Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Printing Your Very Own Fabric

Here's a little lesson for you. Happy New Year!!




Since a very young age, I've been drawn to creating things in production.Call it my German heritage--must make more crafts! and more efficiently!! Also, given my love of labor-intensive craft, economical originality, and my stubborn desire for fabric of my own design, naturally, I'm drawn to printing my own fabric. Here is a small tutorial on how to make super simple stamps and print a little style of your own pattern.




First, design and create a stamp. I love to use the fun foam (you know, it's a sheet 1/8 inch thick and comes in hideous colors and shapes) that you can get at Wal-Mart or Michael's, or your generic craft superstore. I especially like the kind with adhesive on the back. Usually this comes in white or black, is 8.5" x 11", and costs less than $1. (what a deal!) You can make MANY stamps from this. This stuff cuts really well with an exacto knife, or with regular scissors. Just depends on how detailed you want to get.

Next, stick this to a stamp block. I love the plexiglass scraps from Home Depot, but you could use anything flat and the right size. Wood, plastic lids, etc. If you don't get the sticky back foam, get some super glue and stick your stamps on. If you use plexi, and your stamp is fairly big, you can bend it a little which helps to make a clean mark.
It should look like this in the end:


Time now for the dye recipe.
I get most of my dyes from Dharma Trading. They're nice, priced well, and have a great selection of stuff. Plus, their website makes things pretty simple and they have great instructions and recipes. I use Procion MX Dyes (you don't need a lot, the smallest container might be $3 or something)

Here is the official thickened dye supply list:
Procion dyes
Urea (small round, inexpensive pellets)
Soda Ash (powdered stuff)
Cotton, Rayon, Linen, or otherwise organic fabric. (note: polyester will break your heart when it comes to dying. steer clear!)
Warm water
Sodium Alginate Thickener ( powdered seaweed or something like it. at any rate, it's organic)

Mix one recipe of the following for each desired color:

1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon Soda Ash
a dash of Urea ( 1/4 tsp or so)
1/2 teaspoon of dye (more if you want darker, less if lighter)

After you've mixed these solutions together, you can start to add the Alginate thickener. Add just a little at a time. Seriously, very little. It will continue to thicken for up to 2 hours. Just keep stirring vigorously. It should be about the consistency of pudding.

Now you're ready to stamp your fabric! Stretch your piece of fabric using pins or tape--the tighter the better, but honestly, I usually just iron the piece first and skip the stretching.

UPDATE!! I forgot to include how I get the ink on the fabric!
I use a sponge brush--the cheap kind. I load the stamp with dye or ink, not too much or too little--you'll just have to experiment. I re-ink after every imprint. You'll get a groove and get things moving. If you make a really big stamp on plexi or other plastic, it's best to bend it a little to get a solid impression. You can try either organized stamping patterning or my favorite--random! Yes! The more random the better!

Let the fabric stand overnight before rinsing--if you've got a lot of dye, rinse in you kitchen sink in cold water, then hot, and throw it in the washer for a final rinse.

You may also use these stamps with fabric ink, which leaves a smal texture on the fabric, but always gives you a clear print.





Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:22 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Beth, this is such a great tutorial - thank you. I always wondered what that nasty foam stuff was for. Wouldn't it be fun to have a fabric dying get together one night (I'm volunteering my house) with wine, cheese, BEER, some music and foam stuff. We could make stamps, do the dye etc. Interested?

Posted by Anonymous pinkmohair @ 11:02 AM #
 

This is fantastic! I can't wait to try this out. Thanks so much for posting this!

Posted by Anonymous Candace @ 1:11 PM #
 

This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted by Anonymous myra @ 3:06 PM #
 

Okay, I am loving the idea of this! Because, you know, like more crafters I need something else on my list, ;) My questions: 1- do you re-ink before every stamp? 2- How do you apply the ink to the stamp? Do you paint it on, dip it in a paint tray or what? Thanks!

Posted by Anonymous vicki @ 8:02 PM #
 

UPDATE!! I forgot to include how I get the ink on the fabric!
I use a sponge brush--the cheap kind. I load the stamp with dye or ink, not too much or too little--you'll just have to experiment. I re-ink after every imprint. You'll get a groove and get things moving. If you make a really big stamp on plexi or other plastic, it's best to bend it a little to get a solid impression. You can try either organized stamping patterning or my favorite--random! Yes! The more random the better!

Posted by Blogger Beth Howard @ 8:15 PM #
 

Hi! I found your blog via craftzine and I love your style! Can't wait to try out your tutorial!

Posted by Anonymous kate @ 7:22 AM #
 

That was a great tutorial. Very thorough directions. I'm going to try it. Thanks!

Posted by Anonymous Andrea @ 11:52 AM #
 

hello beth,
great! thanks so much. Must try it one day. I agree with you - it's great to have your own "designed" fabric.

Posted by Blogger kwoozy @ 10:32 PM #
 

Wow, I took a fabric printing class in college and haven't thought about it since. Now I'm inspired again! I love your stuff!

Posted by Blogger Jess @ 12:16 PM #
 

Thank you!!! I've wanted to do this for so long and you did such a great job explaining.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 1:10 PM #
 

Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial. I had a question though, would I be able to use this ink dye recipe with a silk screen? I'd like to print my own designs on fabric but using a silk screen instead of a stamp.

Posted by Blogger sara @ 4:30 AM #
 

This tutorial is great.Thank you so much for sharing. So inspiring...

Posted by Blogger curlymonkey @ 4:02 PM #
 

This is a great and fun tutorial! Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Blogger VILLIKU @ 10:30 AM #
 

Thanks for such a great tutorial! I'm going to try this as soon as I clear out a good space to work in!

Just a quick question- You said it thickens for up to 2 hours, but to keep stirring. Does it have to be stirred for the entire time?

And it's funny that you said it has the consistency of pudding- this is one of the reasons why I like instant pudding; I hate the constant stirring for cooked pudding!

Posted by Anonymous Cindylou @ 9:40 PM #
 

Thank you so much for this tutorial!!!! I'm practically jumping up and down right now! I'm just getting started with learning how to sew, but I was disappointed in the limited array of affordable printed organic cotton fabric (the only ones that I have found average about $20 per yard). Now I can buy a few yards of plain organic fabric & print them myself. Thanks again.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 8:33 PM #
 

hey...
this was very usefull information i would love try this out but i am some1 whose from india residing in mumbai if theres any book which would be availble to refer and know this art even better???

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 12:10 PM #
 

hey...
this was very usefull information i would love try this out but i am some1 whose from india residing in mumbai if theres any book which would be availble to refer and know this art even better???

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