fabric painting

MAGAZINE®

Quilting Arts

5

surface design techniques

Monoprint Techniques from Quilting Arts 2
and
3

5 Surface Design, Paint,

Fabric Painting

1

4

5
Monoprinting Fabrics for Textured Backgrounds
Fawn Mackey

1 Monoprinting with Paint 2 Plunging into Skydyes 3 Patterned & Painted Cloth
Liz Berg Mickey lawler Barbara schneider

4

5

Working with Oil Sticks

Karen Williams

fabric painting: 5 surface design, paint, and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts

Q u i lt i n g A r t s . c o m

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©Interweave Press LLC

fabric painting
MAGAZINE®

Quilting Arts
by

5

surface design techniques
Adapted from Quilting Arts Magazine February/March 2009

monprinting
with paint
L iz B erg

Monoprints are created by putting paint onto a hard, smooth surface such as an acrylic pane, a glass pane, or some other plastic-type material. I have used all sorts of surfaces over the years and have found that working on an acrylic panel works well. A sheet of glass works better, as the acrylic paints do not “hold” as much to the glass; the glass releases the paint to the fabric more easily. I recently received a small sample of new acrylic paints from Golden Artist Colors called Open Acrylics. They retain their working time much longer, with a drying time that is slower than regular acrylic paints, but faster than oil paints. Golden has also created assorted “open” mediums that can be used with both “open” acrylics and with regular acrylics, increasing the “workable” time. My first trials were with open acrylics and regular matte medium. I mixed two parts paint to one part matte medium and then tried working with that mixture and adding some GAC900 (a Golden fabric medium). Mixing in jars allowed me to shake up the mixture and mix more thoroughly. I also tried using matte medium and open acrylics and adding some water. I discovered the water caused the acrylics to flow almost too much, making them hard to contain and create the textures that I wanted. I consulted with Golden, and the artist there suggested I might want to try regular fluid acrylics with open matte medium. I mixed the fluid acrylics and open matte medium in a 1:1 ratio. I found this seemed to work Q u i lt i n g A r t s . c o m
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“Harvest Moon” • 8" × 93⁄4"

I

have long been interested in creating my own fabric. Several years ago, I began to do monoprints with acrylic paint as a way of creating

interesting fabric with a lot of texture. However, I found that the acrylic paint would dry so quickly that I had little time to work with the paint on the printing plate.
fabric painting: 5 surface design, paint, and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts

©Interweave Press LLC

3. 4. faux painting tools from the craft store. Once you get started creating and marks you have made. deeply carved rubber stamps. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . I liked this added texture. you will be open to all sorts of ideas. I also use it to remove the leftover paint on the plate. and mixing the two fluids (acrylic and medium) was much easier than using the higher viscosity jar acrylics and matte medium. lay the fabric painting: 5 surface design. c o m 4 ©Interweave Press LLC . I had a much larger choice of premixed colors. I like to use grouting knives (plastic spatula forms with “teeth” on them). wipe painting knives off on it. Using fluid acrylics. 2. cut into fat quarters (This fabric should be pre-washed if it’s not PFD—prepared for dyeing. Tip: Fine foam rollers are inexpensive.) • White cotton fabric. wipe your work surface with it. This fabric is an added bonus. 18" x 24" (Be sure to tape the edges if you use glass. D irections 1. I found that a brush left brush-like texture and a roller left dimples. Explore various ways of creating marks. Once you are happy with the designs spread the mixture all over the plate using a foam brush or a fine foam roller. Mix them together and then change paint colors by changing the roller on the handle as needed. Start with a dollop of fluid acrylic “Trace” • 8" × 93⁄4" and an equal amount of open medium on your glass plate. • Rubber gloves best of all. scrunch it up. paint. I recommend that you buy extras and marks in the paint with the assortment of mark-making tools you’ve assembled. plastic wrap. etc. mudding trowels or similar tools (available in craft stores). too.” acrylic or glass. rubber stamps. and it will turn into a wonderful new piece of fabric. etc.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques M at e r i a l s • Printing “plate.) • Golden® Open Acrylic Medium (Gloss). in colors of your choice • Foam brushes • Small foam roller(s) • Mark-making tools: sticks. sticks. plastic berry baskets. Bubble Wrap®. 8 oz. giving me sufficient open time and the appropriate viscosity for use on fabric. • Assorted fluid acrylics. making sure to get a nice even coating of paint. Tip: Always keep a damp fat quarter of white fabric available to wipe off your tools as you work.

