Originated from the lands of Rajasthan, Dabu is a hand-block printing technique to dye clothes by using the resist method.
A mud mixture, Dabu, is made from local black clay (kaali mitti), wheat powder, guar gum, and lime water. Plain bright fabric is tinted yellow using Harda powder. The wooden block, with a carved design, is used to hand-print Dabu on the tinted fabric. A layer of sawdust is sprinkled over it to prevent the fabric from sticking to itself. The patterns printed with the mud-resist mixture are left to dry. The fabric is then dyed, which leaves the mud motifs uncolored.This process can be repeated to add more colors.
Motifs for Dabu are inspired by nature and our surroundings. They include peacocks, mangoes, leaves, sunflowers, and animal figures. Sometimes wavy lines, dots, and various geometric shapes are also used.
Traditionally, colors for dying are naturally obtained. Indigo plant (Neel) is used for blue, Harda powder or Turmeric (Haldi) gives yellow, and Madder is used for red.
Indigo Dabu print designs are immensely popular. They not only beautify your clothing but add artisanal value to it.