Tag Archives: fabric printing

Happy Accidents

Sometimes I decide to combine a collection of my painted/printed/altered fabric parts just to see if I can make them work together. Typically, I have no plan, not even a sketch. It’s a highly inefficient way to create, but I find it fun. Plus, it takes my mind off of any real world worries.

My latest mashup began with a naughty Roomba. I had unleashed it in my bedroom where it’s great for under the bed vacuuming. Unfortunately, I had stored a large sheet of lacy handmade paper between cardboard there, and the Roomba managed to mangle it thoroughly before I rescued it. Amazingly, the paper didn’t rip, but it was much softer. Figuring I couldn’t do any more damage, I colored it with Marabu fabric spray and decided I had to use it. It became a big part of “Happy Accidents.”

“Happy Accidents,” 29″ by 42″ (the color is off as we’ve had nothing but clouds since I finished) Except for the paper, which is hand stitched down, everything is either machine pieced or fused.

Among the bits I used were an old sheet that I used for painting (with thermofax printing,) monoprinted silk and linen, painted linen, painted PatternEase, bit of old curtain, muslin dress pattern, and ancient batik. There also Zen Chic and Grunge dot commercial fabrics.

Base layer with a few additions
One of many intermediate arrangements
Detail of fabric monoprinting, thermofax printing, PatternEase
Detail of batik I made in 1993, muslin dress pattern with thermofax printing
Detail of gel printed leaves on linen

I grant you the combination is a bit overwhelming even though I removed some of the circles in the editing process. But more is more, right? Now that’s out of my system and I can try to actually plan ahead for my next project.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Fabric Printing

Blue Plate Special

Do you have old pressed glass pieces hanging around your abode? I inherited plates, bowls, small pitchers, and cups done up in pressed glass that were meant to pass for crystal or cut glass. Because it was machine molded it was much more affordable than crystal, which explains why my family, with modest means but a desire to emulate the more well to do, owned pressed glass. I use my inherited pieces on occasion, but didn’t think much about them until I discovered margarts.com.

Actually, I discovered her videos on Instagram which show her printing a wide variety of fruits, veggies, scissors, and pressed glass onto fabric with printing ink. The technique is like the old potato printing you may have done in school, but done more imaginatively. I was eager to try artichoke printing, but I had pressed glass, printing ink, and fabric on hand, so off I went.

First, here are a few of Margaret’s efforts with pressed glass. She makes up her prints into pouches and needle cases.

Then, here are my initial efforts. You can see I’m still working on the correct amount of ink.

It turns out I used that pressed glass pattern some years ago.

The center of “All Decked Out” is a bowl rubbing with a blue (do you see a theme?) paintstik

Since I had my table set up for printing I dusted off my Gelli plate and printed weed leaves and stencils on old napkins used as mop cloths and silk scraps. For these I used Jacquard textile paints.

My final experiments were on crinoline that I had stitched pleats into and painted. For some reason my textile paint was quite watery and so it didn’t stick evenly to the plate when I rolled it out.

I like the watery effect. I’m sure someone sells a stencil just like this.

Maybe I’ll cut up the plate prints into quarters and do a drunkards path type pattern. For now they sit on the top of my pile of experiments.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

In Black and White

Lately I’ve been working through an online course from Susan Purney Mark that uses just black and white paint and ink. It’s called Squiggle, Line and Dot; and focuses on mark making with markers and paint. Mark marking seems an artistic term for abstract streaks and blobs on paper or fabric.

So far my success rate has been 50/50. I like some of the techniques enough to tuck them in my toolbox. Others I had high hopes for have just fallen flat for me.

Let’s start with the successes. Both are easy and involve an iron.

Fabric scrunched and ironed.
Fabric flattened out after rollering with black paint, second go-round.
Fabric scribbled on with Inktense blocks, then brushed with water.
Torn freezer paper strips ironed on fabric, then brushed with white paint.

Both of the above techniques achieve fast results and can be used with multiple colors of paint.

Here’s another piece with freezer paper strips over writing with a marker, followed by printing with wrapped string.

Now for the flops. I was excited to try straight and curving lines with paint and a tool like a credit card. Unfortunately, my efforts achieved lots of blobs and few sustained lines. I had to draw in the curved lines with Penn artist markers.

I’m sure you recognize the tool I used on the lower right.

I tried different thicknesses of paint, but never managed to get effects like those shown in Susan’s video. Instead, I used my palette to print with the leftover white paint after I ran some printing tools across it.

