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.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Frank Prem says:

    Amazing Pam.

    Thanks for sharing.



    1. Pam Holland says:

      Thanks Frank, glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Sandy T. says:

    So fascinating- I love your blogs

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Sandy, thanks so much, I enjoy write, but its a bit difficult while traveling.

  3. Oh, look at that gorgeous fabric!!

  4. 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.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      It was a shock to me, so I felt I needed to share it.

  5. 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. !!!!!

  6. 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!

    1. Pam Holland says:

      We saw fabric coated in camel dung, and all sorts of different methods. However, in the end, they turn out amazingly.

  7. Glenys says:

    Pam I love to see the processes that bring fabric to life. Gorgeous product ..fascinating.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Glenys, it was an eye opener for us too.

  8. beautiful…….

  9. 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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