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Indian Crafts >> Cotton Printing
Cotton Printing
History of Cotton Printing

The textile hand-printing industry of Lucknow is about two hundred years old. The Nawabs played an important role in promoting the industry. The rich variety of colours, durability of texture and excellence of designs had a great appeal for the Nawabs. The industry was one of the most important cottage industries of those times.
Fine Art
The designs are basically dense foliage, flowers, trees, creepers, animals like lion, deer, fish, parrot, peacock, artillery men and cannons etc.
The various stages of the process of manufacture involved in cotton printing are sketching, printing, acid bath, wringing, pressing and calendering. The cloth to be printed is stretched on a table and a pencil traces the required motif on it. Blocks of several designs, shapes and sizes are used for printing the motifs by using pastes of different colours. After drying it is dipped in sulphuric acid solution for a minute for the development of the colour. The oxidization of the colours is achieved by the exposure of the printed fabric to air. Lastly the cloth is wet and dyed in direct colour for the background. This printed cloth is then ironed and calendered by a wooden hammer (kundi).The various stages of process of manufacture in the silk printing which differ slightly are sketching , printing, drying in shade, steaming in chamber for 6-8 hours, washing, drying, pressing and calendering. In Pilkhuwa the grey fabric to be printed is washed to remove the starch . Desired fabric is dyed with pastel shades like pink, yellow, cream, off- white etc. After dyeing the fabric is dried in sun. For printing, the fabric is stretched and placed on a chowki(table). The block for the required design is dipped into the colour tray and pressed on the fabric with such an impulse that the impression of the block is made on the fabric. If the pattern has four different colours, then four blocks are required for it.In Fatehpur, calico printing ground is dull neutral lemon yellow. This is traced all over by a large gold conception, usually Persian tree of life, large Persian cones, vases with spray of flowers etc. They are elaborated in blue, and dark red with printed outlines of the pattern showing up in dark brown or black. Large surfaces of the design are worked up with the brush over the top of printed details. Shadows within the flowers, or ribs of leaves show through the main brush colour.
Basic Material : Ground fabric-the cloth required for printing except for saris and silken lihafs (quilt covers), cotton, malmal, cambric, cotton satin, sheeting, khadi .
Colouring Material : Red, golden yellow, lemon yellow, blue, green, alizarine, etc.; chemicals such as caustic soda, sulphuric acid, sodium nitrate, urea, gum, glycerine, acetic acid, aniline salt, potash and blue vitriol.
Various types of blocks made of sheesham, sagwan
Lihafs (quilt covers), farads (quilted coat cloth), table cover, bed cover, jajams (floor covering), dress materials, saris, pillow covers, cushion covers etc.,chadar, lungi, dastarkhan, abra, rumal, scarf, dupatta, curtains, furniture accessories

Indian Crafts : History of Cotton Printing