How To Block Print Your Walls

How To Block Print Your Walls

Block printing your walls is a fairly easy technique. The materials you will need are paint, a carved block and a sponge. 

I painted my walls a Benjamin Moore match to in Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster in Regal Select Matte finish. The walls paint are matte which I think is more forgiving to bumpy old walls and the finish looks more like real wallpaper. 

I choose a large block to print on my wall. In my trials the smaller detailed blocks lost their detail. This block is about to 5 inches in length.

I would suggest only printing on walls with wall board. You need some give to get full contact of the block to the wall. When you print on fabric block printers print on a padded surface. When I tested the block on my plaster walls the print barely showed up. Hard surface to hard surface does not work. Molly Mahon suggested for my plaster walls I look at potato stamping.

I used old matte latex paint to print because this project because it started as a trial and I used what I had lying around the house. Sometimes the scrappy method can yield the best results. I assume traditional block printing inks would work too.

Step 1 Paint your walls the base color (mine is similar to Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster)

Step 2 Pour your block color into a shallow painting tray and moisten a kitchen sponge. Wring out any excess water.  ( I used Farrow & Ball’s James White)

Step 3 Dab paint onto block using the moistened sponge. 

Step 4 Press block firmly to the wall. Spend your time experiencing with how hard you need to push. I pushed till I felt the give of the wall board behind the block.

Step 5 Decide on a repeat. I spaced mine by doing two rows at once. The first print starts one column. The second column dropped one full print staggering the image all the way down the column. Repeat across entire wall. 

I found working left to right was the easiest way to set up the pattern. Once you have a few rows printed you will start to see how things should line up. Make sure to line up the print vertically and horizontally. It won’t be a perfect repeat and mistakes are bound to happen but that’s part of the charm. 

Tips for loading paint onto blocks I put more paint then I thought was necessary to get a full print. Sometimes when I printed a pattern the paint looked too thick. But after drying it looked beautiful. If it’s really horrible you can go back with your base color and paint over and try again. But try not to fuss to much. Your eyes will naturally gravitate towards the full design. 

I printed up both sides of my stairwell and hallway. I did the project over a few day period but one wall came together rather quickly.  I am super happy with the results and I think it’s just as beautiful as wallpaper.

Here a few of my picks from the same shop I ordered from off Etsy. I found the blocks to be really nice quality and affordable. Shipping was quick and everything came well packaged.

Hand carved wood textile india block stamp 30, $5, etsy.com
Wood Block Stamp Flower 190, $10, etsy.com
Hand carved wood stamp 296, $15, etsy.com.
Carved Wood Stamp 124, $7, etsy.com.