Ancient Printing Technique - Hand Block Print

The origins of hand block printing documents back to around the 12th century, rich, vibrant colours that are 100% natural are used to make different and unique designs. During the medieval, India became widespread for its excellence in its ‘designed cotton’.  It has been and still is being practised in Rajastan for over 800 years. 

Hand block printing was introduced to the capital of the state, Jaipur by the Chhipa community of that region. This community has shared the instructions for these impeccable natural colours through generations, and now the area is well known for vegetable dyes and mud resists block prints (dabu). The blocks are made of pure wood with hand-carved traditional Indian designs, the designs which one wants to produce.

The process of hand block printing starts with the designs that are printed onto the woods by placing the image on the pre-polished wood, then it is traced and carved deeply into the ‘skin’ of the timber. Once the carving is completed, the sides are trimmed to fit the appropriate size. The wood is then further refined and a handle is attached on the timber.

Saffron, turmeric, herbs,  beetroot, fennel, indigo, madder, marigold, dandelion, walnut husks, hollyhock petals etc are the natural substances that are used to make the colours which are printed on papers or clothes. The substances are ground and made into a powder, then water is added and is stirred well.

The paint that is used in everyday houses, emit harmful chemicals which can damage our environment and can help in contributing to global warming. Environmentally helpfull paints can reduce a substantial amount of pollution, gases and lessen the degree of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  

The future of hand block printing should be apprehended and promoted, it is the oldest recorded printing procedures and techniques that have lasted for generations. We need to make block printing more out there in the world as it is environmentally friendly and entirely handmade by artisans all across India. Right now we should start buying products that are made using block printing as it will spread awareness and the designs of the hard-working artisans will flourish. 

Check our collection at EeshaBoutique

Author - Rigved Soda

Hand Block Printing



  • Danyah Preston

    I loved reading about where my beautiful dress has come from, especially knowing that it’s slow fashion made sustainably with the environment in mind. It is such a precious skill that must be preserved and indeed promoted. This is feel-good fashion. Thank you X

  • Kirti Shrisat

    Dear Rigved, thanks a lot for the information. Very well explored and explained!!!
    Its a privilege that we have such pure, natural, oldest and chemical free fashion and styles from remote parts of India available locally in Sydney. Thank you for taking the huge effort. I am sure you will continue to provide us with amazing cultural fashions from all over India!!
    One for me please!!!!!!!!

  • Zaraf Shaikh

    Nice write up. Great info. Well done Rigved. 👍

  • Sammit

    Very well written. Well done Rigged.

  • Akhilesh

    Nicely written and I agree there is lot to learn from our traditional techniques probably answers to our today’s environmental issues . Thanks Rig for this article and thanks to Esha boutique for promoting good stories.

Leave a comment