Also. be sure to create some small prints or textures and some larger ones. and darks. I will just keep adding paint and open medium to the glass plate as the paint gets used up. visit lizbergartquilts. combine them with solids. it is quite possible to put up a clothesline and hang the fabric to dry overnight. I can make mistakes while creating a design. as long as you have enough room to hang it all while it dries! Use your new fabrics to create art quilts. This creates a more complex design. it is now printed. allowing me to do so much with the leftover paint. It seems to give me at least 15 minutes of working time. wipe it smooth. 7. paint. pressing it onto the painted surface. mediums. since you are working with a different consistency of paint. these fabrics clearly make your work your very own! To see more of Liz’s work. by adding yellow. Frequently.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Note: If your plate gets too dry. 5.com. and then start over. Peel away the fabric. such as blues to greens. Creating this fabric is really addictive and fun to do with other people—that is. “Purple Night” • 8" × 93⁄4" fabric over your printing plate. My biggest challenge is finding enough flat space to lay all the fabric down to dry. And when the blue has mostly disappeared. or include some commercial fabrics. allow it to dry and then heat set it for permanence. creating new colors as I go. you can spritz it lightly with water to get a whole new look. With the extended working time the open medium offers. When you are happy with your fabric. 6. While you are creating your new fabrics. Continue to play with the paints and tools. No matter what. However. Create as full a range of color and texture as you can. I generally work from one color palette to another. I will begin adding red to create orange colors. gently pat it in place. decide if you want to print another layer over the first. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . fabric painting: 5 surface design. be sure to make a variety of lights. When the paint is dry on the fabric. Use them by themselves. c o m 5 ©Interweave Press LLC . and then roller over the back of it.

leaving small areas of heavier paint and some areas of very little paint. Work with an extra piece of clean cloth and just stamp it to create an opposite image. fabric painting: 5 surface design. paint. and just create movement across the plate with a thinner layer of paint. If there is still paint left after pulling a print. I like to smoosh the paint around. for even more texture. as I did. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . Right: In preparing the plate for this piece of fabric. I then took a mudding trowel (used for laying tile) and dragged it across the paint several times in a wavy motion. Quilting Arts M ONO P RINTING samples fabric painting MAGAZINE® 5 surface design techniques Often there is ample paint left on a plate to keep on creating and printing. c o m 6 ©Interweave Press LLC . The end of a paintbrush was then used to make lines and random scribbles.A coat of paint was spread evenly across the glass plate with a foam brush. It is necessary to clean the excess paint off the rubber stamp that you use in between lifts off the plate. You can see where there are junctures of thicker paint as the excess piles up during the spreading process. By making a print out of such a plate. These areas will take longer to dry when printed. you can remove paint from the plate before printing. You can then write or doodle into the paint. a background was laid down using a brush to move the paint around. you create a nice subtle piece of fabric. Left: By using deeply cut rubber stamps. spread it around evenly with your gloved hand and then spritz lightly with a water spray. using a foam brush or even a gloved hand.

. I “It’s a misconception that my fabrics are dyed. The intensely hued fabrics produced in Mickey’s studio are treasured by quilt artists from across the country. No fabric comes out exactly the same. I go into my fabric painting with a plan. but if I’m not open to the fact that the fabric will make up its own mind while drying. I’m setting myself up for trouble. Mickey has 80% predictability on what will come out of painting a particular piece of fabric. “The idea of trying to exactly duplicate something I’ve already done takes the fun out of it. In March of 2002.” fabric painting: 5 surface design.” On her very best days. paint. an idea. and that’s the way she likes it. amidst the shipyards and textile mills of centuries past. stands the PRO Chemical and Dye® warehouse. Nancy Driggs. Massachusetts.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Adapted from Quilting Arts Magazine Summer 2002 plunging into skydyes with fabric painting M ickey L awler Mickey Lawler with student. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . “Painted fabric has qualities you can’t get with dyes. c o m 7 ©Interweave Press LLC “Vanishing Point” by Mickey Lawler n Fall River.” explains Mickey. PRO Chem welcomed Mickey Lawler to their classroom—New England’s gathering place for textile artists and students—for a demonstration of her fabric painting methods.

