Life in Portland Blog

How to Make Your Own Block Print for DIY Crafts, Textiles and More


All Your Block Printing Questions Answered Here for DIY Crafting

Portland has no shortage of stunning textiles in our local concept stores and pop up shops. But here’s a secret: you don’t have to spend $40 each time you want an artisan block print — DIY block printing is easy enough to do at home.

Even if you don’t have conventional block printing tools like stamps and wood blocks, you can still use simple items from around the home to create your own custom block print textiles. Ready to get started? Here’s our guide for making your own DIY block print crafts.

Gather Your Block Printing Supplies

First things first: before you start crafting away, you’ll want to gather a few essentials to create your own block prints. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re ready to start crafting:

  • Your textile of choice: this could be a blank canvas pillow, fabric for curtains, greeting cards, dishtowels… the possibilities are truly endless!
  • An inkpad or acrylic paint, whichever offers the colors you want to feature on your DIY block print project. If you opt for paint, make sure you also purchase a textile media to make your acrylic paint washer-friendly.
  • Rubber stamps or wood blocks to make your block print patterns. If you’re feeling extra thrifty, you can use household objects like string or buttons, too.
  • A sponge; if you’re using paint, this will serve as your inkpad.
  • An iron; again, if you’re using paint, then you’ll want to use an iron to make sure your pattern sets before you wash your textiles!

How to Make Your Own Block Prints

Step 1: This step is optional, but we recommend prepping your block print canvas, whatever it may be, by pre-washing your fabric. Pre-washing will help you avoid any shrinkage and unwanted disruptions to your block print pattern.

Step 2: Prep your ink. If you’re using an inkpad, simply open your ink and place a paper towel under your pad to avoid extra mess. If you opt for acrylic paint, mix your water-based paint with the textile medium in a shallow dish. Pro tip: if you’re combining colors, pour more paint than you think you might need; you don’t want to have to recreate your ideal color if you run out!

Step 3: Ready your sponge. If you’re using an inkpad, you can skip this step and head straight to step four. But if you’re using paint, spread your paint mixture across a sponge to create your custom DIY inkpad — this helps your paint spread easily on your textiles.

Step 4: Coat your wood block or stamp, then start pressing your pattern onto fabric! Before you begin, make sure your fabric is spread evenly on a flat surface. And if you have a thing for making your pattern picture-perfect, feel free to measure and mark your fabric for spacing your prints.

Step 5: After your pattern is complete and your paint/ink is dry, there’s one more step: ironing! By applying heat to your textiles, you set your paint and ensure your block print craft will stand the test of time.

If you have a couple of hours and a can-do attitude, you can create the perfect block print decor that you’ve been dreaming of. No more scouring shops and the Internet for something that will work in your space – create the perfect item yourself with these simple DIY blockprinting steps.

[image via: Assembly PDX]