Another failure for me was asemic writing. Susan’s looked elegant; mine looked like failed cursive writing. The only example of my attempts I’m willing to share is the last freezer paper strip piece above.

I did learn a good tip for dealing with palette cleanup. Cover your palette (mine is a pane of glass with taped edges) with Press ‘n Seal. Then, pull it off and throw it away when you’re done.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this class. I’ve learned new techniques and have the foundation for a new fabric bowl. I discovered white markers, which I could cheerfully overuse.

Freezer paper on canvas with black paint rollered over

But, I bought lots of paper and ink as they were on the supply list. The class videos didn’t use paper. Of course the exercises can be done on paper, but I think the paper supplies were optional. More importantly, I found I missed the ability to ask questions. Apparently there is a Facebook page, but I don’t do Facebook.

In all, I’m glad I took the class and plan to use what I learned, but it just wasn’t as good as it could have been.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

Results May Vary

I had planned to type Results May Will Vary, but the latest version of WordPress editing tools don’t seem to make that possible. I wanted that caution because of my recent experiences with gel plate printing. Now I find I can’t even do a new paragraph.

<Let’s see what happens with this button. It seems to return me to Classic Mode.>

Anyway, although I’ve owned gel plates for a while, it took a nudge from a friend to get me started with them. She was interested in printing on sheer and semi-sheer fabrics, so we ironed rectangles of said fabric to freezer paper and began to print with fabric paints. After trials with shapes of cutout sponges, stencils, stamps, and patterned rolling pins we found the video instructor got better results than we did. (Here’s the video we used.)

My guess is the consistency of the paint wasn’t right, as the video’s results were much sharper. Also, the detail of some stencils didn’t show at all. We found pressing on the wet paint sometimes caused the image to smear, as in my results below. Some of my other efforts were sort of successful, but printed sheers don’t show up well.

Patterned rolling pin on silk organza
My best result was on silk broadcloth with clear images from empty spools. The fainter images were made with the end of a pool noodle.

My second experiment with gel plates involved shapes cut from a paper towel. Per the video, I coated my plate with matte medium, cut out shapes from a towel, laid them over the medium, and then sprayed fabric paint over the lot. I had more success with this approach, though I often sprayed too much paint which blurred my oval blobs. Of course I deviated from the video a bit – I didn’t use paper or alcohol inks and I applied matte medium only once. Some of my results follow.

Fabric on the left was printed with a ticking pattern.
Image is from a stencil.
I overprinted this image.
Cloth on bottom combines paper towel shapes and stencil.

I think for my next gel plate adventure I’ll try screen printing ink for fabric to see if I get more consistent results. In the video the results look great. Yes, there’s one born every minute.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

I Can’t Resist A Sale

When I saw Spoonflower had their new signature petal fabric yardage on sale I knew it was time to print some of my photo-shopped inspiration pix. After some time trying various layouts available, I settled on the following:

Before, a footbridge over the Cuyahoga River:


Before, a shattered mirror backstage:


Before, a garden shed made of recycled soda bottles:


Before, construction materials:


How is the new fabric? It’s better than Spoonflower’s basic cotton and certainly equal to their Kona cotton option. As always, printing leaves the fabric stiff even after washing. If that bothers you, then this process isn’t for you.

No, I have no idea how I’ll use my new fabric, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays, a bit late.


Filed under Fabric Printing

Print It

Even though I can’t sew I can still play with fabric. I have a collection of small pieces of dyed, painted, and otherwise already mucked up fabric that I decided to add to in hopes I could make some silk purses from sows’ ears. Out came stencils, thermofax screens, and homemade stamps; along with fabric paints.

My silk purse success rate was about 50%, but I spent an enjoyable few days pretending child’s play was adult work.

I like the results I got from a large stencil of numbers.


I improved thermofax screened prints of weeds.


I added more layers to previously stamped cloth with yarn wrapped around a piece of cardboard.


I made some murky pieces which I won’t waste your time on. Now if could just get my husband out of the house long enough so I don’t get caught sewing.


Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process

Leafing Out

All that project completion stuff just got to be too boring (I’ll fess up to four tops in need of quilting,) so I had to play around with some fabric printing. In April I put a bunch of fabric that I thought might go together up on my design wall. One of the pieces was printed with ginkgo leaves, so I made that my theme.

