How to Wood Block Print a Patterned Zipper Pouch

This is Part 2 of 2 of the Craft in Style Subscription Box Instructions for May 2021. Find the Craft in Style Subscription Box here. Read Part 1: How to Make a Linocut Printed Tote Bag here.

Looking for a stylish and beginner friendly way to get started with wood block printing? Then this Patterned Zipper Pouch is a must! It’s a great way to learn the basics of wood block printing. And instead of just using the wood block, we’re going to make a pattern with it.

You can use any kind of wood block, and you can use any color too. So let’s make it!

supplies to make a diy wood block printed pouch

Supplies to Make a Wood Block Printed Patterned Zipper Pouch

May 2021 Craft in Style Subscription Box
-or-
Canvas Zipper Pouch
Fabric Printing Ink
Foam Brush (or better yet an ink roller)

Plus, you will need a way to heat set the ink. There are 2 methods you can use: an iron or a dryer. We’ll show you how to do both when we reach that step.

how to print a coin purse with a wood block supplies

add paint to your foam brush to block print

How to Ink a Wood Block

Although rollers are really nice, they are limited in their use. A roller is only used for inking blocks, and thus, is one of those tools that will end up in your craft studio taking up space but never getting used!

That’s why I use a foam brush to gently spread the ink across the wood block. Be careful to only use a thin layer of ink at a time, and try to not brush any ink in the crevices of the wood block.

brush paint onto the wood block to print

If you print the block with ink in the crevices, your image won’t be as clear. The edges of the images won’t be as crisp and it can look muddled – but that’s not a terrible thing. Wood block printing is quirky, handmade and isn’t always perfect.

If you do get fabric printing ink in your wood block, you can use a small q-tip, a folded paper towel or even your fingernails to scrape it out.

brushing fabric paint onto a wood block

It’s also important to make sure the layer of fabric printing ink in the wood block is a thin even coat. When you have too much ink on the wood block, it will turn your shapes into smudgy messy looking shapes.

Again, it’s okay if it happens. But it’s better to prevent it before it does. Just like you applied the fabric printing ink with the foam brush, you can use the foam brush to scrape off excess before you print.

wood block ready to print on fabric craft tutorial

How to Print with a Wood Block

Once your wood block is prepped with fabric ink, you will want to print quickly before the fabric ink begins to dry. Printing with wood blocks is a lot like stamping. You have to line up the wood block perfectly because wood block printing is unforgiving.

press the wood block into the zipper pouch

printing the zipper pouch with a wood block

Be sure that you are working on a perfectly flat surface so you can get a smooth print. Always use an up and down motion. Don’t drag the wood blocks when while you are pressing them into the fabric or removing them from the fabric or your pattern will smudge.

When you print, press across the entire block so you transfer the full pattern.

close up of pressing the wood block on the coin purse

After each print, add more fabric printing ink. Each time you ink the block, be sure that it’s a thin, even coat and that paint is not filling the crevices.

After a few uses, you can also wash and dry your wood block to make sure that each print is crisp and clean.

how to print with a wood block diy instructions

making a patterned pouch with wood block printing

How to Make a Pattern with a Wood Block

You can find wood blocks in a million different shapes and sizes, so the pattern you make can vary. For example, with a small block, you could polka dot style the block across the pouch. Here are some great ideas for patterns and placements.

A striped block like this one is a little more complicated because it needs to be lined up perfectly.

add more fabric paint to the wood block

First, my zipper pouch was too tall for the stamp to cover it. So I continued the stripe up and down across the height of the zipper pouch. Then I continued the stripe across the front of the pouch length-wise.

how to line up a wood block to make a pattern

To continue my print, first I coated my wood block in ink. Then I carefully lined up the edges to start the 2nd print exactly where the first print stopped.

how to line up a wood block for printing on fabric

Because the zipper is bulky compared to the rest of the pouch, it left a small blank spot. To prevent that, make sure your zipper pouch is perfectly flat before printing. The easiest way is place a piece of cardboard on the inside. But of course, having a quirky print is okay too!

close up of the first stripe of block printing

With each print, press across the entire wood block evenly. Because it took me 2 prints to make 1 stripe that reaches both the top and bottom of the pouch, I made sure that the edge of the 1st print wasn’t landing in the same spot. If you position your wood block in the same place up and down, you could end up making a stripe across the bag.

Instead vary the position up and down so the edge of the block doesn’t create a stripe with the edge.

make a pattern by lining up the wood block

Once my 1st stripe was finished, it was time to create the 2nd stripe. Because my wood block had a striped edge, I decided to overlap them. To line it up perfectly, I made sure all the corners of the wood block matched all four corners of the zipper pouch.

making stripes with a wood block print

Then just keep printing! This is the fun part.

wood block printed coin purse diy tutorial

Continue to build your stripes across the coin purse and wash your wood block when needed. There’s only one more step before your block printed zipper pouch is done!

diy wood block printed coin purse adding more stripes

How to Heat Set Your Ink

Once you are finished making your print, let the ink dry completely. That only takes a few minutes. Then heat set your ink. There are 2 ways.

How to Heat Set Ink with an Iron: My preferred method is using an iron because it’s safer for your zipper. Place a piece of paper or thin cloth on the zipper pouch – fabric ink side up. With your iron on high, run your iron across the printed area for 3-5 minutes. Move the iron the entire time to prevent burns.

making a pattern with a wood block tutorial

How to Heat Set Ink in a Dryer: To use a dryer to heat set ink, place your item in the dryer on regular or medium heat for 30 minutes. This method takes longer, but is super easy!

finished canvas coin bag printing tutorial

And viola! A wood block printed patterned pouch! You could use this as a make up bag, as a coin purse or a pencil pouch too. Need even more inspiration for a canvas zipper pouch? Check out this tutorial!

finished wood block printed make up bag pop shop america

Ready to have some fun with block printing? Then you must shop the Craft in Style subscription box here!

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