3. take a metallic paint that’s been heavily diluted and gently brush over the peaks of the fabric. 1. Unless you want a solid colored background. Repeat step 2 with other colors. 3. 2. and can be dry-cleaned—but she does warn against everyday use. Try to avoid what Mickey refers to as “Disneyland®” blues which appear fake and cartoon-like. creating interesting patterns and swirls on the surface. bristle brushes. colors. C reating and skies sunsets 1. lightly mist one of the colors of paint with horizontal strokes on different parts of the fabric. lightly press down colors before rinsing off the salt residue. Take your brush or sponge and the salted fabric to jumpstart the process. c o m 8 fabric painting: 5 surface design. “Fabrics that are painted aren’t best used as bed quilts—especially if there are metallic paints in them as they are particularly susceptible to abrasion. cut large enough for your piece of fabric to lay upon • Plastic plant misting bottle Mickey uses Setacolor transparent paints by Pébéo. Take your brush and lightly apply Applying Paint 1. Paint your fabrics with the desired blue hues. or kosher salt • High-quality 100% cotton fabric for painting • Lightweight plastic drop cloth. and even greens. sprinkled salt absorbs the paint colors. whether using short or long strokes. and sponge brushes • Rubber gloves • Small container of coarse sea salt. rock salt. oranges. Remember that the paint will continue to move across the fabric for a while after it has been applied. These paints are high quality and permanent once heat-set with an iron.” using little pressure.) Manipulation To add sparkle. Sprinkle  the salt onto the fabric. 3. make sure to move your brush straight across the fabric (our arms have a tendency to arc our stroke when we brush horizontally). Q u i lt i n g A r t s . Place  your fabric on a flat surface. Mix several different containers of Special Effects S alt In this method. being careful not to soak the material. sprinkle them sparingly across the surface. 2. lightfast.  Lightly spray your fabric with To avoid piling up salt granules on top of one another. Once  dry. Mix other containers of purples. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC . With  your spray bottle. The finished pieces are hand-washable. water from about 12" away from the fabric. lightly press onto the fabric. (You should also allow it to dry on this surface after painting is completed. 4.) 2. When brushing.fabric painting Salt technique by Patti Sylvia MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques M at e r i a l s • Setacolor™ transparent paints • Plastic containers for mixing the paints • An assortment of sponges. (Make sure you use an ironing cloth and the appropriate heat setting for your fabric. iron the fabric to set the leaving areas of white fabric for the paints to move into (remember that paint will move even after you’ve applied it). paint.

painting over a previously dried piece will not cover the first design. Since paint starts to dry soon after it is applied. Try to create uneven and unpredictable patterns while gathering. 2. Allow the fabric to dry completely paint. you may need to break the quills in places to keep the feathers from arching on the surface—if any light seeps underneath. of colors.com. take some objects before smoothing out since the paint will continue to move for a while after it has been applied. it won’t work. 3. rubber stamps. (anything flat that will block out light completely: feathers. cheesecloth. Inc. at testfabrics. 1. If you choose to use feathers. 2. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC . crinkle • Use a high-quality cotton fabric. loosely woven cottons.  Once covered. flat leaves) and lay them across the paint. and avoid cheap. the crinkling of fabric causes the paint to move down from the raised areas and sink into the valleys. work quickly in order to get the best results. Paint your fabric with your choice Sun prints Working outdoors on a sunny day is the best way to get a good sun print.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques In this process. or gather the fabric towards the center to form various peaks and valleys in the fabric. Mickey orders her fabrics for painting exclusively from Testfabrics.  Paint your fabric completely with Fabric manipulation technique by Calie Kaso tips & hints • The paints are transparent. paint. Starting from the corners. 1. c o m 9 fabric painting: 5 surface design. Make sure to press your objects (such Q u i lt i n g A r t s .

