than wood.

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Lino cutting blades: these little knives are designed for cutting lino and also work very well on soft cut and rubber.

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Pencil, an eraser and vegetable paper: for sketching out your ideas and transferring your designs onto the blocks.

Cutter: to cut out the printing materials for your blocks.

Impermeable base: for spreading the ink using the roller.

Ruler and set square: to measure and mark out geometric patterns.

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Chalks or pens: only use pens with ink that disappears after a while or when you apply heat.

An iron: this is used to ensure the ink is dry and to help fix the print at the end of the process.

Wooden blocks: to help fix the prints.

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Fast-drying glue: to stick the soft cut onto the wooden blocks.

Wooden spatulas, knife or spoon: for transferring and mixing paint out of the container.

Paper: for printing.

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Black marker pens in several thicknesses: to help design your prints.

Detergent and a sponge: to clean your materials.

Enjoy these tips? If you’d like to learn how to create stamps to hand print your own fabrics and build your pattern collection, don’t miss Marta Afonso's online course: Block Printing and Digital Pattern Design.
English version by @studiogaunt

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- Essential Materials for Weaving Tapestries With a Loom.
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