Aside from mud cloth and shibori, one of my favorite new trends in the textile realm right now is hand-blocked printed fabric. In fact, some of my favorite designers are incorporating this centuries-old tradition into their design schemes, and I cannot stop swooning over it. Today, I am going to show you how I made a hand-blocked (or stamped) pillow cover. Even better..there is no sewing required!
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “hand-blocked” , let me give you a little history lesson. Hand-blocked printing is an ancient Indian art form that involves a hand-carved, wooden block ( or stamp) which is dipped into dye and then stamped directly onto fabric for decorative purposes.
And while in India, skilled artisans dedicate their lives to this art, I decided to casually take a shot at it while jamming to Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72 and sipping brewskies. As you can see, my prints did not render as uniform and precise, but I think the imperfection of it all gives it character and a bit of a worn, vintage vibe.
Or maybe I am just making excuses for my half-assed, slightly tipsy attempts at hand-blocking? I cannot decide yet.
For your convenience, I have included affiliate links. That simply means if you click on one of the links and buy something, I receive a small commission, but don’t worry… you won’t pay a dime more.
No Sew Stamped Pillow Cover Materials
- block printing stamp (you can buy one similar to mine here)
- solid color pillow cover (you can buy a similar one here)
- paint (I used this kind)
- if going for worn/variated look, fabric ink pad (I used this one)
- piece of cardboard (mine came with pillow cover packaging)
- foam brush
In an effort to avoid screwing up my only pillow case, I first decided to play around with my stamping technique on a scratch sheet of paper. I was surprised at just how much pressure I had to apply to the stamp/block(I basically had to beat the hell out of it). At one point, my husband walked into the room and gave me a crazy look, because I was karate-chopping my stamp. I think he was a little concerned for my mental well-being.
Once I was ready, I placed a piece of cardboard in the pillow cover (directly under the area I was stamping) and began actually applying the stamp to this pillow cover, which I purchased on sale at Hobby Lobby. I started off solely using the ink pad. However, I noticed not only was the ink not displaying very clear, the pad was drying out very fast. Remaining calm, I found some acrylic paint I had from another project and continued stamping away.
I applied the acrylic paint directly to the stamp with a foam brush, then I blotted the block into the ink pad (given the ink pad had dried out prematurely, the pad basically acted as a way to blot off any excess paint).
If you are aiming for a more uniform print, I would just stick with fabric paint or acrylic paint and not even bother with the ink pad. However, there is a part of me that finds the tonal, worn effect rather endearing. I definately have a new-found respecting for the art of hand-blocking. It takes practice to get each motif to display clearly and accurate….not too shabby for a tipsy beginner I suppose.
Now get out there and design some good vibes! Please also share the love and pin….