It’s the time of year when I’m coming back indoors and starting to think about kitchen table crafting. One of my favourite projects in recent months has been block printing some of my vintage linen stash. I was inspired by a visit to the V&A where I saw an exhibition about Indian art, and watched some film of highly skilled block printers carving their stamps and then using them to create stunning fabrics. When I spotted a wooden block print stamp at my local antiques fair and another in a nearby vintage shop, I decided to give it a go.
What do you need to get started?
The wooden blocks are obviously key. I paid about £15 each for mine. I also needed some fabric printing ink, which I ordered from www.handprinted.co.uk I chose a chocolate brown, I’d like to try indigo next. The other crucial item is fabric. This is some very thick, textured cream vintage French linen that I’ve been hoarding for about 10 years. I bought it at Newark Antiques Fair, which has some fabulous textiles stalls. Apart from that, you just need a small glass square (the inside of a photo frame is ideal), a small roller, available from any craft shop and most important of all – an old towel!
Cover the block evenly with ink using the roller. Place the fabric on an old towel, folded into quarters so you get a few squishy layers. Now press the inked block firmly on to the fabric. The soft backing is key to a clear imprint. If you just print on to a newspaper layer, the ink can be patchy and faint.
Try different fabrics, see what works best. Not sure about the stripes!
I played with two different blocks, and tried out all kinds of spacing.
I think this one turned out best.
Now I’m going to make it into a curtain for a kitchen cupboard. The great thing is that it’s washable, because I used a fabric printing ink. You can use any type of stamp. It doesn’t have to be antique.
Shop the look!
If you like this look, but don’t want the hassle of printing your own, I’ve found some similar styles on the high street this season. Here’s my shopping list:
Dunelm leaf cushion.
They also have a fab acorn and leaf print for just £12 each.
Sainsbury’s Home tea towel.
Worth checking out the whole kitchen range for some gorgeous linens and runners with bold block print style.
Great graphic prints.
And another one from Sainsbury’s Home to round off. Probably my favourite high street stockist of woodland-inspired block prints designs this year.