Textile art books: Printed surface design techniques

Textile art books: Printed surface design techniques

Looking for a way to amp up your textile art? How about designing your own fabrics? It’s easier than you think, especially if you’re using printing techniques, and it can add another exciting dimension to your creativity.

Printing is one of the oldest and most accessible ways to create a surface design on fabric. And it’s a valuable way to introduce another layer of mark-making into your work. 

Our booklist will help you get in on the act. From experimenting with gelli printing to trying block or screen printing, these books aim to guide you through the entire learning curve. Many also include information about colour theory, as well as ways to create incredible textile designs using simple methods and tools. Even better, you probably already have many of the materials you’ll need to hand.

It’s time to get printing!

Gelli Arts Printing Guide

Gelli Arts Printing Guide

Printing with a gelli plate is an easy and affordable way to create an incredible variety of print designs on fabric. This book will help you produce beautiful, one-of-a-kind artwork with amazing colours and textures. Wonderful results can be obtained quickly, and simple variations give each print its own unique personality. 

The book opens with the basics, covering supplies and how to set up your printing station, before delving into more than 30 different techniques for making colourful backgrounds, textured pages, multiple layers and basic borders. These instructions are complemented by step-by-step pictures of each technique. Perfect for beginners and experts alike, this newly expanded edition contains an updated gallery of printed art.

Gelli Arts® Printing Guide: Printing without a press on paper and fabric using the Gelli Arts® plate (2021) by Suzanne McNeill. ISBN 9781497205406

Gelli Plate Printing

Gelli Plate Printing

Meet your dream printing plate and fall in love with a fast and friendly approach to printmaking. Gelli plates are durable, reusable and stored at room temperature. They provide endless creative possibilities for monoprinting without huge prep times and mess. Simply apply paint with a soft rubber roller, make your marks, and pull your print. Wipe the plate down with a spritz of water and paper towel, and you’re ready to print again. 

Fifty separate techniques are presented using sponges, textured rollers, stencils, rubber stamps and more. You’ll also learn how to hunt down ‘texture makers’ such as rubber bands, combs, scraps of fabric, credit cards and more. The book also features a 26-page gallery showcasing the endless possibilities for creating colour, texture and pattern.

Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-media monoprinting without a press (2014) by Joan Bess. ISBN 9781440335488

Fabric Surface Design

Fabric Surface Design

Sensational stitch projects demand fabulous fabrics! Fibre artist Cheryl Rezendes shows you how to create an astonishing array of surface designs, simply and safely, using textile paints and printing ink. She covers a wide variety of techniques, including stamping, Japanese Shibori, silkscreen, soy wax and flour resist, image transfer, marbling, nature printing, foils and metal leaf. Step-by-step photographs illustrate every detail, and Cheryl includes innovative suggestions on how to combine and layer techniques for stunningly original results.

Fabric Surface Design (2013) by Cheryl Rezendes. ISBN 9781603428118

Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric

Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric

Looking to design your own textiles? This book is packed with advice from established fabric designers who offer clear, easy-to-follow tutorials. The entire fabric design process is explained, including where to find sources of inspiration for your designs. Then step-by-step instruction is provided for a wide variety of printing methods, including screen printing, monoprinting, stamping, stencilling, resist dyeing, painting and inkjet printing. You’ll find plenty of photos accompanying each tutorial, and both hand and digital printing methods are covered. Attention is also given to how to work with on-demand fabric printing companies, such as Spoonflower and Contrado.

Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric (2011) by Laurie Wisbrun. ISBN 9781408147009

Modern Block Printing

Modern Block Printing

The 17 projects featured in this book showcase the versatility of modern block printing. From printing on fabric and clay to making homewares such as cushions and lampshades, Rowan Sivyer offers easy-to-follow instructions taking you through every step of the process. Attention is given to the history of this ancient printing method and exploring design essentials, as well as choosing and caring for tools and carving and printing techniques. Rowan is often inspired by nature, particularly that of her homelands in New Zealand and Australia. With beautiful photography and stunning design, this is an essential guide to block printing by hand.

Modern Block Printing (2022) by Rowan Sivyer. ISBN 9781784885182

Block Print for Beginners

Block Print Magic

This is a perfect reference book for a wide range of print-making enthusiasts. Easy-to-follow illustrated instruction walks you through every step of the process. Artist Emily Howard starts by explaining how to choose and care for tools and set up a studio. Design essentials and carving techniques are then introduced, followed by printing techniques that include multi-block printing, reduction cuts, puzzle blocks and rainbow-roll printing. Advanced carving techniques for creating textures, cross hatching and 3D shading are also explored. 

Seventeen different projects are featured, as well as interviews and examples from five printmakers for inspiration and visual demonstration. This is a must-have for any printmaker’s bookshelf.

Block Print Magic (2019) by Emily Louise Howard. ISBN 9781631596155

Block Print for Beginners

Block Print for Beginners

Learn how to create unique contemporary works of art using traditional carving tools and printmaking techniques to create custom lino prints. Practical instruction is combined with approachable projects and inspirational imagery. Essential materials such as printmaking inks, linoleum blocks, carving tools and papers are explored. Then the full process of moving from an uncarved block to a finished print is explained, including how to transfer a drawing, carve the blocks, and work with inks to achieve the best results. The book closes with step-by-step tutorials for creating a variety of lino print blocks that can be used over and over again. Elise offers a fresh, contemporary and enjoyable approach to learning this time-treasured art form.

