Methods of Printing

The Latin term for “pressing” is the root of the English word “printing,” which denotes the use of “pressure.” The practise of adding colour to fabric in specific patterns or motifs is known as textile printing. It is a step in the wet processing process that follows cloth pre-treatment or dyeing. It is done to create visually appealing patterns on the fabric. Typically, printing is done just on one side of the fabric. The dyes and chemicals can be applied to the fabric’s surface using a variety of printing techniques.

In contrast to textile printing, dyeing uniformly covers the entire fabric with one colour. In printing, one or more colours are used to create patterns that are clearly defined and applied to the fabric only in specific locations. Therefore, printing is also known as localised dyeing. The application of the dyes and pigments can be localised or intermittent.

Different Methods of Printing in Textile

The five primary techniques for printing on cloth are block, roller, screen, heat transfer, and ink-jet. The heat transfer technique varies from the others in that colour is transferred from the paper-based pattern into the fabric fibres via the vapour phase. In the other techniques, a print paste medium is used to apply the dye or pigment to the fabric surface. However, ink jet printing is a relatively new invention and is referred to as a “non-impact” approach since the print paste is fired into the fabric from a jet that is not actually in touch with it.

There are various tools used in printing. Fabric impressions are created using a variety of techniques. The printing process is determined by the user’s requirements and the number of pages to be printed. Additionally, it is based on the kind of material used and the intended usage of the printed item.

Block Printing

Block printing is a technique where the design is created by cutting wooden blocks into the desired shape or by assembling metal strips, nails, and other materials. The design surface of the block is coated with print paste before being pushed onto the fabric. Up until the pattern is finished, the process is repeated with various patterns and hues. Block printing has been used for centuries and is still popular in many Asian countries because it can be done at home by people in their spare time.

Block printing is not suited for high-volume commercial use because it is a lengthy and difficult technique. Due to its lower flexibility and productivity, this printing method is only used on a small scale or in cottage industries.

Roller Printing

Instead of using hand-carved blocks, this technique uses engraved copper cylinders or rollers. The fabric is printed with a repeat of the motif while the rollers spin. Due to the extremely high speeds allowed, roller printing has typically been preferred for lengthy production runs. Since up to twelve different colours can be printed at once, it is a flexible approach. A number of copper-faced rollers with the design etched on them make up the basic roller printing apparatus. Each colour that is being printed has its own printing roller.

Each roller rotates over the material while applying pressure to an iron pressure roller. A blanket and backing cloth that revolve beneath the fabric and provide flexible support to the fabric being printed.

Screen Printing

Due to its adaptability and the introduction of rotary screen printing machines that can produce goods at extremely high rates of production, the use of screen printing has significantly increased in recent years.

The ability to achieve substantial depths of shade via screen printing, which has always been a limitation of roller printing due to the amount of print paste that can be contained in the shallow depth of the engraving on the print roller, is another noteworthy benefit. The flat-screen and rotary-screen methods are the two fundamental types of screen printing processes.

Flat Screen Printing

As the name implies, flat screen printing uses flat screens rather than circular ones like rotary screen printing does. Polyester or polyamide are both used to weave the screen’s mesh.

Stretched across a rectangular frame, initially constructed of wood but now made of a metal alloy to lighten it and make it more durable. About 23% of all printed textile fabric is created with flat screen printing globally.

Rotary Screen Printing

In contrast to flat screen printing, rotary screen printing uses cylindrical screens. Once more, each colour of the printed pattern needs its own screen. Common rotary screen printing machines may accommodate up to 20 screens, which is sufficient for simpler patterns that don’t require the application of many distinct colours.

The print paste is fed from inside the rotating screens as they make contact with the substrate. Using a metal squeegee blade, the paste is pushed out of the screen’s interior. Approximately 61% of printed textile fabric is manufactured globally using the rotary screen technique.

Heat Transfer Printing

Transfer printing methods such as heat transfer printing entail moving a pattern from one medium to another. The most popular type is heat transfer printing, where the pattern is first produced using standard printing equipment on a specific paper.

The paper is then heated in close proximity to the fabric, causing the colours to vaporise and transfer to the fabric.


A pen is used to apply dyes and mordents to fabric. Printing the design’s outline and then filling it in with a pen (kalam) is known as kalamkari, which combines printing with pen art.

In Indian temples, the wonderful old technique of kalamkari—or painted and printed fabrics.

Batik Printing

During the traditional procedures, a wax print was made on the fabric to create a resist. The resist was taken off after dyeing with customary dyeing techniques. In a unique situation, indigo was used for dyeing.

The waxy coating splits and the dye seeps into the cracks as the fabric is dyed, giving the item its distinctive appearance.

Photo Printing

Any photograph may be printed on fabric after it has been treated with a chemical that is light-sensitive. Through a negative or photo film, regulated light is transmitted to the fabric, allowing it to reflect the image’s intricacies on the cloth.


The textile sector now has a new dimension and greater diversity thanks to printing. Before it is manufactured, the fabric is coloured, printed, and finished. The clothing industry currently places a high value on printing. On any cloth, various designs are printed that reflect the tastes of the people. In step with changing consumer preferences, textile printing is likewise evolving quickly worldwide. Consumers want a wide range of colour and design options. In order to meet their needs, textile printing is constantly evolving. He may present his creations to the client or consumers in a stunning way because of the many advantages that textile printing offers. As a result, he is able to attract customers quickly to his designed clothing. Therefore, the importance of printing is crucial to raising the level of the fashion sector.