Dabu printing is a traditional art and an elaborate process in a unique way of dyeing and printing by which exceptional print fabrics of unique appeal result. This mud-resist hand-block printing is practiced mostly in certain pockets in the state of Rajasthan, India. The appearance of these fabrics is unique for the brilliant floral and thematic patterns in sharp and finely detailed prints of bright and well-chosen hues & designs that have left modern pundits dumbstruck.
The highlight of Dabu printed fabrics is the use of organic colours and vegetable pastes which are eco-friendly, skin-friendly, fast, and retain their brilliance for most of the lifetime of the fabric. Dabu printed sarees undergo a rigorous process that involves a lot of not so easily available and costly natural dyes and vegetable pastes.
The following are used for making the print paste that goes into the magic of the Dabu prints.
1. Black clay from the nearby ponds. This is the main ingredient that goes into creating the resist effect in the Dabu process.
2. Bidhan or Wheat powder obtained from the wheat eaten by wheat insects. This improves the adhesion quality of the print paste to the block and fabric.
3. Gum Arabic that is fundamental to the print paste for adhesion to block and fabric.
4. Lime water that prevents the cracking of clay at the printed portion. It also improves adhesion of print to fabric.
Fabric: The base fabric, although traditionally included only cotton and silk, today includes chiffons, georgettes and crepes as well. Pure cotton, pure silk, chiffon, crepe, georgette and super net sarees have shown good results with Dabu prints.
Dye: Both natural and chemical indigos are used for dyeing in combination with some other natural dyes like dried pomegranate skin and alizarin.