Posted by United Stock Dry Goods on

From those that are flashy to those with finesse, textile prints are nothing new. In fact, the first recorded use of prints on textile dates back to 220 in China. Back in those days, block printing (or relief printing) was how the pattern got transferred to the fabric in question. A print would be carved into wood, copper, rubber (and almost anything really that could hold shape and ink/dye) and then "applied" to the fabric, creating slight texture at times within the print itself. In the early centuries, detailed prints were difficult to achieve with this method and so patterns were most often unrefined.

But in the 18th Century, roller (cylinder) printing was developed and changed the game. The technique involved running fabric along the surface of a rotating cylinder and having it pressed by rollers. Each roller had a unique design and could be a different colour (up to six). Not surprisingly, this is when more intricate patterns start to emerge in a more mass way. 

A couple of centuries later, screen printing came on the scene. Offering a different methodology, it is today most often used for larger scale single images and posters and the like. Put screen printing and rotary printing together though, and you get the modern analog method of making prints — rotary multicoloured screen printing. 

In the times of technology, namely 2017, most printed textiles are done so digitally. Using modified and specialized inkjet technology, and reactive ink for fabrics like cotton and linen, it is the fastest and most efficient way to get almost any look.


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