" The process of decorating textile fabrics by
applying pigments dyes or other related material in the form of patterns is
Though spinning itself gives a kind of decorative pattern to the fabric,
Printing enhances the look and appeal of it. There are many evidences of
printing being carried out in the 4th century BC A Printing block at about
A.D.300 has been unearthed in the burial grounds of Akhmin in Egypt. In the
regions of Mexico & Peru, Pre-Columbian printed textiles have been found.
Today, Textile Printing involves the skills of many artisans and designers and
has thus become highly sophisticated.
Classification of Printing Styles
Printing styles are classified as direct ,
discharge or resist
This is the most common approach for applying a
color pattern. In this style of Printing, colored pastes are printed directly
on the cloth and any design may be produced. If done on a white fabric it is
The fabric is first dyed with background color and
then printed with a chemical that will destroy the color in the designed areas.
Usually a paste contains a reducing agent or reagents to print the design.
After Printing, the fabrics need to be washed thoroughly to eliminate the
by-products of the reaction. This method of discharge Printing is thoroughly
satisfactory, only if properly done.
The cloth is first printed with a resist plate, a
resinous substance that cannot be penetrated when the fabric is subsequently
immersed in a dye. When the cloth is dyed or pigment padded, only those parts
not printed with the resist are dyed. In this resist method, the durability of
the fabric is not affected.
Methods of Textile Printing
The following are the main methods of Textile Printing:
Being the oldest and expensive method of Printing, it is no longer commercially
viable and is hence used for decorative pieces for the home or in expensive
linens for upholstery purposes. Wooden blocks carved with a design are made
from solid pieces of wood or metal block. On the face of the block the dyestuff
is applied in paste form. The block is pressed down firmly by hand on selected
portions of the surface of the fabric imprinting the design as many times as
desired on a specific length of cloth. Additional locks must be carved for
various designs. After the fabric has been entirely printed with one color,
other colors are applied in the same way until the design is complete.
Whenever long runs of fabric are to be printed with the same design, the
technique of Roller Printing is used. This method is relatively
inexpensive when compared to hand Printing. The rollers replace the blocks.
Just as there are separate blocks for each color, there are separate rollers
here. The design is repeated with each rotation of the roller. The number of
rollers to be used depends on the number of colors in the design. As many as 16
rollers can be used at a time. This printed cloth is then passed through a
drying chamber and later into a steam chamber where the moisture and heat sets
This may be a hand operation or an automatic machine process. Firstly the cloth
is laid on a Printing table, gummed in position or pinned to a back gray and
then the design is applied through a screen made of silk or nylon gauze
stretched over a wooden or metal frame, on which the design is for one color
has been produced. This is usually a photographic process. A screen is placed
over the fabric on the table against registration stops, so as to ensure
accurate fitting of the pattern. Print paste is poured on to the screen edge
nearest the operator and is spread with a squeegee over the surface of the
screen so that color is pushed through the open parts. The screen is thus moved
until one color has been applied to the cloth. The process is repeated with
different screens, for the application of other colors.
Other Methods of Textile Printing
Heat Transfer Printing:
This is the newest method of printing fabrics by
transferring designs to fabric from special pre-printed paper.
The fabric is printed on both sides in Duplex
Printing. Thus in this method a clear outline is produced on both sides of the
fabric. The design is applied so skillfully by the Printing cylinders that the
result may be mistaken for a woven design.
This method of Printing involves the application of
colors from spray guns through stencils and has limited but occasional
The fabric is dyed with a tannin mordant paste and then the desired areas to be
used for the motif are stripped of the covering, leaving the areas white. The
fabric is then piece "dyed" and some or all of the white areas are colored by
this method of printing.
When the discharge or resist methods of Printing
are not called for, this procedure is used. Each color used must have its own
color roller and provide clean and clear effect. Many effects are possible by
the use of this method. This is an ideal method with regard to price and high
Photographic printing can be transferred to fabric
by the use of photo engraved rollers. Various ways are used to obtain the
result, all adapted from color printing on paper. Red, Yellow and blue, the
primary colors are much used to obtain a host of color-effects.
Chintz, cretonne, ribbon and some silks are woven with only the warp printed so
as to provide mottled effects when woven with a white or light colored
filling. These indistinct motif fabrics are reversible.
Printing of small dotted effects set in among spaces or bare areas of a printed
motif. Used chiefly in novelty effects.
Warp yarn is printed on a beam and then it is rewound onto a second beam which
is placed in the back of the loom and made ready for the weaving
operation. Warp prints give a melange or mottled effect when woven with
plain filling, white or in some light color. Rather popular are coverlets, some
dress goods, counterpanes, bedspreads, hangings etc.