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Dabu is an ancient mud resist hand block printing technique from Rajasthan. It is a very labor intensive and involves several stages of printing and dyeing; the end result is therefore very unique and beautiful.
The process of Daboo printing is quite complicated, involving many workers and multiple stages of printing, washing and dyeing.
First, the plain fabric received from the mills is carefully washed to remove any impurities which may interfere with the dyeing process. Then, designs are meticulously and painstakingly hand printed on to the fabric using blocks which are dipped into fast dyes.
The next and crucial step involves the use of the mud resist which makes this print so unique. Ingredients like mud, gum, lime and waste wheat chaff are combined to make the ‘dabu’ or mud resist paste which is then patted over certain parts of the design. The paste is dried with sprinkled sawdust. This covering essentially protects these parts of the fabric from the dye used later on, creating a unique and colorful effect.
After this process of printing, the fabric is spread out in the sun where it completely dries out. It is then dipped into a vat of dye, dried again and finally given a thorough washing to remove the paste and any excess dye. After that this fabric is used to created wonderful apparels.