any shade of green. For a true pink. pale gray with pearl added. • To achieve a fire engine red. You can correct this by adding yellow. yellow. you’ll notice a lighter area of the object remains. Once pressed. • Peach is yellow and orient red. c o m 10 ©Interweave Press LLC . To see more of her work. you’ll want to mix the Setacolor green with other colors (i. Mickey is the author of Skydyes: A Visual Guide to Fabric Painting. blue. • Golden yellow is yellow with a few drops of violet. • Red violet is violet and orient red. cobalt with drops of black. etc. visit skydyes. you can also paint over the objects to make sure they are covered.com. • Browns can be (theoretically) created by mixing two complements. 3.e. pale cobalt. When the fabric is dry and the objects are removed. sun.). red with green. adding drops of black. • To create seas. • True black requires adding a few drops of ultramarine to the black.  Place your painted fabric in the tips for mixing setacolor ™ transparent paints • To make a lighter shade. • To create skies. etc. mix the paint with more water.. combine cobalt and ultramarine.. blue with orange. mix vermilion and orient red. but often times a purple shade is achieved. ultramarine with a few drops of black. Left: Sun print by Calie Kaso Below: Sky dye technique by Karen Catalano fabric painting: 5 surface design. • Turquoise is emerald and cobalt.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques as feathers and cheesecloth) right into the paint so it blocks out the light entirely. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . • Orange is yellow and vermilion. paint.e. mix paint containers with the following: ultramarine. just add water.). • Blue violet is violet and ultramarine. • To create realistic greens. • Tone down a color by adding its complement (i.

fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Sky painted by Terry Maddox While this fabric was still dry. Susan Raban used a sponge brush to make small black shapes. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . c o m 1 1 ©Interweave Press LLC . some salt. paint. she applied more paint. Painted landscape on leather by Carole Finger resources For inspiration. After this dried. then sprayed with water to jumpstart the salt process. Mickey recommends the following books: • Painting the Sprit of Nature by Maxine Masterfield • Artists’ Photo Reference to Landscapes by Gary Greene Fabric manipulation technique by Susan Raban fabric painting: 5 surface design.

holes. and heat creates an image that has some of the characteristics of a rubbing. and crumbling edges that add character and visual interest. While still wet and on top of the tin. I added layers of opaque textile paint. The combination of paint. The final image fabric painting: 5 surface design. pastel. I then embellish the image with color pencil. rusty pieces yield layers of paint. I have created a series of “Old Wall” art quilts. paint.” reinterpreting existing aged items as art cloth. With a grace and beauty that have lasted for many years. I apply a thin coat of light-sensitive paint to wet cloth that has been placed over the tin. I am currently working with vintage tin ceiling tiles. and rubbings of colored lead pencil to enhance the feeling of the crumbling walls with peeling signs or frescoed images. First. I often combine tin pieces to create a frieze. Once dry. nothing has been of more interest than exploring the concept of what I call “after images. c o m 12 ©Interweave Press LLC . and stitching to bring out details and add dimension. A lthough I have worked in a variety of media. I was influenced by images I had photographed in Italy of Etruscan tombs and walls.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Adapted from Quilting Arts Magazine Fall 2003 patterned & painted cloth by B arbara S chneider Above: A collection of vintage ceiling tiles Below: I continue to experiment and find new ways to work with tiles. the painted cloth is then heated with heat lamps. The process of transferring the image to cloth is intriguing. these bent. stitching. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . water. Each quilt began with a whole cloth background that was produced by combining tile fragments or by repeating the image multiple times across a length of cloth.

) Usually this process yields fabric with lighter imprints of the objects used on colored fabric. heat. The pebbly background was enhanced with colored pencil. painted cloth with Setacolor paints. and combinations of tin pieces and other metallic objects. c o m 13 ©Interweave Press LLC . paint. Above: This piece has the look of a rubbing. I noticed that the best prints came when objects were in good contact with the cloth. After many attempts. see Mickey Lawler’s article on page 7. 1. I came to the idea after doing the more traditional sun printing process that uses objects laid on wet. Lay  a piece of lightweight PFD cotton cloth on top of the tile. I discovered a method that gave me a very good facsimile of the tile pattern. tone. Lay  a piece of metal tile on a 2. (For information on fabric painting and sun printing methods. and layers of paint. Paint  on a very thin coat of protected surface. color choice. that is. After Images: process This process is infinitely variable. I have worked with many fabrics. 4. fabric painting: 5 surface design. 3. Spray  the fabric with water and roll a foam brayer over the surface to squeeze out air bubbles and wrinkles. I explored whether the process could be reversed. The results are also variable depending on the combination of tiles. the object placed below the cloth. I had a wonderful piece of vintage tin with a very intriguing background pattern. a variety of textile paints and dyes.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques M a t e r i a l s • Metal tiles of choice • Lightweight PFD (prepared for dye) cotton cloth • Spray bottle with water • Foam brayer • Setacolor™ transparent paints of choice • 3–4 elbow heat lamps Optional • Metallic textile paints • Colored lead pencils or pastels is a unique wholecloth piece with its own color. Since those early explorations. and shading. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Setacolor transparent paint—I intermix colors and often add some Q u i lt i n g A r t s .

