Block Printing

The History – China, India or Japan?

India is commonly thought of as the place from which woodblock or block printing originated. However, history shows that the technique is most likely to have been used in China. This was as early as the 7th century AD, where it was used as a method for printing onto cloth.

It was later, in the 15th century, that people in India used blocks carved from wood to print fabric and books. Block printing was used in Japan at around the same time and was called Ukiyo-e.

So how are the blocks made?

To make the wood blocks that are used today the process is the same one used thousands of years ago.

The wood block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show ‘white’ are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in ‘black’ at the original surface level. The block is cut along the grain of the wood which may have been made from teak.

Would you like to try Block Printing?

Block printing is a simple craft that can be used to great effect. A Wobbly Pins workshop will show you:

  • How to apply the ink to an appropriate flat surface
  • How to work the ink with a roller
  • The best way to to roll the ink onto the printing block
  • The techniques to press the block onto the paper/surface to print