Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hey, Valentine!

Ok, it may seem a little early to be thinking about Valentine’s Day, but I’m working on a few “sweet” things for the Etsy shop. I thought I would share a tutorial with you on a quick and easy way to make your own sweet fabric.

This is a somewhat messy project, so wear gloves if you don’t like paint on your hands. You may get a few smears and spots and drips on your fabric, but that’s the look I was going for. If you want a cleaner effect, try applying the paint with a stencil brush, or use screenprinting techniques.

You’ll need the following supplies:

1. a stencil (mine is a cheap, store-bought stencil)

    2. tacky spray (make sure it’s temporary adhesive, NOT permanent)
    3. white paint (I like the heavy-body paint in a tube, since it’s less likely to run under the edges of the stencil)

      4. a squeegee or a plastic card (you know, a credit card or that ugly old driver’s license you sanded the numbers off of, or that newfangled, plastic room key you “forgot” to give back when you checked out of the hotel)
      5. rubber or foam stamps
      6. a foam brush or sponge

        To get started, make sure your fabric is smooth; iron if necessary.
        Spray the back of the stencil with adhesive and smooth it onto the fabric.

        Run a bead of paint along the edge of your card, then scrape it across the stencil.

        Reposition the stencil and repeat the previous step until you’re happy with the number of stencil prints on the fabric.

        Apply paint to the stamps with a foam brush or sponge, and stamp the fabric randomly or with a pattern of your choice.

        Keep going until you’re happy with your fabric.

        Embellish your fabric even more with fabric pens, foil, fibers, and thread.

        Oh, and don’t forget to use the leftover paint in your art journal.

        or on your “serendipity fabric.”

        Have fun! I’m off to use my “new” fabric in a project.

        Addendum: It occurred to me in the middle of the night that people might wonder whether the heavy-bodied acrylic changes the hand of the fabric. The answer is, absolutely. But I don't really find this to be a problem. Unless I'm making a garment or bed-quilt, it doesn't really matter to me what the hand of the fabric is. I've never had a problem getting a machine needle through painted fabric--and I've stitched paint on canvas. Of course, if you're hand-quilting painted fabric, you'll definitely want to use fabric paints, which will likely be thinner. Just make sure you're stencil is adhered well to the fabric, or go for the "blurry-edged" look!

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