Dabu printing is an ancient hand block printing technique from Rajasthan, India. It is a labor intensive printing process and involves many stages of printing and dyeing over several days using mud as the resist to the dye.
The process starts with the preparation of the mud resist - freshly prepared before every printing.
The mud is dug from a dry pond and soaked in water overnight.
Then it is sieved and calcium hydroxide, pounded wheat chaff and gum are added. The mixture is kneaded together to make a sticky paste.
The mixture is now ready for dabu printing. The mud resist being applied onto the fabrics using hand carved wooden blocks.
To quickly dry the paste, saw dust is applied to places where the mud resist is printed. The saw dust also acts as a binder which prevents color penetration while dyeing. The cloth is then laid outside on the ground to dry in the sunshine.
Once the mud resist is dry, the fabric is dipped into a cauldron of dye. The process may be repeated for double dabu and triple dabu and so on, giving various depths of colour. After every dyeing the fabric is thoroughly washed so as to remove the mud application.
NOTE: You may notice that your fabric has a dusty feel before the first wash: this is a residue from the mud used in the printing process.
Care: Natural Indigo dyed fabrics will shed some colour. Always pre-wash your fabric before starting your sewing project.
Wash separately in cold water with mild/liquid detergents and a tablespoon of salt.
Note: excess natural colours may bleed when washed for the first time. Avoid soaking for too long | Do not squeeze or wring | Dry in shade.
The signature slightly smoky smell of natural indigo will disappear with washing.
It’s a good idea to ALWAYS wash your indigo fabric separately as some colour may continue to shed.
The artisans who made these fabrics are paid a fair wage.