Dabu printing is a technique of hand block printing that employs mud as the resist medium.
The process starts with the preparation of the mud resist.
The mud is dug from a dry pond and soaked in water overnight.
The mud resist is freshly prepared before every printing. First the clay is prepared by finely sieving it. Calcium hydroxide, pounded wheat chaff and gum are the main ingredient. 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 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 application of mud resist onto the fabric is followed by dyeing the fabric in a cauldron of dye. The process may be repeated for double dabu and triple dabu and so on. After every dyeing the fabric is thoroughly washed so as to remove the mud application. The non dyed part where the resist was applied is revealed after the washing. Some of the color penetrates onto the fabric caused by mud cracking. The result is veining which gives it batik like look to the fabric.