Printing Process- A Process of Decorating Textile Fabrics

Decorating Textile Fabrics

Printing is the process of embellishing textiles by applying pigments, dyes or other substances to create patterns. Fabrics are typically printed in attractive colours and various patterns, using different techniques and kinds. The process of printing on textiles is the method used following dying and before the finishing in the process of manufacturing textiles. The most popular methods for printing on textiles include screen, block, rollers, and heating transfer printing. Other methods like direct method, discharge direct printing and resist and other methods are also utilized commercially.

Here are some methods of printing on textiles:

Block Printing:

Block printing is the oldest method of printing designs on fabric. The blocks used for printing are comprised of wood, and the pattern is then created. It stands out in relief against the background for printing. It is then applied to the blocks, which are then pressed onto the fabric to print the designs. This process repeats with various patterns and combinations of colours till the design is completed. Block printing cannot be used in commercial settings as it is a lengthy process that requires a greater amount of labour.

Roller Printing:

Techniques for printing with rollers is the preferred method to print long runs of production because of their speedy printing process. It’s a multi-purpose method that allows different colours to be printed at the same time. The equipment for printing on rollers is made up of copper-faced rollers, into which designs are cut. Each roller rotates on the fabric using the pressure of an iron roller. A backing or blanket is rotated over the pressure roller beneath the fabric. It provides elastic support to the fabric that is printing. An X-ray blade during roller printing takes off the fibres and paste that is attached to the roll. Following the processing of the impression stage, the fabric is then transferred through the dry and then steaming stage.

Screen Printing:

The process involves the creation of a screen i.e. a frame that has a fine mesh fabric woven over it with a tight. The pattern may be in stencil form or block-off on the screen, by using a screen to allow different colours to print. Dye is forced through mesh fabrics using the help of a squeegee to evenly disperse the dye throughout the fabric’s areas below which are not completely blocked off. Screen printing is a costly process that requires space and the use of special equipment. Flat-screen printing can be done in the same manner, however, machines function at every step and the pattern is transferred to the screen using digital technology. In contrast, digital printing is a great method for small quantities of fabric.

Screen printing has grown in recent years due to its flexibility and high quality, as well as the advancement of rotary printing machines which provide high-quality output. The most dependable depths of different shades are possible through this printing.

Heat Transfer Printing:

Transfer printing is the transfer of a particular style from one material to the next. The most common method is called heat transfer printing where the design is first printed on a particular paper using standard machines for printing on textiles. This paper is placed on top of the fabric and then provided with heat. The dyes are sublime and move to the fabric by the vapour.

Ink-Jet Printing:

The Inkjet process is a non-contact procedure in which droplets of colourant solution are placed in motion toward a substrate and directed towards the desired area. Inkjet is a new technology within the field of textiles and is not yet embraced for use in commercial settings. The primary dye types employed in the inkjet printing of textiles are vat fibre reactive, sulphur along with naphthol and fibre reactive dyes.


Stencils are created using cards. The pattern is then cut out, and then the dye is brushed or sponged into the cut-outs. Each stencil can be used several times. Today, many stencils are produced using computer-controlled cutting machines to ensure greater accuracy as opposed to hand-cut stencils.

Discharge Printing:

Discharge printing is printed on pieces of dyed fabric. The patterns are made by removal instead of adding colours. Thus, discharge printing is usually printed using dark backdrops. After being exposed to steam the dyed fabric gets produced by discharge pastes which strip the background colour off the surface. Colours can be added to the discharge paste to make various coloured discharge segments.

Resist Printing:

Resist printing can be described as a variety of hands and low-volume processes where the pattern is applied by blocking colour from reaching areas of piece-dying. Methods of resist printing include batik, tie-dyeing screen printing and stencil printing.

Wrap Printing:

This printing involves printing an image on a warp yarn sheet before weaving. The filling could be white or any neutral colour along with grey effects created on the edges of the designs.

Direct Printing:

Direct printing is a process that involves a huge cylindrical roller that picks up the fabric. Two smaller rollers that are made of different colours are bonded to the fabric. These smaller ones are designed with a design, and the rollers are a reflection of the variety of colours. Each of the smaller rollers is provided with colour by the furnisher roller, which turns through a colour trough, picks the colour and uploads it to the appropriate applicator roller. Doctor blades scrapes carry colouring off the applicator roller and so only the parts that have been engraved are allowed to can transmit colour to the specific fabric. The fabric is secured by a blanket made of rubber when printing that gives a solid, sturdy area to print. A grey layer is placed in between the fabric and blanket to soak up the extra ink.

Burn Out Printing:

Printing with burn-out is one technique of printing to create a design raised on a flat surface. The desired design is subsequently printed on a fabric that is woven from threads of different fibres using a specific chemical. One fibre is then destroyed through chemical action. Burn-out printing can be found on velvet.

Engraved Roller Printing:

Engraved roller printing is one technique used within textile factories to print huge runs. The metal rollers are engraved using a specific pattern, and the dye reservoirs are used to carry the application of colour according to the requirements. Because in screen printing, a separate roller is required for every colour, this process is costly for smaller prints of fabric. However, it can be economical for large print runs, as the smallest of meters are printed quickly.

Printing operations in all their forms include 70-80% utilization of pigment. Textiles are also printed with no specific pre-treatment, except for woollen cloths, as the chlorination process is done before printing. TOPS (parallel wool fibres) and printed stripes are used to create mixed effects. Warps printed with prints create shadowy effects.

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