Rose-Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 10 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 06 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 07 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Peeps. Favorite new printing technique, right here, right now.

Discharge paste! It’s all about discharge paste, guys! Let me tell you why I love this stuff: instead of depositing something on your fabric (like paint printing), you’re actually leaching out the color, so there’s absolutely no stiffness or chance of it fading or washing out. The design becomes part of the fabric, and will always look the same. And it’s so soft! It doesn’t always discharge to white, it varies and is sort of a fun surprise to see what color it will be. It’s a really fun process, and so satisfying to “reveal” the printing. It’s also so cool to do on really dark colors!

For this top I once again turned to Grainline’s Scout Tee, and the fabric is an oh-so-soft combed cotton lawn dyed Kilt Green (a new color for me, but I really love it!)

I think sometimes people get intimidated to print an entire garment, so I wanted to highlight a project where I printed only a small portion of the top.  You can do minimal printing and still get the same look as an overall printed piece. I actually love piece printing because it really emphasizes your design, and it’s a fast printing process. Some other designs that would work well with this idea is something with a yoke (here or here), or pockets (like my both my Briar tees!) So I decided on some diagonal blocking in the front (look for another basic pattern blocking tutorial later this week!), as well as adding a placket to the back, with different prints on both. I think if I were on Project Runway Tim would counsel me to edit and choose ONE print, but I can’t resist the temptation to mix it up, sorry Tim.

title discharge Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Begin by carving you stamp. My basic process was to freehand sketch this cabbage rose onto a rubber block, carve the outer lines using a linoleum cutter set, then the inner details, and finally cut that sucker out entirely with an xacto knife. I mounted mine to an acrylic block for easy stamping. With discharge paste, I found it was better to use designs that allow for overlap and randomness. Because it prints clear, it’s too hard to try and align exact repeat designs and precise patterns.

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 01 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Scoop a little paste out onto an old plastic lid, and with a small roller or brayer, get some paste and roll it several times on the plastic so it evenly distributes onto the entire roller (important). Roll it onto the stamp, creating a thin and even layer of paste on the surface.  You want a good amount, but not so much that it goops in between the grooves of your design.  A small amount of paste will go a long way.

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 02 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Now after making a test print to check placement and stamp distribution, firmly print your design on to your fabric. Again, discharge paste prints clear, so on some fabrics it’s almost invisible.  To help me place my pattern (flexible placement is best!) I marked with a chalk pen around the edges of my stamp directly after printing so I could see where I had gone.  Here on the right you can see all my marks, and barely discern the pattern.   Allow paste to dry completely and then rub off your markings.

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 03 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Using a hot iron with plenty of steam (as hot as your fabric allows that is!) and magically reveal your printed pattern by evenly ironing.  Be sure my friends, to do this in a well ventilated area (windows OPEN), as this stuff stinks pretty bad and shouldn’t be inhaled. A mask probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 04 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 05 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 13 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 11 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

mad mim discharge printing blocked rose top 12 Rose Blocked Discharge Printing DIY

Isn’t this stuff cool?! What kind of projects would you use this stuff on? I wanna hear some of your ideas!

And to announce the last of our Stretch Yourself winners, congrats seamstress60 the winner of Madeira Serger thread, Danica the winner of Fabrics A to Z , and to Sarah S the winner of the Ottobre subscription!! I’ll be in touch with you very soon!

And ps, how do you like my new haircut??



  1. Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This is soooo damn cool! I’ve never heard of such a thing. We really need to come up with a better name though. Yikes.

  2. kelly
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I love your haircut, if my hair wasn’t a big ball of frizzy, I’d definitely do bangs like yours! And that’s a gorgeous top! I think I need to try that, but I’d probably have to buy a rubber stamp, as I have zero artistic ability for drawing out a design like that.

  3. Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    That’s super cool. Love the way it turned out!

  4. Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    wow. This is a great tutorial. This would be an awesome idea once the weather warms up.

  5. Amy U
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Love the shirt! Love the haircut! Ever tried to use a head of lettuce or cabbage as a rose stamp? When you chop them off near the stem, you get a perfect rose image on the stem portion. Promise. Check it out.

  6. Posted January 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    you are so inspiring! thanks for the tutorial! the shirt is awesome and the pictures are so cute. AND I finally figured out how to add your blog to my reader after like a year of trying. (i don’t know why it wouldn’t work, but now it does! yay!)

  7. Posted January 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I love it! It looks really really expensive, and it suits you! (also, great haircut!)

  8. Posted January 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I noticed your hair first and it looks FAB!
    And I love this concept… I agree with Jessica – there has to be a better name! Now to find a stockist here in Australia….

  9. Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I LOVE this! I totally want to try one.

  10. Dawn TB
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Oh, my stinkin’ gosh! I l-l-l-l-l-l-o-v-e your haircut! And you look AMAZING in green! That colors a keeper for sure. And Tim would say “You rock my socks off Mim.” I know it because I asked him! Your blouse is beautiful. I just love how that print turned out. So cute.

  11. Michelle
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    That is absolutely gorgeous. Stunning. I can’t wait to try it.

  12. Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I just love the fit on that t-shirt, its absolutely perfect. Did you fit it from a previous favorite T? How does it fit into the scheme of creating the perfect fitting T, do you have a measurement off your measurement at chest, waist and hips?

    The panel is beautiful. I really like those neat buttons, very your type, and I also like the back panel. You are looking very thin!! Don’t blow away with the wind now, hear? You look beautiful.

    Your hair cut is so great! I first saw it on FB and love love it. The sassy layers, are so textured and great for you. The bangs are very pretty. The curve on the top and slight curl on the bottom is great, it almost reminds me of your K-garten days, but a lot better! You will have to tell me how you prefer me with or with out bangs on a purely honest feed back. I am thinking of going bangs again, but I just know how much I love no bangs so I don’t know if I’ll really do it. My hunch is I look best with some diagonals.

    Take care,


  13. Posted February 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tute. And just had to say how much I love your shirt!

  14. Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    The printing looks fabulous. The placket on the back is a great idea. :)

  15. Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi, your tutorial inspired me to buy some discharge paste (which is not easy, here in the Netherlands) and to create a little sweater for my boy, see here: I really love the effect of the discharge paste, and I’m definitely going to use it much more often…

    • Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      WOWO WOWOW WOWOWWW!! That is STUNNING, I’m really speechless! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m so inspired!

  16. Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    this is SO coo! I definitely am going to have to try it out

  17. Heidi
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Hey… Where do you get your lino-blocks from? And how about your cutters? And the discharge paste? lol… I did a lino-block carving in high school and think that it would be a lot of fun to try again. The discharge paste looks really neat too!

    • Heidi
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Heh… Never mind, I just clicked on your links, hah! Now I need to see if I can find some on Canadian sites.

  18. Posted April 9, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Love this printing idea. Its completely new to me so I’m keen to check out if we have this stuff in Australia. But your top looks completely stunning. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      It’s amazing stuff, I’ve just started working with something called discolorant as well, which is the same stuff but it bleaches first then replaces the color with another all in one step. It’s so awesome! I am pretty sure that Dharma ships everywhere, but I know that shipping can get pretty expensive. Hope you find it!

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