Indian Wood Printing Blocks with Crusty Paint

Wood printing blocks from India are pretty enough in plain wood, but they can be even prettier when crusted with old paint, showing off the bold colors of India. I scored this one with a fantastic circus of color from an eBay seller:

It makes me wonder, what did this wood printing block make with all those colors? Who carved it? Did the block printer get these colors all over his hands too?

It lives in our living room, sometimes on a side table, sometimes on the coffee table, but always in sight where we can appreciate its vibrant ink colors.

It’s hard to find wood printing blocks from India with ink still on them. Most of the time the blocks are washed and then stamped with white ink so they photograph well for sales pictures. But I was able to dig up some beautiful photos of colorful printing blocks …

Little old blocks from India, from Daydreams from a Handmade Prairie Life:

Colorful printing blocks shown at the Quilter’s Market:


Wooden blocks available from The Well-Cooked Life:

More blocks with color shown at Pascale’s Paintings:

I’ve posted this image previously. It’s from Soma, textile creators and exporters in India:

I like the wood printing blocks so much better when paint is left on them. It plays up the whole point of the wood blocks – to make colorful designs.


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13 Replies to “Indian Wood Printing Blocks with Crusty Paint”

    1. Hi, I haven’t printed on fabric yet, but I did recently pick up some metallic fabric paints. I’ll try them and report what happened. I would think any paint made for fabric would work.
      I’ve also printed with stamp ink onto paper with these blocks, and that worked well.

  1. Hi,

    These are beautiful images. I use woodblocks in my art and have amassed a good size collection that I would like to display-any ideas? Many have a holder on the back of the block so they will not lie flat against a wall.


    1. Hi Charlotte, I’ve sometimes removed the holder on the back when I wanted to hang them. You can use the pry part of a hammer to pry the holder off. Usually they’re nailed really well! However if you want to use the blocks again, I’m not sure how you get the holder on the back securely again without damaging the design.

      I’ve also stood them on shelves for display. Some of mine stand okay with the way the holder is positioned and some lean back too far. I’m thinking about adding brackets or another block on the back of those so they all stand up straight. I hope this gives you some ideas! Deb

    1. Hi Gina, the clothing you create is gorgeous!! I visited your Etsy shop and love the shapes and colors! Deb

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