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Napthol Block Printing – A Century Old Tradition Of India

By Expert Author: Lakshmi

A century old traditional art of block printing along with napthol dyeing, painstakingly executed with the dedicated efforts of craftsmen.


Saree is an admirable garb to enhance the beauty of women. India has a rich history of innovation and excellence in art and crafts. It has vibrant heritage for its printed and dyed fabrics.


Every day, fashion world is upgrading with new arrivals, but Napthol Block Printed Sarees are always the dears of women.


Napthol is a cold water dye, which can mix at any temperature. Cotton, silk and other cellulose fabrics can easily dye with napthol. Due to its hazardous chemical substances, it can be safely used by adept craftsmen only.


The traditional Block printing has its origin in Rajasthan, India. It is an ancient craft form, where the craftsmen use only the natural colors. Block printing has gained a good prominence in India and became favorites of women.

Another interesting point is, in Napthol Block printing method, the washing, coloring, dyeing, drying, printing, steaming and blocking etc are done by only the skilled craftsmen.

Before printing, the fabric is washed and then softly bleached. Here in this step, the dyeing is required only when the fabric used was already tied & dyed. To remove the excess dye forms, the craftsman again washes the fabric and dries it thoroughly.

The craftsman stretches the fabric on to the printing table and he attaches the fabric to the table using small pins. This step is a painstaking step to the craftsmen, where he has to keep the fabric without any ripples and waves.

Using the Napthol dyes, the craftsman creates a sensation to the fabric. A trolley is maintained by the craftsmen along with the printer, where the upper tray contains the napthol colors and the lower tray contains a viscous liquid which is produced from napthol.

Craftsmen immerse the printer blocks into the colors and dedicatedly paint the colors to the fabric as he required. Later, he uses liquid that softens the fabric and spreads the colors to the wooden block.

The printing process starts from left to right. When applying the block to the fabric, craftsmen slam it hardly to exude the effects. After applying all, the fabric is sun-dried up to the mark and this process is called as color-fixing process.

Finally, the fabric will be dyed into napthol dye. Craftsmen will take care of every single step; otherwise the colors will flow onto the adjacent sides. After all these painstaking steps, we are getting our heartthrob Napthol Block printed saris.

Motifs like leafs, fruits, creepers, birds, flowers and other geometrical patterns are designed in these sarees to gain the hearts of women.

These napthol block printed sarees are well suitable for all occasions like weddings, dinners, festivals, corporate events and other grand parties. These are casual as well as classic-summer wears.


Only, the dedication and patience along with efforts and skills of Craftsmen made them unique.

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