I use three to four elbow lamps. gently lift it 7. visit barbaraschneider-artist. colored lead pencil. c o m from the metal surface. Q u i lt i n g A r t s . the shapes on this piece ended up looking like sea creatures and microscopic life. fabric painting: 5 surface design. Once  the fabric is dry. Left: One of my favorite pieces. Enhance  the painted fabric of clear heat lamps. “Hubba Bubba Hubcaps. or other embellishment techniques.com. metallic textile paint to the mix. Below: This is a piece of cornice tin. about one foot above the fabric. a curved decoration that was used around the upper part of a room to blend the ceiling with the wall.” was done using orphan hubcaps.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Above: This piece is reminiscent of an ironwork gate in a Victorian garden. Make sure the paint is diluted. Surprisingly. Expose  to sunlight or a bank the lamps around to heat set and dry the fabric. 6. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts 14 ©Interweave Press LLC . and move with additional layers of paint. paint. To see more of Barbara’s work. 5. The cloth will dry tight to the metal.

I have been studying and learning in both formal and informal ways. paint. fascinated with fabric. My background fabric is improvisational and I like to start with monoprinting. But it took several years for me to meld painting and fiber. I do several pulls of the fabric. Monoprinting gives a somewhat uncontrolled surface with a loose design. then built the imagery from there. acrylic paint. c o m 15 ©Interweave Press LLC . stitching. charcoal. monoprinting. My formal educational background is in painting. quilting. and anything else that catches my fancy. charcoal. My inspiration comes from the exploration of a thought. and allow fabric painting: 5 surface design. cotton batting. Then. My new work straddles the line between painting and quilting. and for my quilts. The lost edges are beautiful and there are surprises that appear when you pull off the print. and incorporates print making and drawing.” • Muslin. drawing.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Adapted from Quilting Arts Magazine February/March 2008 monoprinting fabrics for textured backgrounds S ince I first dipped my toe in the creative pool. wax medium. lithography. I started experimenting with line and texture through commercial fabric and thread. It gives me a rich painterly surface to work with. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . paint. I strive for a visually rich surface. printing. I use a variety of techniques to create my fabric lithographs: etching transfers. pencil. fabric. It is also something that you by F awn M ackey “My Father’s Suitcase” • 27" × 29" •  “This quilt was inspired by an old suitcase that my family gave me. It had belonged to my father and he carried it to untold adventures and away from his troubles. and printmaking. commercial fabric back and binding. monoprinting. stitching. idea. oil stick. can experiment with at home since the cost is low and it is easy to do. or feeling. I first began this piece with a monoprinted fabric. glue. pencil. No rules on size or surface.