Block Print for Beginners (2021) by Elise Young. ISBN 9781633228887

Screenprinting on Textiles: The Complete Guide

Screenprinting on Textiles: The Complete Guide

Screen printing is a stencil method of printing with vast potential. Packed with instruction and practical advice, this book introduces the basic technical aspects of printing on fabric, as well as the equipment and materials needed to succeed. Ideas for designing and combining different types of motifs, images, patterns and repeats are also provided. 

You will learn effective low-tech methods using simple tools, as well as exploring the world of digital print. Advice on using colour, as well as dye recipes, is also featured. Methods such as cross dyeing, crimping and mark making on fabric can also be used in conjunction with screen printing. Sue generously shares practical tips for both traditional screen printing processes, as well as the latest techniques in contemporary practice. 

Screenprinting on Textiles (2020) by Sue Westergaard. ISBN 9781785007538

Beginner’s Guide to Screen Printing

Beginner’s Guide to Screen Printing

Screen printing involves the forcing of ink through a screen of fine material to create a picture or pattern. Erin demonstrates an accessible way of exploring the creative potential of screen printing, using a simple embroidery hoop and silk fabric. 

The book provides clear instructions and colourful step-by-step photography for 12 different projects, and you’ll learn how to print on different surfaces, including wood, cork and fabric. The projects feature coastal and botanical themes, along with templates and inspiration for you to design your own motifs. Long considered to be a ‘specialist’ and expensive technique, the ideas in this book make screen printing affordable and accessible to all.

Beginner’s Guide to Screen Printing (2019) by Erin Lacy. ISBN 9781782217244

Simply Screen Printing

Simply Screen Printing

Leah Higgins is known for her innovative printing techniques on fabric. This book offers a detailed instructional guide to start screen printing using Procion MX dyes and other media to suit your budget and available workspace. It covers working with an open screen with loose resists (such as paper or thread) and with temporary resists (such as thickened dyes, masking tape and freezer paper). Semi-permanent resists, including flour paste, washable PVA glue and sticky back plastic, are also presented. Leah also shares how to combine screen printing with masks on fabric, and there is a section focusing on colour use. Over 500 gorgeous images are spread throughout the book offering both instruction and inspiration. This book is available to ship worldwide from Leah’s website.

Simply Screen Printing (2023) by Leah Higgins. ISBN 9781999585853

Books featured in this article

Want to explore more possibilities for printing on fabric? Check out Discover: The power of print, which showcases a variety of textile artists using print surface design in their work.

If you buy books linked to our site, we may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Do you have a favourite book about printing on textiles? Let us know below.

Wednesday 10th, July 2024 / 15:22



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21 comments on “Textile art books: Printed surface design techniques”

  1. Leslie says:

    5, Screenprinting: Layering Texiles with Colour, Texture and Images
    by Claire Benn is written by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan

  2. Antonio says:

    Interesting but difficult to find Fabric Printing book focused on Natural Dyes.

    Any suggestion?

    King regards,


    • Susan Campbell says:

      The craft of natural dyeing Jenny Dean – SearchPress 🙂

    • marijka says:

      I’ve not seen it, but have heard great things about “Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles” by India Flint and have it on my to-buy list. Might be worth taking a look!

  3. Susan Campbell says:

    I want them all !

  4. Pauline Wallace says:

    I bought a book several years ago which is not entirely about fabric printing but about making your own natural dyes. The book ‘Natural Dyes’ by Linda Rudkin was published in 2007 (by A&C Black, Publishers, London) and is an excellent handbook for learning the requirements of dyeing and the dyeing process. Beautiful sample boards are illustrated with comments given about the dye.

    Regards, Pauline.

  5. More Fabrics says:

    Well, these books are useful for fabric designer. However, you did not include a fantastic book in your article “A Guide to Creative Design Fundamentals” by Terry A. Gentille, 1982.

  6. Fabrics says:

    At this moment I am going to do my breakfast,
    later than having my breakfast coming over
    again to read further news.

  7. JeanneB says:

    My biggest problem is finding a book that covers designing printed home textiles, specifically making repeats for large florals, even free-form design for same. Having several books that show how to do very basic repeats, most are for small and dense or small non-floral patterns.

  8. olomi says:

    very good books thankfuly

  9. joyce says:

    Awesome! Thanks for your sharing. testextile.com/what-is-the-history-of-textile-printing

  10. judy says:

    I am looking for a book that includes resist stamping on fabric. I was gifted several old wooden stamps. I don’t want to damage the stamps, but want to be able to remove the resist from them after use. Any suggestions as to how to or a book will be appreciated.

  11. Very nice article. All these books are really amazing. These shares detailed information about textile printing. Thanks for sharing this post.

  12. Cotton Yarn says:

    Any PDF versions of those books or other Ebooks?

  13. HGS Machines says:

    Every one of these books is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing an informative post with us.

  14. HGS Machines says:

    Thanks for sharing valuable information with us. Every one of these books is truly stunning.

  15. Sophia Joseph says:

    Very Awesome and Help full Article. It really helps me. Thanks for sharing this.

  16. Jane Mills says:

    Great list – my favourites are Leah Higgins and Leslie Morgan with Claire Benn. The best eco printing one isThe Art and Science of Natural Dyes: Principles, Experiments and Results by Joy Boutrop and Catherine Ellis.

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