Blog, Capture & Create, photographic journal, Photography, textiles., Travel Stories
Comments 15

We think we know it all – how wrong can we be.

Bagru Printing –  Dabu Mud Resist

I’ve shared with you how the wooden blocks for block printing are created.


Bagru block printing traditionally uses vegetable dye colors such as indigo/dabu (a mixture of mud resist dabu and indigo dip dyeing techniques) and harda (which is a yellow base color).

There was sawdust on the floor, and thickly spread on the tables where the fabric was stretched and pinned.



The dye in this case was a mixture of old horse shoes and jaggery (unrefined brown sugar) which is ‘curing’ and it will become the mixture (iron solution) that when printing onto a fabric dyed with the golden harda color, will turn a warm black.  This is due to the chemical reaction between the naturally high tannin content in harda with the iron solution. I think it is also mixed with gum arabic.



We handle our fabric so carefully but this amazing fabric goes through the most incredible process, laying in the baking sun in the dirt… makes me re-think things a little.


The entire piece of cotton, sawdust and all is dipped into a prepared vat of indigo. The vat is 15 foot deep to accommodate the amount of cloth that can be dyed at one time.


Preparing the Indigo.

Then unceremoniously its set in the sun to dry.




Often the fabric is re-dyed to give it a darker appearance.



And this is the result.


  1. Lou Ann says

    WOW, thanks for sharing this process with us. I never imagined how this fabric was dyed.
    I will appreciate this cloth from this day on.


  2. Lorraine Hartley says

    Pam, what a fabulous description of dyeing.
    I really do enjoy this process ( all dying) of fabrics. I guess we cannot learn so much when it is their whole life of using and producing. Lucky you
    ENJOY. !!!!!


  3. Kathy Chevalier says

    Wow so wonderful! I agree if people saw the process of making fabric there would be less coddling! I have seen how the batikers handle the fabric during the batiking, dying, drying, removing the wax, drying, rolling, quality controlled, rolled, folded and brought to your local store!


  4. Linda says

    Wow! We just had a little trip to Nepal – wish I had of known where to go to see this!! We are heading back in December – any tips Pam?


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