2. It may lend itself to appliqué. paint. 4. I usually set the image aside and begin working from the background up. If you are aiming for thinner lines. charcoal. A base fabric will have three to four pulls on it. so simple shapes are best. 3. When dry. especially on the second and third pull of the same piece of fabric. starting with a monoprint. or stitch. Draw  or loosely scratch a • A  soft rubber brayer or an old rolling pin • Freezer  paper • Washed  and ironed muslin or low-texture commercial fabric • Palette  or a white or glass plate • Palette  knife • A  variety of paintbrushes • Rubber gloves background image or design into the paint. My quilts are all different. I also use commercial fabric. The fabric I use is simple muslin or lightweight artist’s canvas. I am process-oriented and my work develops in layers. tape the edges for safety. commercial fabric. I often use a pencil eraser. charcoal. Iron  the freezer paper to the back of your fabric. Use a paintbrush. Wipe away some areas completely. acrylic paint. and the fabric needs to be consistent with the aesthetic of the image I have selected. paint. a towel. I use a hair color applicator. about 8" × 11". It may shift and change as I work. Add  a few drops of fabric medium M at e r i a l s • Acrylic  paint • Fabric  medium • Piece  of glass or acrylic sheet a little larger than your fabric and mix to a medium consistency. sanding. print. I then add a variety of images or lines and marks with pencil. Squeeze  a small amount of acrylic paint onto the palette. 1. It’s important to clean all of your tools and start new on each pull. the print can be cut up and handled like any other fabric. or markers. This will allow other areas to show through. paint. wax medium. available from any beauty supply store. “Prom Dress” • 14" × 14" • “This is part of a series on social milestones and the joy or grief attached. quilting. monoprinting. or layers. I seal the whole thing with a thin wash of textile medium and acrylic medium. your finger. of a new print. try applying the paint to your plate (a large piece of glass or acrylic) with an applicator tip. or the handle of the brush. pen. You Q u i lt i n g A r t s . Note: If you use a sheet of glass. Start with a small piece. It tends to be a bit stiff.” • Canvas. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC .fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques The focal image in my quilts (such as the suitcase in “My Father’s Suitcase”) tells me how it should be presented over time. c o m 16 fabric painting: 5 surface design. Use the palette knife to spread the color over the glass or acrylic sheet. B asic P rinting the fabric to dry completely between the pulls.

appliqué. 9.  Carefully lay your sheet of fabric.  Wash the tools. give your fabric a history. paint. The paint needs to be wet to print. right-side down. Right: “Prom Dress II” • 9" × 11" • “This quilt is the second in a series. What you don’t want or use in one project may be just what you need in another. Save all your fabrics. Add images. 6. embellishments. over the paint. palette. studs. 8. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . commercial fabric.net.  After the fabric is dry. 7. c o m 17 ©Interweave Press LLC .  Using the brayer or rolling pin. and make it your own. cotton batting. charcoal. and any other method you like. quilting. Do not let the paint set up on the brayer or on any of the tools. stitching.” • Muslin. 5. transfers.  Peel the fabric off the glass and let it dry. Play and have fun—let your creative self loose.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques can also squirt the paint on or use an applicator bottle. monoprinting. fabric painting: 5 surface design. Everything you make will be original and wonderful. and glass/acrylic sheet in cold water and wipe dry. I often take sandpaper to thick areas of dried paint to release colors from the previous layer or to give it the aged look I like. D esign After you finish the monoprinting. thread. gently roll over the back of the fabric (the freezer paper side). Move quickly before it starts to dry. stenciling. Above: This base fabric was monoprinted with several pulls. do another pull with another color. Fawn can be contacted at harleyriders2000@earthlink. etching transfer. make marks. start designing and experimenting.

c o m 18 fabric painting: 5 surface design. and even with heavy application. you may see a waxy “bloom. This stenciled leaf was free-motion stitched. You don’t need a heavy application of the paint to get great color. This is more likely to happen with student-grade sticks. Oil sticks are professional quality oil paints that have been solidified into an easy-to-use stick format. If there is too much binder in an oil stick. you know that the hunt for the right paint is like the search for El Dorado. around the edges of the painted area.” or ring. I felt like I’d discovered gold when I discovered oil sticks.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Adapted from Quilting Arts Magazine Fall 2004 working with oil sticks by K aren W illiams I f you’ve ever tried painting on dark fabric. your piece is machine washable. It is not easy to find a paint that remains bright and visible without changing the hand or feel of the fabric. or can be used with stencils and masks for a variety of effects. All colors of oil sticks work beautifully on lighter colored fabrics.to mid-value colors and all of the iridescent colors work wonderfully on dark fabrics. like opaque acrylics. I’ve found that the light. M at e r i a l s • Oil stick paints • Fabric to be painted • Plastic to cover workspace • Synthropol  or mild detergent (optional) • Masking  tape or painter’s blue tape • Card  stock or freezer paper • Craft  knife • Iron  and ironing board • Stencil  brush or flat toothbrush (optional) • Parchment  paper • Brush  cleaner Q u i lt i n g A r t s . paint. but tend to stiffen the fabric and can be difficult to stitch through. My favorite brand is Shiva® Professional Oil Paintstiks®. as manufacturers use less pigment to make them less expensive. Oil sticks can be rubbed directly onto the fabric. Many fabric paints look best on lighter colored fabrics and are simply too transparent to show up on a dark background. Another plus is that once the paints have been cured properly and heat set. Others. There are some exceptions (the darker blues. These seem to have the highest pigment to binder ratio. provide good coverage. Oil sticks come in a wide range of colors. including one of the widest ranges of iridescent colors I have come across. So. for instance) but there is a wide range of options. the fabric is only slightly stiffer. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC .

