Allow us to welcome you into Gulabchand Prints’ decades old institutional practice of handblock printing as exemplified by an endearing product range from garments, accessories to our vision for the interiors of your domestic bliss in our Home decor line.

Hand block or woodblock printing  is a centuries old art form widely practised in India, China, and other East Asian countries.

In India, this printing technique entails a hand-carved teak or a sheesham wood block that is dipped in dye and stamped by hand on cotton or silk fabrics resulting in unique and ethnically glorious designs binding both the labor personnel and the client to a shared legacy of India’s textile heritage. 

Sagwaan is preferred when durability and softness is of concern, while the relative hardness of Sheesham is gainfully utilised for intricacy in motifs.

Post being sketched on paper and cut to size, the pattern is drawn on the wood. It is then when drilling and chiselling, hammers, nails, and files are turned for recreating the pattern on the block.

Rooted and functional inevitably on community spearheaded work scheme, the master printers, block carvers, dyers, dhobiwalas  and designers operate on a historic sociological matrix of emotions, passion, aspirations and  livelihoods.  

A typical paraphernalia of a handblock printing regime in exercise encompasses long and low-lying printing tables, rustic looking assortment of blocks , rolling trolleys holding  dyeing trays and an array of utilities meeting the sight of a bemused non-native passerby and/or locals who have grown up in the lap of its cultural history.

For a quick reference about the dyes used in handblock printing from an example of dabu prints, we find that they entail natural dyes like kashish for greys and browns and indigo for blue colour , as well as yellows and reds derived from fruits like pomegranate.

Today a wider array of color options are available to the artisans since they are increasingly entailing synthetic dyes as well in the production process along with a continued use of the vegetable dyes. Fabrics can also be dyed more than once, creating vivid imagery with a double dabu and triple dabu effect. 

The block is then dipped in dye and stamped firmly by hand on the fabric often achieved either by hitting the stamp by hand or with the aid of a hammer.

The technique sees a gainful versatility in being able to produce a myriad of distinctive patterns, designs befitting the institution’s, designer’s, client’s vision of be it Daboo, Bagru or Sanganeri style of print for their fabric. 

This  importantly decides the kind of wooden block the craftsman would procure for printing. 

If the design incorporates multiple colors like in the jaal print, then each is applied separately with its own block, after the previous color has dried.

The more colors in a garment, the more time consuming the rigour becomes ,hence costlier the fabric is sold. 

With mild variations being a proof of the textiles’ organic authenticity, you may easily distinguish them from screen printed so-called flawless symmetrical prints.

Once the dye dries, the block printed fabric is washed and sent for curing and thereafter sees a customized treatment by the fashion visionaries and tailoring personnel. 

Hence, when clad in or using any of our handblock printed products, know that it is invested with the heart and soul of nature, laborious workers, and the purity of our environmental & ethical sensibilities. 


(Authored by – Vandana Bhatia )

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