Wooden blocks, carved with a design standing out in relief, are made from solid pieces of wood or by bonding closely grained woods with cheaper ones. When designs include large areas, these are recessed and the space filled with hard wool felt. Fine lines are usually built up with copper strips, and other effects are obtained with copper strips interleaved with felt. To facilitate registration of successive prints, or lays, each block has several pitch pins arranged to coincide with well-defined points in the pattern. Cloth is printed on a table covered with several thicknesses of fabric or blanket, the whole covered with a thick sheet of tightly stretched synthetic rubber. The cloth to be printed is spread on the rubber, either gummed in position or pinned to a backcloth attached to the table.
Colour is applied evenly to the block, and the pattern is stamped on the fabric to be printed, using the handle of a small heavy hammer, or maul, to aid penetration of the paste. More colour is then applied to the block and the process is repeated using the pitch pin to obtain true registration. After the fabric has been entirely printed with one colour, other colours are applied in the same way until the design is complete. Although block printing is becoming too laborious and costly for commercial use, some of the most beautiful prints have been made in this way.