Mini private workshop

posted in: Work in progress | 6

Fabric paintingLast week I decided to set aside Monday and Tuesday as a mini private painting workshop. I loaded up bottles and bottles of fabric paint that I’ve collected over the last ten or fifteen years. I knew some were probably no good any more, but I was determined to use up whatever I could. We loaded them all up in the RV (Thanks again, Dad!), along with yards and yards of various white cotton fabrics that I had accumulated, and on Sunday we headed out for our favorite little hideout.

Sadly, my mini workshop got rained out on Monday, but Tuesday, after breakfast, I pulled out my stuff, determined to do something. I started with my Setacolor fabric paint. I forgot to count how many bottles I had; easily forty or fifty, maybe more. Most were about half full; some more, some less. They were all overly thick since they were so old, so I started by adding water to each of them and shaking them up. Then I loosely grouped them in color families. I also had ten or so bottles of Deka fabric paint. Who knows how old those were? I’m pretty sure I got the entire lot of Deka paint for $1.

Once all my paint was prepared, I soaked two six-yard lengths of cotton print cloth and spread them out, one at a time, on the grass. One by one, I opened the bottles of paint and drizzled them directly on the wet fabric. I spread some around with my hand. I sprinkled some with my squirt bottle. I doused some with handsful of water. Anything to get the colors to merge and spread. When a bottle was empty, I shook the last few drops onto the previously painted fabric.

Note to self: I probably should have been more careful with mixing up the paint because a few bottles were still lumpy and I had to spend extra time squishing up the lumps and spreading them around.

Once the fabric was covered with paint, I gathered and pleated it a bit. Then I threw rice and split peas on top of the red-orange-yellow piece and broken spaghetti pieces on the green-blue-violet piece. You can get some neat effects that way.

Second note to self: it’s probably best not to use something like rice or pasta that absorbs water. They sort of got stuck to the paint. When it was dry I had to spend time scraping some of it off with a plastic knife. It did make a nice little pattern, though. I guess it’s a trade off. Little pebbles and tiny sticks probably would have worked better.

While those two pieces were drying, I pulled out a yard of cotton sateen, soaked it, and pinned it to a piece of styrofoam that is about 36″ by 30″. I gathered and pleated it so it fit the styrofoam edge to edge and draped a bit onto the group. I decided to make a dent in my FW Acrylic Ink. With the styrofoam propped up vertically on the nearest tree, I dripped the ink directly onto the fabric and encouraged it to run down the folds. It was interesting that some colors seemed to flow and mix more readily, where others just wanted to stay put, even when I sprayed them with water. After all of the colors were in place, I splattered it with gold and silver ink.

I really like how this one turned out. It’s a little stiff, but I wonder if it will soften after it is heatset and washed. Although, I don’t mind it being a little stiffer when I use it as backing fabric.

Results: I cleared out two drawers full of Setacolor and Deka paint, but I only used half the FW inks and I didn’t even touch several other drawers full of supplies that I brought. (I don’t know why, but I always keep my fabric paints organized by brand, not color.) I guess I need to schedule another mini painting workshop soon.

6 Responses

  1. Jen B

    I’ll come next time….love the effects. Now what are you going to do with the cool fabric? Hannah needs a new dress 😉

    • Maria

      Well, if you want some of it, I’m sure we could come to some arrangement 🙂 Right now it might be a little stiff for a dress, but I think it will be softer after it is washed. I imagine most of it will probably end up as backing fabric for future quilts.

  2. Sharon Driver

    …awesome!!! I love the colors…….and what a terrific quilt border some of that fabric would make….. !!!

  3. Lisa

    Nice job! Looks like you had a great time!

    I keep my paints separated by brands too because each brand has different methods of setting, and different qualities on the fabric. I have been searching the local stores for more setacolor without success! It’s depressing but I will have to order it online.

    • Maria

      It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen setacolor in any of my local stores, or any other textile paint actually. I pretty much order everything online now.