First, I created a stamp out of adhesive foam sheets. Then, I coated the stamp with silk screen paint and went to work.

Stamp and paintHere are the results I think work. The first is printed on black silk organza. The second is on previously dyed fabric. The third is on a painting rag. The fourth is on cotton velveteen that had been treated previously with a chemical discharge. The fifth is on commercial batik. I found that overprinting with light paint on a darker surface gives a translucent effect.

Here are the ones that are meh or worse. Either the color contrast wasn’t strong enough or the colors didn’t play well together. They’ll go back into my raw materials pile.


Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process, Techniques

Printing Play Time

For our October meeting a quilt group I belong to, Contemporary Cloth Artists (CoCA), used cheap and easy stamps and fabric paint to enhance/create fabric.  This is the same technique I wrote about earlier.

Members cut up foam sheets to make stamps, and used materials like bubble wrap to add intriguing texture. One enthusiast even used a silicone mat designed for kitchen use.

C's fish printThe grasses were printed with a foam stamp. I think the fish were, too.

JC's leaf teeThis printing method works well for tee shirts.

JM's tire tracks printCut up foam, a wine cork, and a pool noodle section

L's grass printThe same foam stamp was used with two colors of paint. The piece is draped over a chair.

L's swirl printEveryone loved how easy it was to cut the foam.

M's foamie printThis has a southwestern feel.

S's phoenix printHere’s a phoenix and a bit of the stamp created for the grasses in the fish print.

S's phoenix stampHere’s the foam stamp for the phoenix.

Bottom line – art quilters just want to have fun.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

Solar Panels

It’s summertime and the garage fabric painting and dyeing studio is now open.  A friend succumbed to a display of Jacquard’s new SolarFast sun printing dye product and I benefited from her purchase.  There’s lots of information about this product on Jacquard’s website and the blog And Then We Set It On Fire, plus videos on YouTube.

Using violet, teal, and scarlet colors and recycled bits of fabric (previous dyeing failures and stained light colored fabric,) we experimented.

SolarFast coasters and washersViolet with drink coasters and washers.

SolarFast cardboard on Moda marblesTeal with shelf liner and packing material on Moda Marbles fabric. Note how the beige in the fabric dulled the teal.

SolarFast crochet on organzaCrocheted antimacassar over violet on silk organza.

SolarFast organza over coastersOrganza laid over drink coasters print.

SolarFast crochet detailCrocheted scarf over scarlet, front side. Below is the reverse side of the same piece.  I have no idea why the pattern came out so much clearer on the reverse.

SolarFast crochet wrong side

SolarFast 2 colors wrong sideSame thing with reverse side of this two color piece using the crocheted scarf.  The packing material looks about the same on both sides.

The keys to success with this product are having everything flat on the fabric (a piece of glass or plexiglass on top is helpful) and removing the resists in the shade. We lost some definition on a few pieces because we were so eager to see the results we removed the materials in the sun. In less than a minute the newly exposed fabric got darker.

My friend got lovely effects with plant material, especially leaves.  Blossoms shriveled too quickly in the hot sun to make a clear pattern.  She also used little bits of stamped metal shapes which left a sharp imprint.

Is this product worth it?  It depends on what’s important to you.

It’s premixed, easy to clean up after, and can be diluted up to 1 to 1 with water. We diluted it with about half part water to one part SolarFast. The resulting colors were pleasant, but not intense.

While the colors can be combined, it’s impossible to see the effect before sun exposure as the product is a murky, chalky color out of the bottle.  Other paints such as Setacolor can be more accurately mixed. The colors don’t blend well on fabric but remain distinct.

It seems designed to work especially well with photo negatives. This is demoed on the above YouTube link. You can get sharper detail than with other sun printing methods. However, Jacquard wants you to use their special transparent sheets for this.

It’s much less messy and works faster than other methods. We exposed our fabric for about an hour due to a doughnut break, but the instructions said the desired effect could print in as little as 15 minutes, varying with color used. Depending on time of year, that could be an advantage. It could also be used by children who are old enough to follow directions. No masks are needed though the product contains ammonia.

It leaves fabric with a soft hand and no stiffness.

It’s expensive compared with other paints that do the same job, and I don’t think it can be used for anything else except sun printing. However, the videos show some great t-shirts made with it, so it may be the best product for sun printing photos.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with this product or any sun printing you’ve done. I need to go back to my other paints and try sun printing with them so I can do some comparisons.



Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques