Block Printing

Oh my goodness. Is it seriously the end of October already? Where did this month go? Also, happy Halloween! I hope you have a fun night planned. We’ve already got so much candy at the house from parties over the weekend, that I’m seriously considering not trick or treating tonight. We’ll see if the girls…

Oh my goodness. Is it seriously the end of October already? Where did this month go? Also, happy Halloween! I hope you have a fun night planned. We’ve already got so much candy at the house from parties over the weekend, that I’m seriously considering not trick or treating tonight. We’ll see if the girls can convince me otherwise. :)

I’m ready to tackle a couple more house projects this month. I ended up getting that really cute antique settee from Craigslist a month or two ago. I added more down to the seat cushion and took it to the cleaners. It needs to be picked up tomorrow. So now the settee is ready to be reupholstered!

I went back and forth about what fabric to choose. I have always loved this one from Lee Jofa and then seeing this image made me seriously think twice. But the rust color is not great with my mustard rug and the price is insane considering I need about 10 yards.

Design by Meagan Camp, who has a lovely blog HERE

I love the busy-ness of the pattern. It feels happy to me and seems perfect for a secondary sofa (still doing the white slipcover on our roll arm – that’s happening this month too!). Then when I was thinking of doing the sticker walls in my girls room, I decided a similar idea would make for a really cool fabric. I found or made some quick clip art of things that have special meaning to our family. Mostly reminders of places we’ve lived.

This is a really really rough draft. I only spent a couple minutes putting this one together, just to get an idea of where this could go. I think there’s potential! There will be probably twice as many little objects and the colors and detailing will have to change. I might make a second design to alternate in and create a damask pattern. Each one will be about the size of a salad plate. I’m thinking of just making a couple lino cuts and block printing the whole thing myself on a heavy, inexpensive linen (thinking of sky blue right now). The other obvious option is using Spoonflower, but upholstery weight printing is almost as expensive as trade fabric. I kind of want to just try the hand-blocking project anyway. It seems like an easy and fun thing to do. I feel like the hardest part will be the carving.

Have you ever hand-blocked fabric before? I think I mostly excited by the idea of have a truly special fabric that can’t be found anywhere else. Speaking of which, I found some AMAZING custom fabric prints on Etsy. Check them out HERE.

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30 thoughts on “Block Printing

  1. Love this idea, especially when you end up with a fabric that basically tells a history of your family. However, I do shudder a little at the thought of all that carving! Can't wait to see how the project turns out.

  2. Hi Jenny!

    The picture whose source you don't know is by Meagan Camp – I love her work!

  3. What a pretty settee – an amazing find! I love that fabric too and it would look lovely paired with the white slipcovers. I'm tackling a white slipcover project here too for my roll arm sofa and 2 club chairs… now to just get started!

  4. I love the idea of designing a "family fabric" like a modern day family crest! I have been addicted to Spoonflower lately, so it might be time for me to upload my own design for printing. Thank you as always for the great ideas!


  5. Jenny! I love your creativity – encourages me to step outside the box. :) What weight of linen do you like to use for upholstery? I'm pondering my own little project. :) Thanks!

  6. What a find! Your settee is so cute and will look gorgeous i'm sure. I've not done block printing since art school, but think it's a really lovely way of personalizing a room, good luck, cant wait to see the pics.

  7. Do you know the name of the Lee Jofa print? I'm looking for fabric to cover an ottoman and that looks perfect! Thanks.

  8. Hi there Jenny,
    I actually starting experimenting with block printing just two days ago. Instead of lino or wood I used a rubber block(like a huge eraser!) I was so surprised and happy with the results. Here in Japan the blocks can be bought at any craft shop but after checking on the net it seems that a product called Speedy Carve which is sold in the U.S., is very good. There are others with similar names which are apparently not as good. For printing I tested two options. One was an inkpad for fabric called Versacraft made by a company called Tsukineko and the other was mixing Jo Sonja's textile medium with acrylic paint. For both methods you have to pre-wash your fabric(I used linen as my sample) and then set the color after drying. The textile medium is nice because there is no limitation on color. However the the acrylic paint seemed to sit on top of the fabric. The effect is quite heavy but it seemed to hold up very well to laundering. However I preferred the results I got with the inkpad. The weave of the fabric showed nicely through the print and the color application was very even with very crisp lines. The results looked really professional. And I just discovered the inkpads comes in over 30 colors! You really should give the rubber blocks and inkpads a try.

    Hope this helps! I know whatever you do it will look great!

  9. I can never make up my mind when it comes to choosing fabrics — there are so many great ones out there. I hope the hand block printing works out — will love to see the pics.

  10. Did anyone mention Spoonflower yet? You can make your own fabric there without the block print part. (Which may be fun for you – I'm just super lazy, so I'd have it done for me ;)

  11. Hi Jenny,
    What a lovely surprise! The photo with the cat is an image from my portfolio shot by Jamie Beck. Thanks for using it as inspiration, I'm in love with that settee too :)
    x Meagan

  12. funny enough, I am waiting on a block form India I ordered last week from an etsy seller. Planning to block print a blah white vinyl roller shade and/or a lampshade and/or my daughters' plain white duvet covers. I also have some lino block hanging around and figured I might make a second stamp to alternate the two. Curious to see what you do–I'll share my project with you when finished (if it's worth sharing!)


  13. UPHOLSTERY weight fabric on spoon flower is $32 a yard last time I looked and that is so much less then a to the trade fabric even at net for anything that is not fancy. I have done hand block printing with wood blocks. Fun for a while depending on how much printing!
    have fun

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