paint. and triangles. Either masking tape or painters’ blue tape works well because it is not too sticky and can be removed cleanly later. There are many commercially available stencils. stretching it just slightly as you go. Shiva oil sticks on cotton. c o m 19 fabric painting: 5 surface design. or Q u i lt i n g A r t s . and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC . you will want to prewash your fabric. Stencils work best for more complex shapes or organic shapes with curving lines. squares. I use a plastic drop cloth over my cutting table. This creates a stable canvas on which to work. they will interfere with paint adhesion. Unless you have purchased fabric labeled PFD (prepared for dyeing). a product made specifically for dyeing. It is possible to create interesting compositions of positive and negative shapes this way. Many commercial fabrics have finishes to repel dirt and prevent wrinkles. Preparing to paint I recommend covering your work space with plastic when working with oil sticks.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Masking tape was used to make masked lines. Prewash your fabric with Synthropol. Using stencils and masks Use masking tape to block out geometric shapes such as lines. “Falling Leaves” • Leaf stencil made out of cardstock. Wherever you apply the tape. and these finishes can prevent the paint from bonding properly with the fabric. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. or wash with a mild detergent. It’s important that the surface be smooth. Tape your fabric to the cutting board. as the paint can be somewhat difficult to remove from some surfaces. the fabric will keep its original color. You can paint between or inside of these masked lines. any texture beneath will show up in your work as a result of the rubbing.

I recommend freezer paper. If your design is very detailed and you plan to use it only once or twice. Keep in mind that you can use either the positive or negative shapes as a stencil or as fabric painting: 5 surface design. Above right: Stenciled reindeer. For a simpler design or one you intend to use for multiple copies. F reezer stencil paper 1. The freezer paper stencil adheres to the fabric and helps prevent shifting of the complex design lines. c o m 20 ©Interweave Press LLC . the tighter the curves you will be able to cut. use card stock. The finer the blade. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts Q u i lt i n g A r t s . which is more durable. paint.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques Above: Sample reindeer stencil and mask made out of freezer paper. Below right: Stenciled reindeer with free-motion stitching. Draw  your stencil design on the matte side of the freezer paper and carefully cut along the design lines with a craft knife. you can make your own. A craft knife is much more accurate than scissors. Card stock and freezer paper both work well for handmade stencils.

or carefully tape them in place using masking tape. Paints blend and mix well on freezer paper. cut into 3" × 5" squares. I use freezer paper. color The fastest way to paint with oil sticks is to work directly onto the fabric. onto the right side of the fabric. shiny side down. which can end up being a decorative work itself. I could use either the reindeer as a mask. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts 21 ©Interweave Press LLC . 2.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques a mask. The stencil seems to adhere more firmly that way. You can roughly fill an area with strokes of your oil stick (it’s like working with a big crayon) and then use a stencil brush or flat toothbrush to produce a more even coverage or to blend colors. which makes changing colors fabric painting: 5 surface design. paint. I brush the extra paint off onto plain printer paper. do it gently so that the stencil isn’t disturbed. rub the paint onto a palette and then brush it from the palette onto the fabric. blues. Card stock stencils are made and used in the same manner. For example. when I cut out my Siberian reindeer. 4. You can designate a brush for each color. Once the stencil is cut out. iron the freezer paper. not on your plastic-covered work surface. 3. so neither side will stick to the fabric. Allow the stencil and fabric to cool before you move them. It is simply a question of whether you want to color the shape or the background. When using these stencils you can simply hold them in place with one hand. U sing easier. You can build up thick. Then tape your fabric onto your work surface. Consistently brushing into an edge can cause distortion. If you must brush into an edge. This should be done on an ironing board. When applying paint through stencils. Q u i lt i n g A r t s . textured line with thick and thin areas of coverage. reminiscent of airbrushing or a color wash. c o m palettes and mixing colors Applying paint to masking tape lines or to stencils can be tricky. For a lighter effect. I work on the shiny side because it is nonabsorbent and almost no paint adheres to the freezer paper. always start at the edge of the stencil and brush away from the edge. This will also give the heaviest coverage. For my palettes. Keep in mind that both sides of the card stock have a matte finish. Scrub in small circular patterns with the brush. Shiva Paintstik color sampler A pplying solid layers of paint very quickly in this manner. Rubbing the oil stick on the fabric will give a rich. I find using a palette keeps the paint where you want it. but I typically work with only three brushes—one each for yellows. or the outline of the reindeer as a stencil. and keeps your stencils cleaner. and reds.

