Block Printing

Block Printing

Check out our recommended papers below!

Block printing, or relief printing is a printing technique where images, patterns, or text are transferred from a carved and inked block to paper or cloth. Blocks can be made from linoleum, rubber, PVC, wood, foam, or another carving material. Ink from block prints can be transferred from the block to the printing surface by stamping, rubbing, or from a press.

The technique of block printing originated from China. The earliest known block prints were done on fabric as early as 220AD. As the art of block printing moved to Japan and later Europe, paper replaced fabric as the most popular print surface for block printing. When choosing a paper for block printing, we recommend paying attention to the following features:

Texture: For prints with fine details, a smoother paper is best. Textured papers can provide unique prints and textures. When considering paper texture, it is important to note that most papers have two sides, a felt side (top) and mould side (bottom). The felt side is usually smoother while the mould side may have a laid or grid pattern from the screen used to make the paper.

Machine Made vs Handmade: Generally speaking, machine made papers tend to be smoother than handmade papers. Many handmade papers may feature deckled or uneven edges which can elevate any print. We have a variety of machine made and handmade papers.

Weight: Papers are measured by caliper or grams per square meter (gsm). At Mulberry Paper and More, we measure papers by GSM. When looking for block printing papers, we recommend papers more than 25GSM. Lightweight block printing papers range from 35-60gsm. Heavier block printing papers range from 60-120gsm. As a point of reference, normal inkjet printer paper is around 75gsm. Keep in mind that heavier papers may have more texture than thinner papers.

Formation: Formation refers to the fiber inclusions of the paper. Tight formation papers have fibers that are aligned parallel to the grain of the paper where wild formation papers can have either large or small fibers in any direction. For block printing, we recommend tight formation papers for prints with fine details. Wild formation papers will add a fun texture to any print.

Acidity: For prints that you would like to last, we recommend acid-free or archival papers. Almost all of our papers are acid free, making them perfect for your block prints.

Sizing/ Bleed: Sizing refers to the resistance of a paper to absorb moisture. While some papers (like or Gampi papers) are naturally sized, many papers require the addition of a gelatin or starch to prevent bleed through or ink feathering. For block printing, we recommend sized papers.

Here are some of the natural and white papers we recommend for block printing. You may also browse recommended papers in additional colors below.