Block Printing Basics - Become a Textile Designer!
Printing Runs in My Family
I come from a long line of printers. My dad owned a print shop in Minneapolis that was passed on from my grandfather and great-great uncle. I grew up alongside humming machines, piles of paper, and the distinct smell of ink. I believe my obsession with art and craft is directly linked to my time spent in his studio.
I never intended to become a printer, yet I find myself hand printing things weekly. My dad passed away last year and I always think about him when I'm working. After a busy day, I would ask him how he was doing and he would exclaim "I'm up to my elbows in ink!" Now I often find my self in the same predicament.
Block printing is a simple way to get started with print making! It's easy to do at home and you don't need any special equipment, just a few tools, some ink, and whatever you'd like to print on!
- Soft Rubber Roller
- Fabric Ink
- Rubber Carving Block
- Lino Cutter
- Plastic knife for scooping ink
- Flat surface to roll out ink- I use a piece of plexiglass, but a plastic cutting board or cookie sheet would work!
- Items to print on! You could print on paper, a tote bag, an apron, or even these undies!
Block Printing Necessities
Block Printing Tutorial: Carve a Stamp and Print!
Making my custom block
I thought it would be fun to carve a portrait of my dog, print it on chambray fabric, and sew it into a top. Before sewing, I printed the front and the back of my shirt using a half drop repeat pattern. To achieve this pattern, print one horizontal row with your block spaced evenly. For the row below, position your block so it is centered underneath the space above it. To learn more about basic textile patterns, check out this helpful article.
Show off your custom item!
My custom puppy shirt makes me so happy! It's so easy to customize clothing you already have and change it into a truly unique item!
By Jennie Lennick
Designer, entrepreneur, and lover of crafts! Boss Lady at Jenny Lemons in San Francisco