I mentioned at the end of the last post that I was starting to work on my pieces for the printed fabric swap over at Bitter Betty Blogs. I signed up because I have been wanting to try it forever and this is the push I need.
I decided to go with stamping as opposed to silk screen or something. I wanted to try it with the least possible capital outlay and the fewest new skills to learn. I was already feeling totally over my head and have had a very hard time finding any information. The first confusion was over the Speedball Speedy-Cut block- pink or white? What is the difference? The people in my local art store couldn’t enlighten me. Later I found this on Alma Stoller site, so now I know. I ended up buying the white because it cost less and I had no idea what else to base the choice on! Carving was easy and fun! I was having so much fun with the carving part, I was very reluctant to transition to the next step…
printing. I REALLY didn’t want to go out and buy printing inks- I know, I’m cheap. But I have so many types of color mediums already- I just couldn’t imagine bringing something new into the house. I was thinking about oil paints, oil bars, acrylic paints, to start the list. I found this article and it helped me settle on acrylic paints. This is another page of useful links and information. I wanted something that would be washable and have a good feel, not stiff- I want to be able to actually use this fabric!
The first step was to try out my stamps on paper. I used inexpensive craft type acrylic paint- the kind that comes in the little bottles. I sponged the paint onto my stamps using pieces of make-up sponges- those things are a great art tool! Here’s what I got-
The brown stamp on white was my first attempt on fabric.
Based on the various bits of information I could find, this is what I have figured out so far.
-Acrylic paints work very well, but don’t try using a brayer or a brush of any kind- I couldn’t manage anything that wasn’t very streaky. Daubing the paint onto the stamp works very well- I used the make-up sponges and also some wads of felt.
-adding drying retardant was helpful both in slowing the drying and also making the paint a bit gummier.
-one article suggested dampening the fabric first. I had no better results when I tried that. Actually I had some color bleeding so I’d say forget that idea.
-after I finished printing/stamping, I let the fabric dry for a bit (1/2 hour?). Then I ironed the fabric on both sides with steam on a cotton setting. I have no idea if this was necessary. I then threw them all into the washer at a regular warm wash. I noticed no change in the color at all, after the wash. Yeah!
Here are my test pieces after washing-
Now I have to think about doing my bigger pieces- yikes! This is actually a lot harder then I ever thought. I am nervous about the 1/2 yard pieces with no major screw-ups. Also, choosing the colors turns out to be a lot harder then I thought it would be. I will be coming out of this project with a new respect for fabric designers!