Inspired by Block Print

By Kate Riley April 21, 2014

I’ve been crushing on the look of block print textiles in the home for awhile, I love the repetition found in these global patterns, and as summertime approaches breezy colorful cotton fabrics are welcome! I tried my own block print inspired stamped tea towels two years ago and it continues to be one this blog’s most popular DIYs to date (I used large rubber stamps instead of blocks but the method was similar.)

Block printing dates back thousands of years to China, India, and Japan. Patterns can be simple or ornate, the technique involves the application of ink to paper or fabric via hand carved block print stamps made of wood, rubber, or linoleum. This article shares the detailed process of creating authentic block print fabric.

indian wood block prints

block printing process

india pied-a-terre / oh so beautiful paper

Browsing through catalogs, you’ll find several major brands that are offering their versions of the look too, from bedding to table linens. 

indigo block print viva terra

block print runner

blockprint tablecloth wisteria

viva terra indigo bedding / pottery barn runner / wisteria tablecloth

John Robshaw’s brand of textiles feature predominantly block printed fabrics inspired from his travels through India but these beautiful prints are sold at a higher price point.

john robshaw duvet

john robshaw bedding


Saffron Marigold offers authentic block print textiles that are beautiful and affordable.

saffron marigold block print


If you want to try your hand at DIY block printing, you can invest in a block print carving kit, or search around online for many of the premade block print stamps from Etsy vendors. Grab an inexpensive cotton window panel, some fabric medium, and craft paint to create a fabric version, or apply stamps with craft paint to cardstock for unique stationery.

indian block print stamps

 tree / circle medallion / branch / paisley / pie floral / flower


I’ve been so smitten with the repetition in these motifs I came up with a block print inspired pattern of my own for the summer collection, it will be available soon in my Spoonflower shop in the three softer colorways and the seven brighter versions below.

kate riley designs summer print

This print is really lovely as a tablecloth, napkins, or window treatment, I can’t wait to share the other patterns with you next month – I’m working hard to finish them all before May!  

Are you a fan of textiles with block print motifs?



  1. Oh I love these! I need the beige/tan ones for curtains in my new house!!

  2. Beatifull. In Holland we have stores from Aba-i. Great scarves and bags in blockprint.
    Love your blog.
    Love Rian

  3. Love your block print patterns Kate. I’ve never tried this. I think I’ll order some block print stamps to use on furniture makeovers. I’m not sure about the carving kit…sounds like to much work to me!!!

  4. Really pretty! My favorite thing about this is that I block print all the time but it never has this sort of look. I should try florals sometime.

    • Very kind, thank you Home Chic! I have so many ideas… 8-10 new prints coming next month :)

  5. Oh my goodness, I happened to link to YOU in a blog post today too! :) I loved your makeover of the $10 Goodwill cabinet. Your Spoonflower fabrics are so light and fresh! Can’t wait till they’re available!

    • Such a delightful feature Deb! Thanks so much, that’s one of my most favorite makeover evah!
      ~ Kate

  6. This is an article close to my heart since we were visiting Jaipur, Rajasthan (India)area in 2012. We got a personal one on one lesson in block printing from the master craftsman at the Anokhi Museum near Amber fort. Me & my 9 year old block printed a cotton scarf using 2-3 colors by hand with his guidance.
    It was the most beautiful experience we had crafting. & we purchased some block print stamps from some local craftsman there. we cherished the memories from this trip. Thanks for writing about this.

    • Wow Anu, that’s a dream experience for me ! Thanks for sharing, I would love to work with an artisan on a trip to India just like you described!

  7. Whew . . . they are ALL exquisite. I’m really leaning towards a gray + something in my bedroom. The gray and yellow is nice . . . but I especially like the deep purple too. Maybe I could sneak a little gray on that :)

  8. OMG.
    I think you’ve solved a dilemma of mine! Or at least a roadblock in this non-creative soul’s mind!
    I have these beautiful pieces of oak board. They’re pieces of raw, 1″ x 6″ fencing.
    I wanted to create some kind of a collage, but the only thing that spoke to me was a picture of different ceiling tiles.
    I can make these stamps out of particle board, White glue and ink or paint. finish my oak pieces in different finishes, mostly Ceruse, since I love that so much and stamp THEM!
    You are brilliant! Again!

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