An Introduction to Block Printing

Block printing is an ancient art form that has been practiced for centuries, originating in East Asia and China. It’s a technique for printing text, images, or patterns and has been widely adopted throughout various cultures due to its versatile nature and the unique results it can produce.

What is Block Printing?

At its core, block printing involves carving a design into a block made of wood, linoleum, or rubber, inking that block, and then pressing it onto a surface, be it paper, fabric, or even a wall. The beauty of block printing lies in its simplicity: with just a few tools and materials, anyone can create intricate designs and patterns.

The basic tools needed for block printing include a carving tool, a block (linoleum, rubber, or wood), block printing ink, a brayer (roller), paper, and a spoon for burnishing.

Exploring Techniques

One of the most exciting aspects of block printing is the multitude of techniques that you can explore. For instance, playing with texture by printing with very little ink can yield stunning results. You can also create layered illustrations using multiple blocks, each carved with different parts of the design. By printing one layer at a time, you can achieve a multi-colored print.

Application of Block Printing

Block printing isn’t just limited to paper. Its versatility allows it to be used on a variety of surfaces. Fabric block printing, for example, is a popular method for creating custom textiles. In fact, some artists have taken block printing to new heights by creating large-scale block-printed murals.

For beginners looking to explore this art form, there are comprehensive block printing kits available that provide all the necessary tools and materials to get started.


Block printing is a rewarding and accessible art form that anyone can try. Whether you’re a seasoned artist looking for a new medium to explore or a complete beginner wanting to dip your toes into the world of printmaking, block printing offers endless possibilities for creativity.

So why not give block printing a try? You might be surprised by what you can create with just a few simple tools and your imagination.

Links For Further Reading

  1. Wikipedia – Woodblock Printing
  2. Boarding All Rows – Guide to Block Printing Techniques and Supplies
  3. Recoverie – Block Printing: The Ultimate Guide
  4. YouTube – How to Block Print Like a Pro | HGTV Handmade
  5. Block Shop Textiles – Original Block Printing Kit




The Joy Of Print is a blog, podcast and reference resource by Briyan Frederick, a graphic arts professional with over 35 years in the industry.

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