the paint may seem quite faint. you’ll see red. Finish with a warm water rinse for both the brushes and your hands. place the fabric in a well-ventilated area for at least 48 hours. and artistic discovery. Do not dry clean as the dry cleaning solvents may cause the paint to run. The wet-into-wet method produces F inishing up I use a citrus-based automotive cleaner to clean my hands and brushes. You can also use a sharp craft knife to get under the skin and gently peel it away. but when you remove the tape. You can mix colors by working wet-into-wet or by mixing them on the palette. Turn the fabric inside out. To do this. So. three days to a week is the actual recommendation. Use a low heat setting for the dryer or line dry. clothpaperscissors. This skin is very thin. Sandwich the area to be set between two layers of parchment paper.com Q u i lt i n g A r t s . it is a biodegradable. Be forewarned that this technique can be deceiving. To purchase Paintstiks. it’s ready to be heat set. Once all the brushes have been treated. you may want to check your progress as you work.com. smooth strokes. less toxic alternative to turpentine and other paint thinners. yellow. When you look at the fabric with the masking tape in place. colors that are less fully blended. Rub the paint onto the palette as if you were smearing lipstick. Once the paint has been properly cured. so don’t cut too deeply. you will need to remove this skin. The cured paint will feel dry to the touch and the new paint will not physically blend with the paint that has cured. Another way to mix colors is to allow the paint to cure overnight and then continue painting. and various oranges. a thin skin will form over the surface of your oil sticks. gently lifting a section of the stencil or the mask. forming a skin. squeeze out another dollop and rub the cleanser over your hands. Most of the skin will flake off. both the original colors and their blend will likely be visible. visit interweavestore. c o m 22 fabric painting: 5 surface design. In a red and yellow mix. Squirt a quarter-sized dollop into the palm of your hand or into a small container and swirl a brush in the cleanser. paint. visit skunkhillstudio. if possible. Readily available at most hardware stores. but before you can use the sticks. The paint will be the densest and brightest at the start of your stroke and will feather out and fade from there. then iron the fabric using a heat setting appropriate to the fiber content. The paint can Need fresh i n s p i r at i o n ? cloth paper scissors® look inside A bi-monthly publication dedicated to collage. This is a result of oxidation. and monoprint techniques from Quilting Arts ©Interweave Press LLC . Treat each brush individually. though you may need to pick off some remaining flakes. the painted areas practically pop and are very visible. and launder as usual. Mixing on the palette gives a more consistent blend—the same red and yellow mix will produce a more uniform shade of orange. adding another dollop of cleanser for each brush.fabric painting MAGAZINE® Quilting Arts 5 surface design techniques tip Between uses. The easiest way is to scrub the oil stick on a piece of scrap paper. your piece is machine washable. smell a little funny while it’s curing. To see more of Karen’s work. Wet-into-wet simply refers to applying one color of oil stick immediately over another and then using a brush to blend. After curing and heat setting. This skin prevents further oxidation and keeps the sticks from drying out. The paint must be cured in order to make the colors fast. The surface layer of the oil stick reacts with the oxygen in the air. Thinly brushed layers of new color can create some wonderful transparent effects. mixed media. Then brush the paint off of the palette onto the fabric using long.com.

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