Wednesday, January 03, 2007
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:
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!)
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.