Resources on Surface Design: Print

SAQA Seminar (Article)

Unit 3 of SAQA Seminar: Surface Design is all about printing! This may be the most diverse of the SAQA Seminar units. Print techniques include basic mark-making, stamping, using stencils, thermofax, monoprints, rubbing, gel printing even goyutaku — printing with fish.

History and Culture

The beautiful website, Strand of Silk, provides an excellent overview of block printing in Gujarat and Rajasthan, India, where both traditional and modern Indian block printing originated.

Maiwa is a textile company in Vancouver, Canada that actively seeks to support ajrakh artisans who live and work in the Kutch desert in India creating block printed cloth. This article describe the process and the community of artists. They also include profiles of dabukalamkari and bagh prints.

The Victoria and Albert Museum included this video of highly skilled wood block carvers as part of their exhibition The Fabric of India.

What a delightful animated video about the history of goyutaku the ancient Japanese art of printing with fish.

Is Andy Warhol the most famous American screen-printing artist? 

Chinese artists have long printed their signatures using a chop or seal. Here’s an article with an overview of uses of traditional and contemporary chops.

Is Indian block printing a dying art form? Annie Deakin writes about one woman's quest to find out.

Reporter Rebecca Gonslaves writes about how designers and craftspeople are updating India’s traditional block printing heritage.

Mezmorizing and impressive video of the screen printing process for creating stunningly detailed Kudhinda cloth in Harare, Zimbabwe.


Tutorials, Blog Posts and other Inspiring Links

Deborah Boschert has a super fun tutorial for creating “rolling prints” with fun foam, a toilet paper tube and a paint roller.

The Gelli Plate is one of the most popular tools for printing on fabric. Here is the Gelli Arts video tutorial, but you shouldn’t stop here. Just check Google or Pinterest for endless ideas for using a Gelli Plate.

Here’s a beautifully photographed tutorial for printing with leaves on fabric.

Cheryl Rezendes does a great job explaining how to use stencils with Shiva Paintstiks including many tips about what tools to use and how to think creatively about design.

Lyric Kinard has an excellent collection of tutorials and videos about thermofax screens. They are all listed on her blog here.

Valori Wells has many short time lapse videos of her fabric printing process. This one shows her dynamic layering techniques. Look through her Instagram feed for many more!

Alisa Burke created beautiful fabric with an incredibly simple process using a styrofoam printing plate.

Kerr Grabowski use a technique called Deconstructed Screen Printing which creates unique patterns on fabric. Watch her fascinating video to find out more (a DVD is also available).

Book Recommendations


Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art
by Lynn Krawczyk*

The book helps the reader to develop their own printing style and demonstrates a variety of printing techniques.



Playful Fabric Printing
by Carol Soderlund* and Melanie Testa*

Printing your own fabric opens up an entire new world of design. With step-by-step advice, instruction, and photographs, this book is a master class in using dyes and low-tech equipment to print your own fabric, and it begins at the beginning. If you've never handled dyes before, never designed your own print motifs, aren't even sure what supplies or space you might need, everything you want to know is here.


Fabric Surface Design: Painting, Stamping, Rubbing, Stenciling, Silk Screening, Resists, Image Transfer, Marbling, Crayons & Colored Pencils, Batik, Nature Prints Monotype Printing
by Cheryl Rezendes*

As the title says, any surface design technique that can be done with paints is in this book, with samples for every technique. An encyclopedia of techniques.


Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth
by Rayna Gilman

The fabrics are wonderful and inspiring, the instructions are easy to follow, and the ideas are abundant. Not only does Rayna teach readers the basics, she provides them with the information and tools needed to take their fabrics as far as creatively possible.


Off-The-Shelf Fabric Painting: 30 Simple Recipes for Gourmet Results 
by Sue Beevers

Step by step instructions for creating one-of-a-kind painted fabrics in your own kitchen. Techniques rely on water-based paints used in conjunction with convenient tools and supplies.