Here Comes The Sun

I found summer was slipping by all too quickly without my promised fabric design activities, so I used a lovely day for sun fabric printing with stencils and PVC tubes. The latter I used for arashi shibori, though with paint, not dye.

Frankly, I find it easier to color fabric with paint than with dye. No soda ash baths, no endless rinsing. Of course the resulting colors aren’t as intense, and the color sits on top of the fabric rather than permeating it. I think your chosen method depends on how you hope to use the fabric.

My equipment was basic – Setacolor transparent paints, foam brushes, three or four stencils, a sprayer, paint containers, cotton fabric, foam core boards, 24 inch long PVC pipes, rubber bands, and painters tape. I mixed three colors of paint – a yellow/orange, a red/orange, and a blue/green.

I did the shibori by wrapping folded fabric around the pipe and securing it with rubber bands. Next I pushed the fabric together to form folds and slopped paint on it. Then I sprayed each wrapped pipe with water to encourage the paint to migrate to inner fabric layers.

You can see the outside fabric is darker and the fabric folds are conduits for paint.

The inner parts have some interesting veining.

My stencils were a mix of bought and created designs. The most successful stencil was a plastic place mat I cut the edges from. Both the leaf and numbers prints were done on patterned fabric.

I finished my day with a second printing on my less successful efforts and produced the following:

I mixed my blue/green and red/orange paints to create purple, which I painted over the fabric on the left. For the fabric on the right I mixed yellow/orange and red/orange paints for an orange/red, which created a more subtle effect.

Update: In response to commenters’ questions, here’s a photo of the place mat I used. The edges were cut off. I think I bought it at Target.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

14 responses to “Here Comes The Sun

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have no experience with painting or dyeing fabrics. But looks like fun, maybe one day I shall try it ….

  2. I like it all–such interesting effects! I’ve never done any dyeing or painting, although warp painting is pretty “in” right now among weavers.

    • Thanks. I’ve seen some beautiful painted warp weavings. It seems like a way to add variety and color without always changing the weft yarn, though the results are probably more unpredictable.

  3. Claudia McCarter

    Thank you for these beautiful photos of your painted and stamped fabric. I don’t understand the placemat use. Is it a stencil? And if so which photo shows the results? Thanks so much!

  4. Thanks for the instructions on doing shibori with Setacolor. I have done Setacolor, done shibori, done other dying, and mostly think I’ll leave it to the professionals. However, I have some Setacolor transparent left so I may try shibori with it. Thanks!

    • Shibori with Setacolor will come out paler than with dye, and wetting the fabric will help the paint penetrate. Of course, if the results are too pale you can always rewrap the fabric and give it another go.

  5. These are really great, and I love the tip about using the placemat!
    I have not used paint like this, but I am definitely over dye. I have too many projects on my list and something had to go, and dye was it. I do have a bunch of paints though and have read about using Setacolor on stained vintage linens.

    • Thanks. If you use a place mat it helps if it’s opaque so the sun is really blocked. Yeah, about the only dyeing I’m likely to continue with is gradients done in small batches, though I have a soft spot for ice dyeing. Definitely no more yardage.

  6. Ann Scott

    These pieces are wonderful. I only use paint for shibori for the same reasons you state (I’ve written some blog). Though I have primarily used Jacquard Textile Color, I believe Setacolor would give better results. I wet my fabric before wrapping it; for me that makes it easier to wrap and bunch up but it may lessen the intensity of color down in the folds.Thanks for sharing your experiments!

    • I finally wised up and wet the last shibori fabric before, not after, I wrapped it. I used Setacolor because I have a lot of it, and I diluted the paint with water, roughly one to one. I hoped the more flowing paint would penetrate better.

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