For every thing there is a season. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together. A time to block print, and a time to describe the process. Here it is.
I’ve been block printing for a couple of months now, off and on, alternating it with poly clay sessions, cooking and posting recipes to my cooking website. So far I’ve block printed a couple of fleece scarves (too late to wear them though, set aside till October), a couple of aprons (I gave one to my mom-in-law for Mother’s day) and the pillowcases for my kitchen pillows.
I’ve been using russet potatoes for my printing blocks and Jacquard Textile Paint, which is a permanent fabric paint that becomes permanent after brief ironing of a painted item. Very easy and lots of ways to be creative. You will love the process. If you have kids, they will adore it too.
Before printing, it is always reasonable to wash, dry and iron (if needed) the fabric you are going to print on. Peel your russet potatoes and cut them into any shape you want. You can use cookie cutters or go freehand with a sharp paring knife. You can make your blocks tall enough to hold them with your fingers or put them on small forks, like I do. Seafood forks work great.
Put something underneath fabric you’re printing on (like an old t-short or a bed sheet, or a piece of paper). The paint can go through the fabric and print on a working surface. Then with a brush apply paint onto a block in an even layer and press it on a fabric. I don’t recommend dipping blocks directly in paint, because they can take more paint than needed and leave blotches.
If your block is wide, press it all over with your fingers so that all the surface prints evenly on a fabric.
Keep your potato blocks in water (besides those you use right now) and wipe dry before using. You can reuse potato blocks, just wash them thoroughly and use for another project. If you use potato block longer than one day, store in water in the refrigerator.
Besides potatoes, I also used chopsticks (flower stems on my fleece scarf) and wood cutouts. For cutouts, I recommend super-gluing a chopstick to one side to use it as a handle. Other great block printing materials are apples or pears (cut in half and print apples and pears), okra (cut in half and print to produce little flowers) and sea shells. You can also apply fabric paint onto the backside of leaves, press them on a fabric and roll on top with a roller.