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15 In DIY

Hand Woodblock Printed Pillows

Beautiful textiles will always be one of those things that can make me swoon, and the giant bin of neatly folded fabrics I’m hoarding in our closet for just the right project to come along is a good affirmation of my mild obsession (or just ask Ken). Recently I’ve been reading up on woodblock fabric printing, and I find the centuries old, hand-carved and hand-printed process so intriguing. West Elm created a short video a few years ago (to launch their block printed blankets) which beautifully depicts the process. Click here to view.

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I purchased my wood blocks from TATA Indian Wood Stamps, who source their blocks from three incredibly talented Indian artisans at fair trade prices. The beautifully carved blocks make the finished result look alot more difficult than it actually was (Thank goodness for the block carvers!) Printing a small amount of fabric (like pillow covers) at home is actually quite simple. It’s really just a matter of marking where to stamp and then stamping! These were so much fun to make–probably my favorite project I’ve done in a while. I hope you enjoy it too!

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Materials List:

  • 22″ square white linen or cotton pillow covers. I sewed the covers up from old linen drapes.
  • Singer disappearing ink pen
  • t-square
  • fabric paint
  • hand carved woodblock stamp
  • paint brush
  • ink roller OR parchment paper + 1″ dia. wood dowel + tape

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Step 1. Using a disappearing ink pen, mark where and how far apart on the pillow case you’d like your motifs to be. I chose 3″ apart horizontally and 3.5″ vertically staggered. Non-staggered motifs are 7″ apart vertically. It helps to find the center of the pillow and work outward. Even place marks on the outer edges of the pillow as you’ll do partial stamps at these locations.

Step 2. If you do not have an ink roller, now’s the time to make one by wrapping a 1″ wood dowel (or I suppose you could even use a rolling pin) with parchment paper and securing with tape. If you have an ink roller, skip this step!

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Step 3. Lay down a piece of parchment paper to use as your paint station. Secure to your work surface with tape. Place a dime size amount of paint on the parchment and use a paint brush to spread it into a thin even layer (about the size of your stamp).

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Step 4. Roll your “roller” in the paint transferring a thin layer onto the roller.

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Step 5. Place your “roller onto your motif and rock back and forth until the motif is covered in a thin layer of paint.

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Step 6. Eyeball the center of the stamp and with even pressure, place it firmly on each of the dots you made in Step 1. Repeat until all dots have been stamped.

For the outer edges, place a piece of parchment underneath the case, and center the stamp over your mark even though only half the stamp will show up on the pillow case. This gives an illusion of a continuous pattern.

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Step 7. Lay flat to dry and voila!

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Julie
    October 22, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Very cute! I don’t think I could do that in my house quite yet as the dogs, the kid, or both would find a way to distroy it

  • Reply
    stuby07Meg Knetsch
    October 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I am obsessed with these!!! Can we have another craft night and make me some?!?!

  • Reply
    Jenni @ The Common Creative
    October 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    This project is so great. I love how neat and even it looks- that stamp is perfect.

  • Reply
    sowiesoWies
    October 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Hi! this looks really great! I was wondering though, how good is that fabric paint? Will it wash off after a few times washing the fabric?

    thanks and greetings from Holland!

    • Reply
      francoisetmoiblog@gmail.com
      October 25, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Great question! I’m going to wash and dry it and see what happens. Stay tuned!

    • Reply
      francoisetmoiblog@gmail.com
      December 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      As a follow up to your question about the paint holding up. My husband mistakenly threw the printed fabric in with the rest of our wash and dry load (oops!), and the paint looks to be unchanged, nor did the color run. For multiple washes and to keep the fabric looking good in general, I’d stick with washing on cold and air drying. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Kate@Blitsy
    March 31, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I love this, I just recently started dabbling in block printing. I made napkins, but these are WAY cuter!

  • Reply
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