Textile printing is the process of applying colour to fabric in definite patterns or designs. In properly printed fabrics the colour is bonded with the fiber, so as to resist washing and friction. Textile printing is related to dyeing but, whereas in dyeing proper the whole fabric is uniformly covered with one colour, in printing one or more colours are applied to it in certain parts only, and in sharply defined patterns. In printing, wooden blocks, stencils, engraved plates, rollers, or silkscreens can be used to place colours on the fabric. Colourants used in printing contain dyes thickened to prevent the colour from spreading by capillary attraction beyond the limits of the pattern or design. Traditional textile printing techniques may be broadly categorised into four styles: Direct printing, in which colourants containing dyes, thickeners, and the mordants or substances necessary for fixing the colour on the cloth are printed in the desired pattern. The printing of a mordant in the desired pattern prior to dyeing cloth; the color adheres only where the mordant was printed. Resist dyeing, in which a wax or other substance is printed onto fabric which is subsequently dyed. The waxed areas do not accept the dye, leaving uncoloured patterns against a coloured ground. Discharge printing, in which a bleaching agent is printed onto previously dyed fabrics to remove some or all of the colour. Resist and discharge techniques were particularly fashionable in the 19th century, as were combination techniques in which indigo resist was used to create blue backgrounds prior to block-printing of other colours. Most modern industrialised printing uses direct printing techniques.
Textile printing history
Textile decoration is an ancient art. It refers to the various processes by which fabrics are printed in colored design print fabrics. Examples of Greek fabrics from the 4th century B.C. have been found. India exported block prints to the Mediterranean region in the 5th century B.C. The different ways of decorating a fabric includes dyeing, printing, embroidery etc. The discovery of a dyed cotton fabric dating back to the Indus Valley civilization shows that the art of dyeing with the use of mordents was well known to the Indian dyers 5,000 years ago. This form of dyeing was responsible for making India famous all over the world for its dyed and printed fabrics. The other forms of textile printing are stencil work, highly developed by Japanese artists, and block printing. In the latter method a block of wood, copper, or other material bearing a design in intaglio with the dye paste applied to the surface is pressed on the fabric and struck with a mallet. A separate block is used for each color, and pitch pins at the corners guide the placing of the blocks to assure accurate repeating of the pattern. In cylinder or roller printing, developed in 1785, the fabric is carried on a rotating central cylinder and pressed by a series of rollers each bearing one color. The design is engraved on the copper rollers by hand or machine pressure or etched by pantograph or photoengraving methods; the color paste is applied to the rollers through feed rollers rotating in a color box, the color being scraped off the smooth portion of the rollers with knives. More recent printing processes include screen-printing. This is a hand method especially suitable for large patterns with soft outlines, in which screens, one for each color, are placed on the fabric. Then, the color paste is pressed through a wooden squeegee. Spray printing, in which a spray gun forces the color through a screen; and electro coating, used to apply a patterned pile are the other latest printing processes. In certain cases, the cloth is painted by using a pen with dyes and mordants. This method is known as kalamkari, a pen work. Printing the outline of the design and filling in the details with a kalam, a pen, combines the techniques of...
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